As voters head to the polls in a key Georgia special House election, President Donald Trump’s closing argument paints Democrat Jon Ossoff as pro-high taxes and weak on crime and security.
By all accounts, Trump had Democratic leanings for much of his adult life living high above Manhattan. But his late push for GOP candidate Karen Handel - which essentially tries to rile up Republican voters with a read meat pitch - shows how, on many issues, he has drifted to the right.
His late-race Twitter advocacy on Handel’s behalf, which is now in its second day, shows just how important the special election in Georgia’s 6th District is for Republicans - but also for Trump’s embattled agenda and scandal-plagued presidency.
In a series of tweets that began Monday morning, Trump is casting the election as something of a pivot point for his agenda and presidency.
If Handel holds onto the longtime Republican district, Trump essentially is saying in his tweets that the tax rate cuts, 2010 health law replacement, U.S.-Mexico border wall, and increased defense spending have a chance of becoming reality. But should Ossoff basically steal a red seat in the House, the president is sending a signal that the 2018 midterm elections could erect a giant roadblock and put many of those things in jeopardy.
Trump on Tuesday morning told his Twitter followers that Ossoff “wants to raise your taxes to the highest level and is weak on crime and security.” He also reminded them that the Democratic candidate “doesn't even live in district.”
(Trump is right on the latter: Ossoff has been living nearby while his fiancée attends medical school. For his part, Ossoff has countered that he grew up in the 6th District and lives less than two miles away.)
Democrat Jon Ossoff, who wants to raise your taxes to the highest level and is weak on crime and security, doesn't even live in district.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
Minutes later, Trump began a second morning tweet with the equivalent of putting a a campaign sign in his virtual yard, writing: “KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS.” The president vowed that she, if elected, “will fight for lower taxes, great healthcare strong security.” He described her as “a hard worker who will never give up!” before concluding with this ask: “VOTE TODAY.”
KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS. She will fight for lower taxes, great healthcare strong security-a hard worker who will never give up! VOTE TODAY— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
Trump’s tweets about the Georgia race were sprinkled through his Monday missives, with the final one that night declaring Tuesday a “big day” and Barack Obama’s 2010 health law as “dead” before lambasting Democrats.
“Dems want to raise taxes big! They can only obstruct, no ideas. Vote ‘R’,” Trump wrote in an evening tweet.
Big day tomorrow in Georgia and South Carolina. ObamaCare is dead. Dems want to raise taxes big! They can only obstruct, no ideas. Vote "R"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2017
In another Monday tweet, Trump criticized Ossoff for not being able to vote in the 6th District he wants to represent.
Karen Handel's opponent in #GA06 can't even vote in the district he wants to represent....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2017
Also on Monday, the president tried to give an eleventh-hour boost to Ralph Norman, who is running in a special election in South Carolina’s 5th District. Trump tweeted that the GOP candidate, if elected “will be a fantastic help to me in cutting taxes [and] getting great border security and healthcare. #VoteRalphNorman tomorrow!”
Ralph Norman, who is running for Congress in SC's 5th District, will be a fantastic help to me in cutting taxes, and....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2017
....getting great border security and healthcare. #VoteRalphNorman tomorrow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2017
Norman is running in a closer-than-expected special election race against Democrat Archie Parnell, who has narrowed Norman’s double-digit lead to within the margin of error of most polls.
Collectively, the Georgia and South Carolina special races are being viewed as a potential harbinger of things to come in next November’s midterm elections. They follow closer-than-expected House special elections in reliably red Kansas and Montana earlier this year.
Some pundits are predicting panic among House Republicans if the GOP loses either of today’s elections.