Opinion: Last week’s shooting a boon to Handel, GOP?

(AJC)

Brad Carver, GOP chair for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District, told the Washington Post Saturday that the tragic shooting at a congressional baseball practice will give Republicans the advantage in Tuesday’s special election in the neighboring 6th District.

I’ll tell you what: I think the shooting is going to win this election for us,” Carver said at a Handel rally. “Because moderates and independents in this district are tired of left-wing extremism. I get that there’s extremists on both sides, but we are not seeing them. We’re seeing absolute resistance to everything this president does. Moderates and independents out there want to give him a chance. Democrats have never given this president a chance.”

“It’s not going to be a blowout. It’ll be close, but we’ll win it,” Carver said. “And I really do think the congressional baseball shooting is going to decide the election.”

As crass as it is, I get Carver’s point. From the beginning, the GOP’s strategy in the 6th District has been to convince its base that they and everything they love are under assault by visigoths and vandals, cleverly disguised in the figure of a mild-mannered, buttoned-down Jon Ossoff.  Republican TV ads depict him as a man who wants to import terrorists from Syria and set gangs of black-clad marauders loose on the streets of Roswell to burn and loot. Ossoff “isn’t one of us,” which by default makes him “one of them,” so when one of “them” — a 66-year-old white male home inspector from Belleville, Ill. — goes to Washington to shoot up Republican congressmen, it does feed into the siege narrative quite nicely.

On the other hand, though, this notion that the biggest threat to the voters of the 6th District are their fellow Americans helps to explain a lot of what is wrong with this country at the moment. Political disagreements are real and they are important, but they do not turn those who disagree with us into our enemies. That’s an especially pertinent point for the older, more conservative voters in the 6th, because in many cases the “them” that they are taught to fear so much includes their own, more liberal sons and daughters.

The GOP message in the 6th is certainly quite different from the message championed by Ossoff, who tells us relentlessly that he’s willing to work with anybody to make progress for the American people. I’d also argue that if we’re going to bewail the divisiveness that marks modern American politics, no politician other than Newt Gingrich has done more to debase our discourse than has President Trump, and that no one has benefited more from it.

In his comments to the Post, Carver attributes the opposition to Trump to “left-wing extremism,” arguing that moderates and independents have been more willing to give the new president a chance and will still rally around Karen Handel. I’m not sure that’s an accurate reading, in part because if you’re going to define opposition to Trump as left-wing extremism, then almost two-thirds of the country are now left-wing extremists.

In fact, moderates and independents are more fed up with Trump these days than the American electorate in general. Trump’s job-approval rating among independents in the most recent Gallup poll was an abysmal 31 percent. That’s a significant drop from 42 percent in January, suggesting that many who had “given this president a chance” have quickly grown disenchanted by what they’ve seen.

In the most recent Reuters poll, 32 percent of independents approve of Trump’s performance. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, just 35 percent of independents approve of Trump, dwarfed by the 44 percent that disapproves strongly. With the one exception of Rasmussen, all of the polls show Trump losing substantial backing even among groups once most supportive of him, including his core of white voters with less than a college degree.

I do not see any means of reversing that downward trajectory. Something basic would have to change — Trump would have to alter his operating style, his personality, much of his White House staff and his basic level of interest in order to turn this thing around, and he shows zero capability for doing any of it. And although many conservatives still resist the idea, the impossibility of change means that at some point down the road, the Republican Party is going to have to break from Trump in order to save itself.

I’ll say it again: A Handel win on Tuesday would be a short-term victory for Republicans, accompanied by celebrations and signs of relief.  Likewise, passage of the deeply unpopular House Republican health-care bill was also a short-term victory, accompanied by celebrations and signs of relief, but it has become a millstone for Handel in a district where health care is a major employer.

Like that health-care bill, a Handel win would resolve none of the GOP’s problems, and by delaying the inevitable it would make those longer term problems still more difficult and dangerous. The best thing that could happen to the GOP would be to lose this race.

Reader Comments 0

1655 comments
tiday
tiday

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Omar K. Ali
Omar K. Ali

I think the victim card was pulled, yes. Postmarked from Greenville SC? a two hour drive North.

MikeDecatur
MikeDecatur

Just like I prefer my eggs, this was Over Easy.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Book ,

Don't quite get the logic of a Handel loss is the best thing for the GOP. With the amount of money spent by democrats on this race , a Handel win ,even in the short term would be a crushing blow to the progressive wing of the democratic party. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Sorry state of the country when an act of senseless violence in DC can sway an election in Georgia. Doubt Ossoff is the next coming of Sam Nunn , and  Ms.Handel is not exactly another Newt. 

bendedknee
bendedknee

Dems already won. This should not be a close race in this District except GOP has a psychotic leader who plays footsie with Vladmir.

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Jimena_

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MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

READERS, IF YOU CARE ABOUT SAVING THIS PLANET, THIS NATION, AND THIS STATE, YOU WILL RUSH OUT NOW TO VOTE FOR JON OSSOFF! 


 JUST DO IT!

Unfreakinbelieveable
Unfreakinbelieveable

@MaryElizabethSings save this planet, save this nation, save this state?  little too much caffeine this morn ME? i don't really care who wins this seat (just thankful the ads will stop) but thanks for the chuckle.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@MaryElizabethSings A lot of pressure for a neophyte running for the first time. Millions and Millions of donated dollars from across the entire country. Not sure how one congressman will save much of anything, much less the planet. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Can they start to count the votes now. I have a strict 11 pm bedtime.

KUTGF
KUTGF

Poor TGT is no not too bright.  He claims as FACT that the ACA KILLS 80,000 and provides a link to the racist rag, The American [Non] Thinker.  Of course if you read the link, it specifically say:

Public-health data from the Centers for Disease Control confirm... [that h]ad mortality continued to decline during ACA implementation in 2014 and 2015 at the same rate as during the 2000-13 period, 80,000 fewer Americans would have died in 2015 alone.

Cass and Benson are both honest enough to point out that correlation does not prove causation.  Obesity and drug abuse also correlate with the rising death rate. What can be said factually is that "[t]he best statistical estimate of the number of lives saved each year by the ACA is zero."

___________________

Even the American Stinker disagrees with TGT and its "factual" claim is pure foolishness.

But we do need to get a smarter group of trolls



LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@KUTGF I mean, Universal coverage is great.  But yes, people will still die. 


Just fewer will die from preventable diseases because they cannot afford insurance. 

KUTGF
KUTGF

@DownInAlbany  Remember when all the RWer nuts told us that when the GOP had a single candidate the landslide that would ensue in the GOP favor was inevitable.  LOL

bendedknee
bendedknee

@DownInAlbany Where that 60% that Price got? 

Down to the kool aide drinkers who would vote for a child rapist if he runs as a Republican.

Peachs
Peachs

It is like the mob buying off the police, judges, laundering money, now the press is part of that. 

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@LogicalDude @Peachs Capitalism, the best way to find out who your friends really are and if that pretty young girl who thinks your 75 year old butt is really great, is not marrying you for your money.

Stephen Scruggs
Stephen Scruggs

It woke up America to the Democratic Terrorist Party

Peachs
Peachs

The press has let both sides down.  I use to trust the press, now i think that 50 million dollar campaign has them working a different business plan.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Put the pressure on Bookman, directly.

Say what you want from him; don't imply it.

A SHRILL shill, suffering from delusions of grandeur.

schnirt

KUTGF
KUTGF

@FIGMO2  Shouldn't you be cleaning that glass house?

Peachs
Peachs

You wonder why we have red hot division, look at what a peaceful moderate stirs up in endorsements. Ossoff's very personality is for peaceful compromise, but not sure that is what the masses of Ga. want. Not even the liberals. They would rather fight. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Peachs It matters not who the person is. Personality? who cares? Good or bad person? It doesn't matter!


It only matters if there is a "D" or "R" next to their name. 


Nothing Else Matters. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Peachs W/o compromise, nothing gets done. Evidence: the present situation.

Kamchak
Kamchak

SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS !

Kamchak
Kamchak

@MaryElizabethSings

Posting SOCV is a magic incantation that is supposed to give us new material from our host, nothing more.   

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Come on, BOOKMAN. Publish a full endorsement for OSSOFF before NOON today!  Every vote counts!

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@MaryElizabethSings Did he write something for the dead tree edition?  If not, I wouldn't expect it today. 

Much too late for it. 

bu22
bu22

@DownInAlbany @MaryElizabethSings He still believes in the Russia conspiracies when even NYT authors are saying Trump is right.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/opinion/russia-investigation-trump.html?ref=opinion "...Things are so bad that I’m going to have to give Trump the last word. On June 15 he tweeted, “They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story.” Unless there is some new revelation, that may turn out to be pretty accurate commentary."

Kamchak
Kamchak

@bu22

OH NOES!

NOT THE "EVEN THE NY TIMES" CARD!

I'm MELTING...melting...melting.... 

TruthReallyHurts
TruthReallyHurts

@bu22 @DownInAlbany @MaryElizabethSings Never though Trump was dumb enough to get caught colluding with Putin/Russia to "steal" the election. But he clearly is guilty of obstruction. All this other stuff is just smoke and mirrors. Let's see if congress has the stones to act on it.

Unfreakinbelieveable
Unfreakinbelieveable

@DownInAlbany @MaryElizabethSings honestly?  ME thinks Bookman has influence on how someone votes?  He would have about as much influence on my vote as any Russian interference would!  If a voter is influenced by an AJC writer (can't call him a journalist) they shouldn't be allowed to vote.