If significant numbers of Republican voters choose to not participate in the January 5 runoff elections for both Senate seats, and that leads to victories by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, that will do nothing for Donald Trump, Trump’s legacy as president, the Republican Party, and the cause of conservatism.
It will, however, do a lot for Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, who would instantly become major power brokers in the Republican Party. They could take their “your vote was stolen by rigged machines” conspiracy-theory schtick to any state in the union and hold don’t-get-out-the-vote rallies for any race, telling Republicans that the elections are fixed and that participating in them is a form of acquiescence to terrible crimes. The GOP would effectively be held hostage by these lawyers, needing to concur with whatever bizarre claim they made — Georgia governor Brian Kemp stole money and gave it to China! The Federal Reserve is trying to destroy the economy on behalf of George Soros! — or suffer the consequences of Wood-Powell “Republicans must stay home and not vote” rallies in their backyard.
What we’re seeing in Georgia in these coming weeks is nothing less than a test to determine if the Republican Party has enough will to survive. If two lawyers can come out of nowhere with a farfetched conspiracy theory, and persuade thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of self-identified Republican-learning voters to not make their voices heard at the ballot box, then the GOP — despite all of its gains in the state legislatures and U.S. House and Senate this year — will not really be a functioning force in American politics. Too many members of the party’s grassroots will be too gullible to be a reliable base of support, and willing to act in a way that fulfills the Democratic Party’s wildest fantasies.