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United States: in Georgia, Donald Trump and Joe Biden cross swords for the Senate


Georgia has turned into a real political battlefield. Donald Trump and Joe Biden converged on Monday, January 4, 2020 on this American state to support their candidates on the eve of a crucial double senatorial election which will have a decisive impact on the start of the Democratic president’s mandate. Two months after the presidential election, Donald Trump still refuses to concede his defeat despite audits, new counts and multiple court decisions against him. In a staggering appeal, revealed on Sunday by the Washington PosHe asked the Georgia election official on Saturday to “find” the ballots needed to reverse his defeat in that key state.

Georgia has not elected a Democrat to the Senate for 20 years. But if they achieve the double feat, Raphael Warnock, 51-year-old black pastor, and Jon Ossoff, 33-year-old audiovisual producer, will tip the upper chamber in their camp, giving all the levers of power to Joe Biden. With 50 seats each for Republicans and Democrats, the future vice-president Kamala Harris would have the power to decide between the votes, and therefore to tip the scales on the Democratic side in the Senate, today with a Republican majority.

“The power is in your hands”

Election signs, candidates’ buses, door-to-door meetings and meetings: two months after the presidential election, Georgia has rediscovered the air of a national campaign. “The power is in your hands (…) A single state can change the course not only for the next four years, but for the next generation,” Joe Biden said from Atlanta. Deploring the chaotic start of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, he deplored Donald Trump’s inaction. “I do not understand why he absolutely wants to keep his job when he no longer wants to work.”

Donald Trump was to speak to him in the evening at what should be his last big meeting before leaving the White House on January 20. The billionaire is expected to be received as a hero in Dalton, in a rural and conservative riding in northwest Georgia. In the countryside, “Trump 2020” signs remain numerous. More besides than those of the senators he comes to support: the ex-man and businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, 50 years, and David Perdue, 71 years. Randy Stelly, 68, says he came especially from Texas to show that the fight for Trump “does not stop” and that we must “never, never concede defeat”. “If you don’t believe this election was marked by fraud, you are not being honest,” he says

Embarrassment in the Republican camp

The polls show the candidates neck-to-neck: Jon Ossoff will challenge David Perdue while Raphael Warnock will face Kelly Loeffler. On paper, the Republicans are favorites in this conservative state. Democrats, however, are relying on Joe Biden’s narrow victory on November 3, a first in Georgia since 1992, to believe it. All of these factors make for a situation “too tight to make a prediction,” said Trey Hood, professor at the University of Georgia. Especially since the impact of Donald Trump – and the latest revelations on his exchange with a state official – remains very difficult to measure. If his electoral base remains loyal to him, his crusade against a “rigged” election could demobilize voters.

During this call, the tenant of the White House insisted that the election had been “stolen” from him during a vast fraud on which he did not provide any evidence. Despite the veiled threats, the official, a Republican, did not give in. “We think our numbers are good,” Brad Raffensperger replied to the outgoing president. A “shameless abuse of power”, thundered Sunday Kamala Harris. But many elected officials within the Republican Party preferred not to speak on this issue on the eve of a high-stakes poll.

In the aftermath of these by-elections, Congress will meet to formally record the vote of the electors in favor of Joe Biden (306 against 232). The outcome of this constitutional obligation, which is usually a matter of simple formality, is not in doubt. But Donald Trump’s crusade, who stubbornly refuses to accept the verdict of the ballot box, gives this day a special tone. If some Republican heavyweights, including the leader of the senators Mitch McConnell, ended up admitting the victory of Joe Biden, the outgoing president can still count on the unwavering support of dozens of parliamentarians. In the House as in the Senate, these elected officials promised to express their objections Wednesday and to resonate the allegations of fraud within the Capitol itself.

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