“You are here because we the people will not let them steal our vote!” Mr Wood, a prominent right-wing Atlanta lawyer, told the jubilant crowd. “We won’t let them steal our freedom. Every lie will be revealed! And on January 20, 2021, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America.
Mr Wood subsequently addressed state officials saying the Georgia process was too corrupt to participate. “We’re not going to vote on your damn China-made machines,” he said. Ms Powell, who has been disowned by Mr Trump’s legal team but continues to launch legal challenges on behalf of the president, echoes Mr. Wood’s warning, urging “all Georgians” not to vote “unless your vote is secure”.
But in another way, the momentum seemed to backfire on Mr. Trump this week. On Tuesday, a senior state election official, Gabriel Sterling, bonded with the president, begging him to curb conspiratorial rhetoric that Mr Sterling said inspired people to make violent threats against election workers.
Mr Sterling’s boss Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger – like Mr Sterling, a Republican – on Wednesday appeared to shut the door on the president’s distant hopes of overturning the people’s vote. Noting that the United States Attorney General, William P. Barr, had just said that the Department of Justice had found no widespread fraud in the national race, Mr. Raffensperger said: “Neither did our investigators more widespread fraud.
He added that a second recount of Georgia’s ballots, which is expected to be completed by midnight on Wednesday, would show Mr. Biden was indeed the winner. And the Secretary of State notably called Mr. Biden the president-elect.
At the same time, political opportunism is an important factor. Mr Raffensperger, who is due for re-election in 2022, is one of many leading Georgian Republicans to bend their actions to two competing imperatives: upholding the integrity of their state’s election while trying to survive the weather bizarre and evolving politics. systems generated by the mercurial Mr. Trump.
The president may well spring from conspiracy theories and acrimony – he has publicly attacked Mr. Raffensperger and Mr. Kemp for failing to comply with his wishes – but he is also the most popular figure in the Republican Party. Nationally, Mr. Trump’s sustained attack on the integrity of the vote, while bogus, persuaded many Republicans that there was something wrong with the election. And no one knows if, or for how long, he will continue to command the loyalty of his party.