Trump Georgia rally could backfire, electing Ossoff and Warnock

Today the battle rages in Washington and Georgia over the possibility of $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks that are strongly supported by President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE, almost all Democrats in Congress, a minority of Republicans in Congress, and Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon OssoffJon Ossoff5 sticking points holding back Democrats' spending package Manchin shutting down Sanders on Medicare expansion Thune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race MORE and Rev. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockWarnock planning memoir for June release 5 sticking points holding back Democrats' spending package Democrats face critical 72 hours MORE.

By contrast, Georgia’s GOP Sens. David PerdueDavid PerdueWill Trump choose megalomania over country? I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Draft Georgia congressional lines target McBath, shore up Bourdeaux MORE and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerWarnock planning memoir for June release Thune endorses Herschel Walker in Georgia Senate race Will Trump choose megalomania over country? MORE have taken so many shifting positions on COVID-19 relief that voters need a scoreboard to keep track of what they believe on a given day. 

Whatever else Trump says about the Georgia Senate race, he should offer high praise to Ossoff and Warnock for steadfastly supporting the $2,000 relief checks, and harsh criticism of Perdue and Loeffler for their lack of a fight on behalf of Georgians during the ongoing pandemic.

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Trump will not do this, but Georgia voters feeling the economic pain of the COVID-19 catastrophe know that Ossoff and Warnock are their supporters for greater financial relief.

One reason the Trump rally in Georgia could backfire against Republicans is that it will dramatize to voters how strongly the Democratic candidates are fighting for them economically while the Republican candidates are not. What's more, if the Democratic candidates are elected, it will guarantee a Democratic Senate, which will further help voters financially. 

The second reason that Trump’s rally in Georgia could backfire against Republicans, and help elect Ossoff and Warnock, is that while Democrats are engaging in a massive voter mobilization and turnout project, Trump’s false claims that Georgia’s voting systems are corrupt and that the state’s electoral votes were stolen from him will enrage Biden voters and have some effect depressing on GOP turnout.

Consider the difference between the parties in Georgia.

Ossoff, Warnock and Stacey Abrams have spent the campaign engaging in an extraordinary and historic voter registration, voter education, and voter turnout campaign at a time when voter engagement and enthusiasm are sky-high.

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Their efforts have paid off. Biden carried Georgia on Election Day. Since then, more than 2 million Georgians have already voted early — with what appears to be an advantage to Democrats. More than 75,000 new voters have registered since Election Day as well.   

This enthusiasm is matched by small donors, who have made major contributions to Ossoff and Warnock, setting fundraising records by each raising more than $100 million through Act Blue and other means.

By contrast, since Election Day Trump has repeatedly attacked the Republican governor of Georgia, the Republican secretary of State and election officials, which have led to threats against them.

Trump’s Georgia rally will remind voters of this, as well as the president’s desperate and doomed effort to get the Senate and House to overturn the results of the election, and his call for his supporters to come to Washington, to intimidate Congress, in ways that many security experts fear could provoke trouble.

The Georgia rally will be all about Trump, complete with attacks against Georgia Republicans, which will anger Biden voters, mobilize Democratic voters, divide and depress Republican voters, confuse public presentations from Loeffler and Perdue, and possibly give Ossoff and Warnock a decisive last-minute boost on Election Day.    

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.