Republicans Spiral Into Politics Of Self-Division

This week’s Courier Herald column:

Let’s rip the Band-Aid off before we get into the details.  On January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as President of the United States.

It doesn’t matter if you or I like it, nor if you voted for him or not.  It makes no difference if you will support his presidency or if you reserve your right to “resist”, as so many chose to do for the past four years after the lawful election of President Trump.

This column is for those who have made the decision to contest the presidential election for as long as possible and by any means or logic necessary.  The question for you is this:  Are you more interested in fighting a lost fight or winning the next one?

Yes, President Trump is entitled to full legal recourse to contest the election.  It should also be noted that over the last week his legal team dropped many of their challenges in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, though there were promises to re-file challenges at least here in Georgia.  The Presidential election will not be overturned by the courts in three or more states, nor by the Supreme Court. 

Instead, the President has made the choice that in order to save face for himself, he’s willing to throw anyone – regardless of party – under the bus.  Which brings us back to Georgia and the next election.

The next election isn’t in November of 2022, but many of the incumbents who will face re-election then are now deeply embroiled in this face-saving tantrum. The next election will be on January 5th, 2021 when Georgia will elect two Senators and decide the partisan split in the Senate.

If Republicans need a reminder of what is coming for them they can look to the 2017 special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, when $55 Million was spent in an attempt to flip one Congressional seat that wouldn’t have changed the balance of power in the House.  Now, control of an entire chamber is on the line – the only one which Republicans have the opportunity to lead after January.  The media intensity and money spent here between now and the new year will be insane.

You would think Republicans would understand the gravity and consequences of the situation.  If judging by their actions of the past two weeks, you would be wrong.

Out of the gate, Georgia’s two Senators demanded Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, resign.  The demand, presumably to keep die-hard supporters of President Trump motivated, runs the risk of alienating more traditional Republicans who have a view of the party beyond the White House – and presumably a long term view past one election or one candidate.

Things quickly escalated into politics of division.  The President has attacked Raffensperger and Governor Kemp on Twitter, while decrying the recount as “fake”. A member of the President’s legal team took to twitter Monday suggesting Governor Kemp call a special session of the legislature, resign, admit guilt, and to go to prison alongside Secretary Raffensperger. 

Beyond legal challenges, there’s the demand that the legislature convene a special session to overturn a lawful election.  That’s just not going to happen. 

As a practical matter, the Legislature would need 3/5ths of each chamber to call themselves into session, and Republicans don’t control that many votes. The Governor isn’t going to do that either, as he understands that the precedents set today can and will be used against your cause tomorrow.  That’s before you consider the specter of a legislature telling its citizens that an election doesn’t matter because the majority party didn’t like the outcome.

One must be careful of the decisions and statements made in reactionary anger.  Justifications made to placate failures of yesterday may pave the way to much bigger consequences in the future.

Republicans have a legitimate grievance in recoiling at the media driven PR campaign for unity after a four-year narrative of resistance.  I’m just surprised that so many are taking the refusal to unify to such an extreme that they want to make unification impossible within their own party.

There’s less than seven weeks until the next election. Republicans would do well to put the last two weeks behind them, and become laser focused on the task at hand in the days and weeks ahead of them.


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