Bookman: Naming names, former Sens. Perdue and Loeffler conspired against democracy

December 20, 2021 1:00 am

Columnist Jay Bookman writes that when former U.S. Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler advocated against President Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, they conspired to end American democracy. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder (File 2020)

Anyone in public life who supported, advocated, justified, participated in, financed or helped to organize the scheme to void the 2020 Electoral College vote, take away the voice of the people, and MacGyver state legislatures into keeping Donald Trump in the White House is guilty of conspiring to end American democracy.

History will record that as a fact.

Now, some might disagree. I mean, it’s not as if Republicans just hyped themselves into a frenzy with a totally groundless story about “voter fraud,” then used that frenzy as an excuse to throw out tens of millions of legitimate votes, cancel the election, overrule the American people and re-install a president whom voters had clearly and definitively rejected. If all that had happened, even the skeptics would have to agree they had conspired against democracy.

Of course, all that did happen.

So let’s call out some names:

You, David Perdue. You conspired to end American democracy. As a U.S. senator sworn to defend the Constitution, you instead supported efforts to trash that document. You conspired to throw out the 5 million votes that were cast legally and in good faith by your fellow Georgians so that Republican legislators could substitute their will for the will of the people. You did so for no other reason than you didn’t like the outcome.

You had – and have – no evidence of voter fraud to justify such breathtaking action.  The laughable lawsuit that you recently filed accuses Fulton County election officials of “unlawful, erroneous, negligent, grossly negligent, willful, malicious, corrupt, deceitful, and intentional manipulation of votes.” It claims “Fulton County permitted great multitudes of fraudulent persons to fraudulently vote in the General Election using the name(s) of qualified and eligible Georgia voters.”

  1. Produce these “great multitudes.” You have made the charge: Back it up.

If what you allege is true, then thousands of legally registered voters in Fulton County – if you believe Trump, tens of thousands – must have been barred from voting on Election Day because when they got to their precincts, they would have been told that somebody else had fraudulently cast ballots in their name through the absentee process.

So produce these “great multitudes.” You cannot. You cannot because they exist only in the land of unicorns, fairies, magic rainbows and GOP lawsuits.

I know, I know – we’ve all heard the excuse: The lawsuits are necessary to uncover the evidence that you’re sure is there. Yet that in itself is a damning admission. Given your support a year ago for blocking the transfer of power to President Biden, it is a confession that you were willing to subvert American democracy based on evidence that to this day you do not have.

Furthermore, in your campaign for governor you have made it clear that you would use the powers of that new office to do even worse in the next election, if given the chance. Indeed, that promise is the entire animating force behind your candidacy. And if you’ve somehow managed to convince yourself that all this nonsense is true, if that self-delusion helps you sleep better at night, it doesn’t make the Big Lie any less of a lie. It just makes you a bigger fool.

But of course, Perdue is far from alone.

You, then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler, joined Perdue last year in supporting a Texas lawsuit that would have rendered 5 million Georgia voters voiceless in the presidential election, based on the false claim of 80,000 forged absentee ballots in our state. Your fellow Republican, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, had condemned that suit as “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong,” but that didn’t deter you in the slightest. No defender of the Constitution or democracy would have taken the momentous step of trying to throw out millions of ballots without overwhelming evidence. You did so with no evidence whatsoever.

Twenty-eight state legislators also joined in supporting that ridiculous lawsuit, as did seven House members from Georgia. Again, we should name names: House members Jody Hice, Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott: You too have conspired against American democracy. When the vote of the people of Georgia went against your candidate, you tried to silence their voice, and all but Scott did so again on the House floor on Jan. 6.

Hice is now running for Georgia secretary of state, the office entrusted with the sacred power of guaranteeing the fairness and legitimacy of our democratic republic. As with Perdue, the entire reason for Hice’s candidacy is his eagerness to use the powers of that office to succeed next time where he and others failed last time. He has no other platform, no other agenda.

Hice, Perdue and too many other GOP candidates are asking the people of Georgia not just to validate their past attempts to subvert democracy. They are asking that you join in that conspiracy, that you participate in it.

Don’t do that.

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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.