The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Georgia’s recount revealed no fraud — and just how unfit Loeffler and Perdue really are

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, wearing protective masks, clap during a campaign event in Cumming, Ga., last week.
Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, wearing protective masks, clap during a campaign event in Cumming, Ga., last week. (Dustin Chambers/Reuters)
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GEORGIA OFFICIALS have concluded a painstaking audit and recount of the nearly 5 million ballots cast in this month’s presidential election. They have found errors, but no fraud and nothing that comes close to changing the results: Democratic candidate Joe Biden was the winner of the state’s 16 electoral votes. That makes all the more unforgivable the conduct of Georgia’s two Republican senators in making reckless charges about the integrity of the vote. Their attempts to undermine the election, falling in line with President Trump’s dishonest and anti-democratic machinations, should not be forgotten by Georgia voters when they go to the polls in January for two critical U.S. Senate runoff elections.

“Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have assaulted Georgia’s election system,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in an editorial after the two senators called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign, alleging he had mismanaged the election. They had not a shred of evidence of misconduct on his part. What they had was a fear that Mr. Trump would go after them and submarine their chances for reelection if they didn’t fall in line with his absurd — and dangerous — pretense that Mr. Biden “stole” the election. (The Trump campaign has requested another recount, which is set to begin on Tuesday.) “If the president is tweeting bad things, the base is not coming out,” Rusty Paul, a former chairman of the Georgia GOP, said of the senators’ decision to scapegoat Mr. Raffensperger, a fellow Republican who called himself a Trump supporter but has courageously refused to let partisanship influence his conduct of the election.

Ms. Loeffler and Mr. Perdue are trying to fend off challenges from Democratic candidates in a dual runoff whose outcome will determine which party controls the Senate. Mr. Perdue is facing Jon Ossoff, a documentary producer, and Ms. Loeffler is facing the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

The Republican incumbents have joined forces, presenting themselves as a “firewall” against what they claim would be a radical Democratic agenda that would doom the country to socialism. Just as their claims about Mr. Raffensperger were specious, so are their depictions of what would happen if Democrats were to win control of the Senate along with the White House and the House of Representatives. Mr. Ossoff and Mr. Warnock espouse positions — such as protecting affordable health care, defeating the coronavirus, criminal justice reform and safeguarding voting rights — that are in line with those of Mr. Biden. Some of the most overheated Republican fear-mongering centers on Democratic hopes to give representation in Congress to the District of Columbia’s 700,000 residents. That is not radical or socialist; it is a question of basic civil rights.

Some of the most important legislation in this country’s history, including Social Security and early civil rights legislation, emerged when one party controlled both Congress and the White House. Georgia voters have an opportunity to enable another period of tangible progress. Their alternative is to reward two politicians conspiring to groundlessly undermine faith in American democracy.

Read more:

Madalin Sammons: Democrats, please think twice before invading Georgia to help with the Senate runoffs

Paul Waldman: The fight in Georgia is a nearly perfect microcosm of American politics in 2020

Paul Waldman: What’s at stake in Georgia? Nothing less than democracy itself.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: How Georgia went blue

Jennifer Rubin: Republicans’ last gasp in Georgia

Jennifer Rubin: We need an investigation into Lindsey Graham’s intervention in Georgia