Tags: 2020 Elections | abrams | gop | kemp | loeffler | ossoff | schumer

We'll Spend Years Recovering from Georgia Nightmare

georgia election and subsequent runoff election


By Thursday, 07 January 2021 01:19 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As a Republican who began his volunteer activities in Georgia in the 1960 Richard Nixon-Henry Lodge campaign (I was in high school and there was such a small Georgia GOP that everyone was welcome) I think it's necessary to have the courage to face the depth and scale of the disaster in Georgia.

Many Republicans will try to avoid the scale of Tuesday’s defeat, but that would be an enormous mistake.

Everything we said about how important this runoff was (the most consequential in history) and the impact of losing it (a profound shift in power from Republicans to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other Senate Democrats) was true.

This vital runoff has now been lost.

As I write virtually all of the uncounted votes come from Democratic areas.

This double victory will be an enormous morale boost — and a real increase in power for the Washington Democrats.

So, what lessons must we learn from this disaster of the first order?

We should look at the series of often unrelated events and activities which made a Republican victory much more difficult.

First, the remarkable job Stacey Abrams has done in building a powerful first-class voting machine in Georgia (making herself the most likely next governor).

Abrams has spent two full years raising money nationally and building an organization that can turn out the vote on an unprecedented scale.

She was a major factor in carrying Georgia for Biden and in electing the two Democrats in the runoff. By force of personality and a lot of hard work, she is becoming a major player.

Republicans must study her and what she has achieved and figure out how to overmatch it.

Then there is the polarization of Americans: both pro- and anti-Trump.

This has such intensity that what would have normally been powerful attacks against Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were simply ignored or shrugged off by their polarized supporters.

I was really surprised at how little impact descriptions of Warnock’s radicalism had on voters who normally would have been appalled at some of his positions.

Because of polarization they had picked their team and they resented rather than listened to negative information about their side.

It eliminated most of the argumentative side of campaigning and reduced the opportunity to have a campaign dialogue.

The civil war between Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the rest of the Republican Party, including President Trump, clearly had a distracting impact.

President Trump’s hour-long argument with Raffensperger further weakened enthusiasm as people couldn’t figure out what was going on — or who to believe.

This runoff was so vital that everything should have been subordinated to winning it.

This clearly was not done.

The bitterness on both sides of the Kemp-Raffensperger vs. Trump fight further weakened the GOP at a crucial moment.

Perhaps the most devastating blow was the idiotic push for Republicans to boycott the election.

The failure of President Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to coordinate what they would do on the $2,000-per-person stimulus proposal disappointed Trump populist voters and left Sens. Perdue and Loeffler in difficult positions.

At the time, I warned that trying clever parliamentary maneuvers would simply fail to satisfy the Republican base.

As public policy the $2,000-per-person grant is a bad idea.

However, as political policy in the most important runoff in American history, once President Trump staked out a pro-$2,000 policy, the Senate GOP should have voted on it and given Sens. Loeffler and Perdue a chance to prove to economic populists that they were on their side.

Further, there was a failure to follow up on President Trump’s success with Latino voters and win the same share for the two senators (this would almost have been enough of a difference to decide the election).

In November of 2020, President Trump got a higher percentage of minority votes than any Republican in 60 years. The Georgia GOP should have spent far more resources on the Latino and Asian American votes.

This opportunity would have included highlighting the election of the largest number of Republican women and minority House members in history.

The decision by the Loeffler and Perdue campaigns to run almost entirely negative ads was a mistake. (The complaints I received about the ads from many pro-Republican sources was a warning that something was not working).

As my daughter, Jackie Cushman, said, it gave the appearance that Perdue and Loeffler weren’t running for anything but only against their opponents.

This isn’t a great position for any campaign — especially incumbents.

Meanwhile, the Democrats had some positive ads designed to communicate warm caring personalities. All too many of our consultants have grown stale and only want to repeat things that used to work.

I have heard from several people in Georgia who said the campaign-runners simply wouldn’t hear suggestions to try different, more positive messages.

Finally, there is the failure to address or clean up the allegations of a corrupt election process which arose from the Nov. 3 vote.

This failure is the most amazing thing I have seen in six decades of Republican politics. Despite serious concerns from many Georgians, Gov. Kemp and Secretary of State Raffensperger took the position that everything was fine — or simply unfixable.

This did nothing to increase public trust or credibility.

This is a brief introduction to what should be a much longer and more detailed inquest.

These two races were winnable. But all too many of the participants, supporters, and major players had agendas that put the GOP victory at risk.

The result is a nightmare from which we will spend years recovering.

To read, hear, and watch more of Newt’s commentary, visit Gingrich360.com.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is well-known as the architect of the "Contract With America" that helped the Republican Party reclaim a majority in the House for the first time in 40 years. Newt was also a Republican candidate for president of the United States in 2012. Today, Newt is chairman of Gingrich 360, a full-service American consulting, education, and media production group. He is the host of the "Newt’s World" podcast and is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Trump and the American Future." Read New Gingrich's Reports More Here.

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These two races were winnable. All too many of the participants, supporters, and major players had agendas that put the GOP victory at risk. The result is a nightmare from which we will spend years recovering.
abrams, gop, kemp, loeffler, ossoff, schumer, warnock
Thursday, 07 January 2021 01:19 PM
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