With control of the U.S. Senate dependent upon two runoffs in the state of Georgia, Republicans are trying to decide how they can keep President Donald Trump from completely destroying their chances of winning the two seats, according to a report from the Washington Post, which notes that many in the GOP consider Trump to be a “political burden” who could do more harm than good in the weeks ahead:
“Republican leaders are increasingly alarmed about the party’s ability to stave off Democratic challengers in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections — and they privately described President Trump on a recent conference call as a political burden who despite his false claims of victory was the likely loser of the 2020 election.
“Those blunt assessments, which capture a Republican Party in turmoil as Trump refuses to concede to President-elect Joe Biden, were made on a Nov. 10 call with donors hosted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. It featured Georgia’s embattled GOP incumbents, Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, and Karl Rove, a veteran strategist who is coordinating fundraising for the Jan. 5 runoffs.”
In private, Perdue has admitted that Trump lost the election, remarking:
“What we’re going to have to do is make sure we get all the votes out from the general and get them back out. That’s always a hard thing to do in a presidential year, particularly this year, given that President Trump, it looks like now, may not be able to hold out.”
Republicans are in a difficult bind. They desperately need Trump’s voters to show up in January, but they also don’t want to drive away independent voters who have a negative opinion of the incumbent president in a state that Joe Biden managed to carry, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has won the Peach State since Bill Clinton did so in 1992.
The GOP is also worried about the changing demographics of Georgia, which suggest the state has gotten more progressive and Democratic. That demographic shift could prove fatal to Georgia Republicans:
“Some on the call expressed particular concern about Georgia’s fast-changing electorate, driven by the increasingly liberal metro Atlanta region and the push by 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams to register more Democratic voters, especially in the state’s communities of color.”
It remains unclear exactly what role Trump will play in the coming weeks, but with his approval rating continuing to crater among voters, if he decides to join the fray in Georgia, it could prove catastrophic for GOP plans to retain control of the Senate.
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