REPUBLICAN voters in the US state of Georgia are threatening to stay at home during the forthcoming senatorial run-off taking place on January 5 to protest the way its leaders have refused to back President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the presidential election results.
On November 3, former vice president Joe Biden of the Democratic Party beat incumbent President Trump of the Republican Party and is due to be sworn-in on January 20 as the 46th American president. However, President Trump has refused to accept defeat, claiming the votes were characterised by electoral fraud despite no evidence to support this claim.
In the congressional race, the two Georgia senate seats remain undecided as none of the candidates got the required 50% of the vote required to get them declared winner. This means that on January 5, a run-ff will take place with Republican incumbents Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue facing a tough challenge from Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
With the balance on the US senate very tight, the Georgia race will determine who controls the upper house as the Republicans have 50 seats to the Democrats 48 seats. If the Democrats win the two Georgia seats, it will give them control of the senate as with s 50:50 split, vice president Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote whenever there is a tie in voting.
Having won the White House and being in control of the House of Representatives, winning the senate would give the Democrats full control of government. Fearful of what this would mean, several leading Republicans are appealing to their supporters in Georgia not to boycott the polls over the antics of President Trump, who has questioned the authenticity of elections.
Fox News conservative host Tucker Carlson, for instance, urged Republicans not to sit out the senate run-off races in Georgia after some conservative voters threatened to boycott the election to support President Trump’s claims of fraud. Many of them are unhappy with the way the party refused to back the president’s stance on the matter and believe it should be punished for doing so.
Mr Carlson said: “You’re hearing some Republicans say well maybe we should let the Republicans lose because they’re mad at the party in Washington. They have every reason to be mad at the party in Washington who should be punished but the problem is, the rest of us should not be punished, so before you decide to sit this one out, you should think about what this might mean.
“If Democrats take full control, the first priority will be to pass something called the Heroes Act. You’re told that’s a coronavirus economic relief package and there’s some of that in there but there’s a lot more because if Democrats take the senate, things are going to change really, really fast, in ways that most people aren’t going to like at all.”
He added that the Heroes Act bill contains policies that will create a permanent Democratic majority, including a measure to legalise ballot harvesting. Mr Carlson’s fears are based on the fact that some Republicans in Georgia are furious at party officials for allowing the state’s vote to be certified, showing Mr Biden as the winner by a narrow margin.
Over the weekend, Lin Wood, a Trump campaign attorney, suggested Republican supporters withhold their votes for the Republican senate candidates unless they do more to address the alleged election steal. Already, a group called the Committee for American Sovereignty, has launched a website encouraging supporters to write to senators Perdue and Loeffler, pressing them to act.