Prediction: The lawsuit will fail massively and won’t save Trump’s presidency.
But this is still newsworthy, not because of the substance of Powell’s allegations but because of the effect the suit is apt to have on the president and his supporters. Trump has finally segued to a transition mindset within the last 48 hours as Michigan and then Pennsylvania certified their results, more lawsuits were extinguished in court, and the GSA finally ascertained Biden as the apparent winner. Biden even praised the Trump administration today for its outreach since the GSA determination, calling it “sincere” and not begrudging and noting that the president’s national security and COVID teams are in touch with his people. Powell’s lawsuit risks bringing that to a screeching halt by giving millions of Trump voters false hope that all’s not lost. That attitude is destined to infect the president himself: They want to “fight,” Powell’s about to go out and “fight,” so what choice does he have but to “fight” with them?
The establishment GOP will be irate since it’s laser-focused on the Georgia runoffs. For McConnell and his deputies, nothing would be more productive right now than Georgia voters accepting that Biden will be sworn in and turning their focus to blocking him by sending David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler to the Senate. Ideally even Trump would put the presidential election behind him and head down to Georgia to campaign for the two, as Rush Limbaugh nudged him to do on the radio yesterday. Instead it’s Powell who’s headed down there to level some sort of accusation at Georgia election officials, either that they were grossly negligent in not detecting fraud supposedly going on under their noses or that they were willfully complicit, as she’s suggested before. It’s a nightmare scenario for the party:
“Right now it seems there is chaos and that is the worry — that this could keep Republicans from turning out the vote,” said David Johnson, a Georgia-based GOP strategist…
Some Georgia Republicans have taken the fraud accusations a step further, suggesting they could have hurt Republican Rep. Doug Collins’ chances of beating Ms. Loeffler in the jungle-style special election, either winning the election outright or advancing to the runoff…
Jay Williams, a Georgia-based GOP consultant, said all the finger-pointing and accusations have been a “distraction” for Mr. Perdue and Ms. Loeffler.
“It is not ideal, and it is frankly not smart,” Mr. Williams said.
On top of discouraging skeptical Trumpers from voting, Powell’s suit will set Republicans at each other’s throats more so than at Democrats’. Once the complaint drops, all righties will be made to take a position on whether they think it’s credible and worth pursuing or not. If you think it isn’t, you’re a traitor to the president and a collaborator with the vast left-wing conspiracy to defeat him illicitly. If you think it is, you’re a crank who’d believe anything a populist tells you so long as it confirmed your priors. Not a great “unity” vibe for the big showdown in the runoffs on January 5. But there’s little Trump or McConnell or anyone else can do to stop Powell now that the president’s dismissed her from his legal team.
I suppose he could denounce her and call her a crank, but c’mon. When has Trump ever sincerely disclaimed some person or group that’s favorably disposed to him? Besides, he’s never comfortable being on the wrong side of his fans. If he takes sides against Powell on the great Venezuelan vote-rigging conspiracy, he might see some supporters conclude that he’s less of a populist hero than Powell herself. He’d find that intolerable. The most discouraging thing he’ll say about her lawsuit, I assume, is “It’s interesting. We’ll see what happens.”
Here she is on Lou Dobbs’s show previewing the imminent party Kraken up. I mean crack-up.