Bookman: Georgia senators in runoff sow distrust of state election system

December 10, 2020 12:12 am

Columnist Jay Bookman says it’s insane that Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have publicly taken the side of Texas in a lawsuit against the state that they represent, the state in which they’re trying to win an election. Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder

The state of Texas has filed a disrespectful, insulting and legally ludicrous lawsuit against the state of Georgia, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that we’re too corrupt and incompetent to be trusted to run our own elections.

So … that’s crazy, right? It’s even more insane that our two U.S. senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, have publicly taken the side of Texas against the state that they represent, the state in which they’re trying to win an election. Loeffler and Perdue are asking the people of Georgia – the people whose presidential votes they’re trying to throw away – to go to the polls again on Jan. 5 and invest faith and credibility in the very same election system, run by the same laws and the same people, that they claim cannot be trusted to produce a fair and honest outcome.

So let’s say this again, plain and simple:

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, not here in Georgia and not in any other state. We’ve heard that from Brad Raffensperger, the Trump-endorsed, Republican secretary of state responsible for running elections here in Georgia. We’ve heard it from Chris Carr, Georgia’s Republican attorney general, and from Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, also Republicans.

Yet many of their fellow Republicans insist on believing otherwise.

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Republican and a staunch ally of Donald Trump, a man who has proved himself quite willing to bend and twist the law to Trump’s benefit, says he too has seen no evidence of voter fraud that could have altered the outcome of the 2020 election.

Yet still, many believe otherwise.

Judges from all over the country – judges in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in Arizona and here in Georgia, Republican judges as well as Democratic judges, trial court judges, appellate court judges and state supreme court judges, judges appointed by Obama and judges appointed by Trump and Bush I and Bush II – have dismissed some 50 lawsuits alleging fraud because the complaints lacked evidence, the parties lacked standing, and the lawyers lacked a believable argument.

“They want this court to substitute its judgment for that of two and a half million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden, and this I am unwilling to do,” as U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten, a Bush II appointee, said last week in tossing one of those cases.

When Trump tried to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, with its 6-3 advantage in conservative justices, they too shut him down in an apparently unanimous decision. Even Fox News has told its audience that there is no evidence of voter fraud on anything close to the scale required to overturn that result, and thus it treats Joe Biden as president-elect of the United States.

Yet still, they insist on believing.

Here in the real world, in the universe where math exists and facts matter and the rule of law still clings to life – in that world Joe Biden got 7 million more votes than Trump did and carried enough states to earn 306 electoral votes, more than enough to win the White House.

Let me repeat: In this world, the one that exists, there is no evidence of widespread vote fraud, and Biden is the legally, honestly elected winner of the presidential election. In some other world, some world that does not exist yet somehow is home to tens of millions of our fellow Americans, Trump is the victor. And what we’re testing right now is whether those who choose to live in that other world, in a fantasy world created for them by grifters and charlatans, will be able to bend this world, the real world, to conform to their will.

We are spiraling into insanity, and any hope of reversing course begins right here, with defeating Loeffler and Perdue on Jan. 5. What our senators advocate, what the Texas lawsuit and lawsuits filed by the state and national Republican parties advocate, is the cancellation of the 2020 presidential election to allow Republican legislatures to appoint Trump. They are doing all this because Loeffler, Perdue and others have come to believe that the incentives to behave like crazy people far outweigh any punishment, and for that at least they have substantial evidence.

That has to change; we have to change it.

At a September Cobb County GOP campaign event U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler appeared side by side with Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. Loeffler says she “fully supports” a new Texas lawsuit that aims to overturn Georgia’s presidential election, while Carr says it’s “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.” Jill Nolin/Georgia Recorder

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Jay Bookman
Jay Bookman

Jay Bookman covered Georgia and national politics for nearly 30 years for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, earning numerous national, regional and state journalism awards. He has been awarded the National Headliner Award and the Walker Stone Award for outstanding editorial writing, and is the only two-time winner of the Pulliam Fellowship granted by the Society of Professional Journalists. He is also the author of "Caught in the Current," published by St. Martin's Press.