“We want America. We want America back, ”says Lisa Peterson. The middle-aged lady wears a red costume and a “Team Trump” button is decorated on the right lapel. And she is quite sure of the political future of the United States. Donald Trump will remain president, Peterson says in a firm voice. Why? “Because I believe it. And I don’t question my beliefs. “But what if Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the new president on January 20, 2021?” I don’t think it will come to that. “
“Bob”, who does not want to give his surname, sees it similarly. “Let’s make America pious again” reads his red baseball cap, based on Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”. Who will be sworn in as president in January? “Donald Trump” says “Bob”. And who won the elections in Georgia? Here, too, the most American champion of the fear of God has a firm position. His answer is: “Donald Trump”.
Welcome to the fans of Trump, in the parallel world of supporters of the current American president, who a month after the elections has not yet admitted his defeat. In the world tinkering with Trump’s steep theses (“I won”), crude fraud allegations and various conspiracy theories.
Lisa Peterson and Bob are two of about 400 people attending a demonstration Friday afternoon in Savannah, Georgia, by incumbent Vice President Mike Pence. There are 23 degrees Celsius, a little windy. Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance Someone” thunders over the speakers. The audience waits patiently for Pence to arrive in Air Force Two an hour late, and the car practically stops near the speaker’s platform.
In Georgia, beyond all conspiracy theories, the following applies: after the election is before the election. Two senators will vote in a month. If the two Republican holders lose their seats in this ballot, their majority has passed. Then it’s 50:50 and Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, 56, would tip the scales.
The stupid thing is for Republicans in Georgia: Joe Biden, 78, just won the election in their Georgia stronghold – extremely narrowly, with a lead of about 11,000 votes. Suddenly the former GOP state is a battleground where both sides meet at eye level.
Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, certified the election result. Georgian Interior Minister Brad Raffensberger, a Republican, denied Trump’s fraud allegations for weeks. The president calls his party colleague an “enemy of the people”.
In Georgia, of all countries, Trump wants to hold his first rally since the election this Saturday. The incumbent president has invited Saturday evening (local time, Sunday morning CET) to a “demonstration for victory” at the regional airport of Valdosta. Also present: two Senators Kelly Loeffler, 50, and David Perdue, 70. The two are competing to see who is most loyal to Trump. They called on their interior minister to step down because he had proclaimed Biden the winner of the elections.
The official occasion of the event is the race for the Senate. But for the incumbent president, the important thing is to gild his future. What message does Trump want to convey? Will he continue to hold his official line of winning the presidential election? Or does it create a way out of the confusion it has created, albeit on the sidelines?
Republicans fear that Trump’s continuing allegations of election fraud could prevent Republican-leaning Georgia citizens from voting. Two more blows to the neck on January 5, 2021, would greatly damage the Republican Party.
Trump could just be a lame president, a head of state and head of government who will have to leave the White House in 46 days. But his words matter, because they created that factless parallel world that many Republicans have settled comfortably in. Trump fans take every word their master says at face value, often quoting it literally, trying to sell it as his wisdom.
Lisa Peterson, for example, the lady with the “Team Trump” badge on her red jumpsuit. What do you think of the republican-led state of Georgia certifying Biden’s electoral victory? “The media does not announce the president. That’s not how the procedure goes ”. And that Interior Minister Raffensberger is talking about a Biden victory? “You can say what you want.” Then Peterson talks about electoral fraud and how “un-American” everything is.
Even the most pious “Bob” complains of “fraud” in the recent elections. This fraud must stop, otherwise “we will lose our country”. He uses a literal phrase from Trump, according to which one must “count the legal votes”.
And as with Trump’s slogans, it’s always about everything: “As Americans we have to get up now, or we’ll lose our freedom.” And what do you say to Mr. Raffensberger, Republican Interior Minister? “We call these people Republicans in name only.” This is also Trump’s vocabulary. Raffensberger has “dirt on the stick”, with the boy the money is in the game.
The strategy of Trump, the Republicans and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, with allegations of fraud and – several dozen failures – lawsuits to keep the tale of electoral victory? If he is to evacuate the White House, Trump wants to combine this with the crude assertion that not all has gone well. For him this strategy has so far paid off, including financially.
Trump has raised $ 207.5 million in donations since election day. His campaign bombarded followers with emails and text messages. Would you like a taste of Friday? “The ballot is crucial to saving AMERICA from the left and I am counting on YOU to stand up and make sure we have the money to move forward,” reads one of these emails.
Just in time for the day before his visit to Georgia, Trump’s election team has called for a new full vote in the presidential election in Georgia. The reasons “significant and systematic misconduct, fraud and other irregularities”. In Georgia, given the tight result, a second recount is already underway.
Trump’s parallel world can also be seen on the fringes of Savannah airport on Friday, before and during the penny rally. The occasion is also the two elections to the Senate. “Four more years”, “Four more years”, shout the audience while Pence is at the lectern. Four years: this is the term of office of the President and Vice President. One of the Senate elections is unscheduled, the office ends in two years. As usual, the other tenure in the Senate is for six years.
Pence (“I’m on President Trump’s side”) is a great teacher half-truth. Trump received 74 million votes in the November 3 election, he says. Quite right. But he prefers to ignore the fact that 81 million Americans voted for Biden.
Nor does he mention the dozen failed lawsuits. The competition continues, “in Georgia and in court”. And then, just like Trump’s interview: “Every legal vote must be counted, every illegal vote must be rejected.”
Closely loyal to Trump, Pence has neither admitted his defeat nor invited his successor Kamala Harris (as Vice President Biden did to him right after the 2016 election). What Pence does not say to this demonstration is all the more interesting. It doesn’t say “We won the election” nor “Joe Biden lost the election”. Nor does it say, “I will remain vice president” or “Kamala Harris will not become vice president.”
Speaking on behalf of the president, he claims pence and campaigns for the re-election of the two Republican senators. He then drops a remark that is instructive because it indicates the end of one’s power. Defending the Republican majority in the Senate, Pence warns it “could be the last line of defense.”