While Democrat Joe Biden hopes to recreate the coalition that secured him a narrow victory in the presidential race in November, Republican Donald Trump, who has not yet to concede, suggests that he would try to hold on to power.
President-elect Joe Biden has told Georgia Democrats they had the power to “chart the course” for a generation as President Donald Trump urged Republican voters to "swamp" the polls ahead of runoff elections that will determine control of the US Senate.
Trump, who lost the November presidential election to his Democratic counterpart, has not conceded to Biden, and he spent part of his rally remarks in Dalton, a city in Georgia's heavily Republican northwest, suggesting that he would try to hold on to power.
"They're not taking this White House. We're going to fight like hell," Trump said to cheers from the crowd, which chanted "Fight for Trump!"
Biden campaigned with Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in Atlanta, hoping he could recreate the coalition that secured him a narrow victory in the presidential race in November.
“Folks, this is it. This is it. It’s a new year, and tomorrow can be a new day for Atlanta, for Georgia and for America,” Biden said at a drive-in rally. “Unlike any time in my career, one state, one state, can chart the course, not just for the four years but for the next generation.”
He said the Trump administration had “gotten off to a god-awful start" with the slow rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines. “The president spends more time whining and complaining than doing something about the problem,” he said.
Democratic candidates, if elected, would ensure that $2,000 stimulus checks were delivered to Americans as the economy struggles during the coronavirus pandemic, Biden said.
The stakes have drawn hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign spending to a once solidly Republican state that now finds itself as the nation’s premier battleground.
Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by about 12,000 votes out of 5 million cast in November, though Trump continues pushing false assertions of widespread fraud that even his now-former attorney general and Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, along with a litany of state and federal judges, have said did not happen.
The “Surrender Caucus” within the Republican Party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective “guardians” of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2021
Claims over 'rigged' election
The president’s trip came a day after disclosure of a remarkable telephone call he made to the Georgia secretary of state over the weekend. Trump pressured Republican Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Georgia’s election results ahead of Wednesday’s joint session of Congress that will certify Biden’s Electoral College victory. The call highlighted how Trump has used the Georgia campaign to make clear his continued hold on Republican politics.
Angry after the Raffensperger call, Trump floated the idea of pulling out of the rally but was persuaded to go ahead with it so he would have a chance to reiterate his claims of election fraud. Republicans were wary as to whether Trump would focus only on himself and fail to promote the two GOP candidates.
Trump, at the rally in Dalton, Georgia, spent much of his address on message, making an impassioned case that Loeffler's and Perdue's races were among the most important Georgia voters would ever face and made the case that "the fate of our country is at stake.”
To be sure, he also spent a fair amount of time rehashing false claims that the November election was “rigged." He fumed that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp was “incompetent" and replayed many of the same debunked claims that he raised days ago in his call with Raffensperger.
"The Democrats are trying to steal the White House, you cannot let them," Trump said. “You just can’t let them steal the US Senate, you can’t let it happen.”
'A calling from God'
Biden on Monday took aim at Trump's scheme by declaring that “politicians cannot assert, take or seize power” by undermining legitimate elections.
Biden said he needs a Senate majority to pass legislation to combat the coronavirus, and he blasted Perdue and Loeffler as obstructionist Trump loyalists.
Loeffler says she will join other Republican lawmakers in objecting to the Electoral College certification of Biden's victory by Congress on Wednesday.
Earlier Monday, Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of conservative Christian voters at a campaign event in Milner, Georgia, to stop a Democratic takeover in Washington. “We’re going to keep Georgia, and we’re going to save America,” Pence said at Rock Springs Church in Milner.
Perdue addressed the church crowd in Milner by telephone while quarantining over coronavirus exposure, claiming that “the very future of our republic is on the line” and declaring the duty to vote “a calling from God.”
Republicans need just one victory to maintain Senate control and force Biden to contend with divided government. Democrats need a sweep for a 50-50 split, giving the tiebreaking vote to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will succeed Pence as the Senate’s presiding officer. That would give Democrats a Senate majority to go along with their control of the House and executive branch.
A closely divided Senate, with the rules still requiring 60 votes to advance major bills, lessens the prospects of sweeping legislation regardless. But a Democratic Senate would at least assure Biden an easier path for top appointees, including judges, and legitimate consideration of his legislative agenda. A Senate led by McConnell would almost certainly deny even an up-or-down vote on Biden’s most ambitious plans.
More than 3 million Georgians already have voted. Monday's push focused on getting voters to the polls Tuesday. Democrats ran up a wide margin among 3.6 million early votes in the fall, but Republicans countered with an Election Day surge, especially in small towns and rural areas.