Throughout Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election based upon bogus claims of voter fraud, there was a massive but undersold disconnect in the Republican Party. Yes, congressional Republicans very much participated in his effort to overturn the election, but they generally did so by talking about very different things. Rather than talk about millions of bona fide fraudulent votes like Trump did, they talked about irregularities and supposedly illegal expansions of mail-in balloting and other pandemic-era changes (despite courts having disagreed).

But there were myriad problem with such efforts, beyond just that disconnect. These included the fact that they often didn’t object in real time to such changes and the fact that they often declined to specify exactly what was amiss.

In Georgia, we have perhaps our first big test of whether this type of ill-defined revisionist history can win Republican primaries — whether voters will settle for a rather transparent, Trump-lite effort to attack American election results.

Former senator David Perdue (R) officially launched a challenge against Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Monday, setting up perhaps the highest-profile primary challenge of the 2022 elections. In doing so, Perdue has signaled he’ll make Kemp’s and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s handling of the 2020 election a key issue.

But even in doing so, Perdue continues to talk around precisely what he means.

“Unfortunately, today [Republicans] are divided, and Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger are to blame,” Perdue said in his launch video. “Look, I like Brian. This isn’t personal. It’s simple: He has failed all of us and cannot win in November. Instead of protecting our elections, he caved to [Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey] Abrams and cost us the Senate majority and gave Joe Biden free rein.”

It’s a thoroughly remarkable way to begin a campaign. Perdue, after all, is the one who actually lost his seat in the Jan. 5 runoffs and with fellow Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s (R-Ga.) loss handed Democrats the Senate majority. He did so after he declined to participate in runoff debates with now-Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.). He’s now saying this is all, somehow, Kemp’s fault. He’s also suggesting he’s the candidate who can win, even as Kemp won statewide in 2018, a year that was probably tougher for Republicans than 2020.

But beyond that, there’s the fact that Perdue isn’t saying what he means — exactly what he thinks Kemp got wrong. And this is a trend.

When Raffensperger and others were making changes to Georgia’s election procedures in 2020, there was little evidence of Perdue raising a big fuss.

Shortly after the election, when Perdue was pushed into a runoff with Ossoff, Perdue and Loeffler released a statement calling for Raffensperger to resign but not saying precisely what he had done wrong or providing any evidence.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s editorial board harshly derided the move.

“Reckless barely begins to touch on what Perdue and Loeffler have done,” they wrote. “Without presenting reasons, they have assaulted Georgia’s election system.”

By the next month, the two of them at least put some meat on the bone when it came to what they were claiming could happen. They sued to separate ballots cast in their races by newly registered voters who they suggested might double-vote — i.e. those who might have voted in the regular election in other states but would vote in Georgia in the runoff. But even that dealt not with specific evidence of fraud, but rather potential fraud.

By last month, Perdue was clearly angling for a Kemp primary — but again without much specificity.

“Forget about me; it’s divided,” he said of the state GOP. “And a lot of people feel like that people in power haven’t fought for them and caved in to a lot of things back in 2020 that didn’t have to be done.”

Around the same time, Perdue invoked fraud, while referencing circumstantial evidence — the low rates of absentee ballots that were rejected in Fulton County.

As a local news report noted, “He apologized for using the ‘f-word’ in saying, ‘That’s fraud.’ ”

The thing is, he probably shouldn’t apologize. At least in that instance, he was saying what he has been hinting at for a year. If you’re going to argue that something is or was amiss, you should probably say specifically what it is.

Of course, delving into those details means actually accounting for specifics, which is an exercise that has gone decidedly poorly for promoters of fraud claims and even of specific claims of irregularities and supposedly illegal changes in election procedures. And so Republicans have talked around these issues for a long time.

For Perdue, it’s much easier to wink and nod at supposed misdeeds by Kemp and others. We’ll see whether that’s good enough for GOP primary voters.

The real irony here is that it’s quite possible fraud did cost Perdue reelection — not actual fraud, but Trump’s claims of it, which might have depressed GOP turnout in the runoffs and which those like Perdue felt compelled to play along with.