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Top Story from the Wall Street Journal news team: This past weekend, President Trump held a rally in Valdosta, Georgia where he “… tried to use his claims of widespread voter fraud to boost turnout in two Senate runoff elections next month. He urged supporters to re-elect two senators but oust other local officials he blames for his own election loss.” Here is the reaction to the rally on both sides:
On the Left: Democrats and left-leaning outlets focused their reporting and opinion articles on what they view as a contradictory strategy by President Trump. In an “analysis” piece for the Washington Post, Amber Phillips writes that Trump “has boxed Georgia Republicans facing two Senate runoffs into a difficult situation: He needed to champion his baseless claims of election fraud, but still urge Georgia voters to cast ballots in this allegedly flawed system again in January.” Phillips says Trump is “making [the Republicans in these Georgia Senate races] lives much harder by not conceding and by taking his supporters along with him in his alternate reality, where he won.” Phillips says, “Trump probably cleared the low bar party leaders had set for him Saturday, that he wouldn’t make things worse than he already has.” Vox’s Aaron Rupar echoes Phillips’ analysis in his piece titled, “Trump’s Georgia rally was supposed to pump up Loeffler and Perdue. It ended up being a grievance-fest.” Rupar writes that “even a slightly depressed turnout could cost Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue their seats come January. And should they both lose, Democrats will regain control of the Senate thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”
On the Right: Republicans and right-leaning commentators believe that President Trump’s rally was able to both shine a light on voting fraud claims and drum up support for Georgia’s special election which is less than a month away. Fox News focused their coverage on the spat between Trump and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican. In short, Trump is requesting that “[Kemp] or the Secretary of State permit a simple signature verification. Kemp says he’s publicly called for a signature audit three times. Trump then said: “But you never got the signature verification! Your people are refusing to do what you ask. What are they hiding?” Eric Mack of Newsmax also dedicated a portion of his coverage to this spat, highlighting Trump’s comments at the rally when he said: “… you got to make sure your governor gets a lot tougher than he’s been. He’s gotta get a lot tougher.” Mack, however, emphasized Trump’s push to get Georgia republicans to vote: “You must go vote and vote early starting Dec. 14 – you have to do it – they cheated and they rigged this presidential election, but we will still win it,” Trump said. “This is something that’s very important, and you have to get out you have to vote. You have to make sure you have every vote counted. Everybody’s vote has to count.”
Flag This: “Regardless of how the elections in Georgia turn out, the Senate will be closely divided next year. And that is part of a long-running trend,” Katherine Schaeffer writes for the Pew Research Center. “Next year’s 117th Congress has the potential to be one of only two in the last six decades in which Democrats and Republicans have the same number of Senate seats at the beginning of the term. The last time it happened was the 107th Congress (2001-2003), when each party held 50 seats.”