Team MAGA could cost Republicans the U.S. Senate

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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President Donald Trump, through his actions and inaction, has seen his approval rating plummet since the election, which has the potential to drag down the candidacies of Senator David Perdue and Senator Kelly Loeffler. Now Trump has called the two Senate elections “illegal and invalid” in a series of New Year’s Day tweets, bound to be bad news for the Republican Party. At a Washington, D.C. rally on Dec. 12, “MAGA” supporters rallied, but turned the get-together into an anti-Republican event. Newsweek claimed that in a speech before the group, conservative commentator Nick Fuentes allegedly said “[W]e’re done making promises. We are going to destroy the GOP.” The crowd allegedly chanted “Destroy the GOP” repeatedly.

Then Fuentes allegedly said “The GOP wants us to hold the line and vote for ‘RINOs’ like David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in the Georgia Senate runoffs,” a line that was allegedly followed by a chorus of boos, according to Newsweek. The only good news for the Republicans that day was that event attendance was well-short of the billed “Million MAGA March.”

When Trump came to Georgia last time, he focused on himself, with Perdue’s and Loeffler’s messages drowned out in the noise, according to Forbes. During that rally, Trump even admitted he didn’t like doing rallies for others. Now pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood, who said Republicans should boycott the election (according to Politico), has now reportedly called for Perdue and Loeffler to be arrested, also reportedly calling the latter an illegitimate candidate because he claims Doug Collins won, according to The Daily Caller. Trump has also attacked Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, something that won’t help Peach State Republicans. Nor will it help having so many GOP representatives supporting Texas’ “right” to overturn Georgia’s election.

President Trump has also served as a drag on Republican fortunes. He’s focused almost exclusively on overturning the democratic result, trying to invalidate the legitimately cast ballots of millions of Americans. COVID-19 has now infected 1 in 17 Americans, killing one in 1,000 Americans. He vetoed the defense bill with a 3% pay raise for the armed forces, provisions to sanction Russia and thwart Chinese and Russian aims of domination, to keep military bases named for Confederate generals. Critics of Trump’s veto point out that the defense bill also cracks down on shell companies used for tax avoidance, which seems like a good thing to sign, and a bad thing to oppose. The Senate overrode the veto by a wide margin.

As a result, President Trump’s approval rating has fallen from 46% in early November (close to his election totals in the popular vote) now down to 39 percent, according to Gallup polling. Economic confidence has plummeted to 16 percent, down 15 points from the end of the election, as reality sets in about the true nature of the sputtering economy. Failed leadership is now identified as the second worst problem in America, after the coronavirus itself. Only three presidents have had lower approval ratings than the President at this stage of their presidency. Trump showing up for a Jan. 4, rally in Georgia might not be good news for the GOP. President-elect Joe Biden, in the same Gallup poll, has risen to 65 percent approval in the polls for his handling of the transition, a marked contrast from President Trump’s behavior.

Senators Perdue and Loeffler would normally be easy winners, incumbents against candidates who have never held political office. Yet thanks to Trump and his hardcore MAGA supporters, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff may win the Senate special elections, giving Democrats a narrow margin of control in the United States Senate.