Daily Kos Communications Director Carolyn Fiddler joined Sonali Kolhatkar on Monday to talk all things Georgia ahead of the Georgia runoff elections. With a president who continues—in the face of the actual numbers, public opinion, and repeated failed legal challenges—to refuse to accept his loss, what’s next? Will Georgians rebuke the Republican Party and elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock?
Kolhatkar opened the show by talking about President Trump’s alarming and quite illegal behavior in pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to declare him the winner in his state. While this is a last-ditch effort, Trump appears unwilling to back down, Fiddler said: “There’s no length to which Trump won’t go … to do what he wants, to get what he wants—in this case, staying in office.”
Elaborating on Election Day turnout, Kolhatkar noted Georgia’s long history of voter suppression and why the runoffs have historically been a way to suppress voter turnout (they have also been used to prevent Black candidates from winning). This is no mistake and is happening by design, having been baked into the state’s legislative processes—almost always to the benefit of the Republicans. As Fiddler explains,
The entire Republican party in the state of Georgia has spent many years working very hard at the state legislative level, and at the regulatory level in the the secretary of state’s office, to make it more difficult for Georgians to get to the polls, to cast their ballots either by mail or in person. They make it more difficult to register; they purge voter rolls, things like that. While, yes, the secretary of state is refusing to commit a criminal act by refusing to certify election results, he has also fought very hard, along with the rest of his party, to suppress voter turnout in Georgia.
Describing the “internecine battle” in the Republican Party right now, Kolhatkar mentioned that polls are currently showing Democrats with a slim lead. While Fiddler believes party infighting and confusing messages about voting security—thus calling into question the point of casting a vote if one cannot rely on it to be counted securely—have reduced turnout of Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue’s much-needed base, as she notes, polls have been inaccurate in the past and warned not to rely on them at this time:
These particular races are won and lost on the margins. Thinking that a couple-point lead … is something that should make everyone feel warm and fuzzy — that’s just smoke in the wind. There is no third-party voting in the runoff, there’s no blank line to write in Mickey Mouse if you don’t like either one, so it changes the nature of the election. And it means that whichever candidate wins in both of these races, it’s going to be just by chipping a little bit away at the other person’s electorate here and there, and adding a little bit more here and there to yours. It’s going to be very close, one way or another.
The pair also touched on how Ossoff and Warnock have successfully teamed up together in this runoff effort, and utilized messaging about the coronavirus to set a contrast between their leadership styles and that of Loeffler and Perdue’s.