Brad Raffensperger Survives Trump-Backed Challenge – Opinion

Not even a month ago, many in American politics would have told you that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s bid for re-election was not going to survive former president Donald Trump’s wrath. Trump was very much involved in the race against Raffensperger, backing Congressman Jody Hice’s bid to oust the man Trump feels is most responsible for his loss in Georgia.

Raffensperger won the challenge and beat it without needing to enter a second round. Trump supporters have already claimed that Raffensperger’s win was because of Democrats who crossed over to support Raffensperger. Cross-country votes are possible in Georgia, which is an open state. Trump-backed candidates such as Hice still have a problem with Raffensperger’s survival due to Democratic voters.

If those voters crossed over just to create chaos, you would think they’d go for Hice and cause Republicans to have to spend more time on their in-fighting. Because even if you think Raffensperger helped Democrats win in 2020, he also backed the law touted as “Jim Crow 2.0,” which Stacey Abrams still believes causes voter suppression despite all of the turnout evidence. Supporting Raffensperger is not a good idea if you want to steal the elections. It would be a good idea to screw over the Republicans as many times as possible.

But, if the goal were to stick it to Trump rather than the Republicans, that is an entirely different – and more likely – scenario.

Trump’s sole focus in the run-up to the midterms has been a focus on the past. The “Stop The Steal” vendetta has turned off a lot of voters. It was David Perdue’s entire campaign strategy, and he got absolutely blown out of the water. Mo Brooks lost focus on Alabama and he began to surge back, forcing Katie Britt (the establishment pick) into a second round. Trump was a supporter of Brooks up until Brooks started campaigning to move on from 2020. Trump then switched to Britt.

AP Photo/Joe Maiorana

Both Democrats and Republicans conducted internal polling ahead of the Virginia elections in 2021. The results showed that voters wanted Congress not to be involved with the Jan 6th riot. According to the Democrats, this meant that voters were very concerned about it and desired that that be their primary focus. Republicans thought it meant voters wanted to put an end to all the talk about it. It was the right interpretation by Republicans, who won Virginia. This started what looks to be the red tsunami that will lead Democrats into November.

Voters understood this message. Keep your eyes on the future and present. Focus on the future, not the past.

However, several Republican candidates now run on platforms from the past. They want to re-litigate the 2020 election, and voters aren’t having it. Perdue was defeated by Brian Kemp because of his Georgia success. Raffensperger’s lowest points were his trying to claw his way out of the mess that was 2020. Raffensperger’s approval dropped to its lowest point at this time. He appears to have made some progress, with his Georgia election law passing and not being in the news.

Incumbency matters, obviously. In most elections, it is the hardest task to unseat an incumbent. But it helps if your opponent is stuck talking about the 2020 election when voters care more about what’s happening right now. 2020 is the past. And the most important issues are right now. They include everything the Democrats got wrong since 2020. And voters look at Raffensperger, see his support of Republicans in Georgia, and know he’s on the winning team. That he didn’t fall into the 2020 trap only helped.

Let’s hope that this message is heard. Republicans can find so many opportunities to win and capitalize on in order to be successful in November. They don’t need to re-litigate 2020 to win. It seems that this actually drives voters away.

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