The Republican Party got a wake-up call in Georgia’s Special Election yesterday, with Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican and Karen Handel advancing to a runoff to fill Tom Price’s seat. Ossoff narrowly missed the needed 50 percent.
With 100 percent of the vote in, he garnered a strong 48.1 percent, just below the threshold needed for an outright win, with Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel coming in with 19.8 percent.
Yet Donald Trump seems to think his side won, and not only won but won BIG, and he’s taking credit for it:
Trump tweeted out in the middle of the night:
Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG "R" win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2017
Well, he thought his electoral college win was a landslide and that his inaugural crowd was big, so take that into account.
Here is what really happened:
The Republicans didn’t win, whatever Trump wants to pretend. And Trump’s own candidate, Johns Creek City Councilman Bob Gray who ran as a Trump guy, finished a third, which speaks volumes to Trump’s flagging cachet in the district.
Yes. Trump was helpful, but not in the way he imagined. Ossoff creamed his guy and wallopped the eventual GOP leader by a wide margin.
What is alarming for Republicans who can – or are willing – to do the math, is that Ossoff ran away with precincts that voted Trump in 2016 and for Romney in 2012.
Think about it: Romney won this district by 23 points. Tom Price, the guy they are voting to replace, won with almost 62 percent of the vote in 2016. By no means is this a win for the GOP and the only silver lining to be found is that they didn’t lose outright.
What Republicans did was avoid outright disaster. Managing to not lose is not winning. As Robert Reich put it, “Tonight’s results are a huge repudiation of Trump in a ruby-red Republican district.”
Trump again talked about money but Republicans spent a ton. The GOP poured over $4 million into the race to attack Ossoff and the Congressional Leadership Fund superPAC spent another $3 million for attack ads.
And Trump himself even recorded an 11th-hour robocall full of the choicest selection of lies the most renowned liar in the history of the GOP could come up with.
Sure, the going gets tougher now with the field narrowed to just two, but Trump is refusing to acknowledge reception of a powerful message from the people of Georgia.
What this election revealed to all of America and to the world is just how unpopular Donald Trump is. He can ridicule the polls as fake news, but the voters send a message only Donald Trump can ignore. “Make Trump Furious” looks to be a win.