GOP Fears Rise as Trump’s 2022 Pennsylvania Antics Look Increasingly Like Georgia 2020

If there is one thing everyone knows about Trump, his hysterics regarding the shockingly tight vote in the Pennsylvania primary are only just beginning and once Trump fixates on a subject it is impossible to get him off. Trump’s antics will do nothing but further fracture the Pennsylvania GOP while also reminding moderates why they feared the GOP in the first place and that perhaps Fetterman is the “adult’s” bet in 2022, allowing the Democrats to pick off a red seat and perhaps hang on to the Senate. Maggie Haberman, below, says we’ve seen this before.

As of Thursday, May 19th, 2022, we still do not have a winner yet in the Republican primary in Pennsylvania. As of this writing, the New York Times has Mehmet Oz roughly 1,200 votes ahead of Dave McCormick with “over 95%” votes counted. Obviously, the inability to discern how many votes remain to be counted makes it difficult to tell whether there is likely to be much movement in that lead. What is known is that it could be next week before an official winner is declared, and there will be an automatic recount anyway.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been reliably Trumpian, as impatient as a four-year-old, and dangerously authoritarian, publicly stating that Oz should just “declare victory,” which sounds more viable when said in the original Russian. Almost without regard to the ultimate winner, this will be Trump’s tone until November, according to Maggie Haberman:

What he is doing is muddying the waters and there are huger implications here because Republicans are trying to retake the senate. It is going to be much harder if Donald Trump is casting doubt on Dave McCormick the way he’s clearly prepared to do.

Haberman has it half right. Trump isn’t just casting doubt on Dave McCormick. He is casting doubt on both candidates, the Republican party, and U.S. democracy, by encouraging his guy, Oz, to act outside democratic norms and simply declare victory because Trump believes it puts Oz in a “better position,” as if there is a “position” outside a total number.

The entire situation reeks of Georgia 2020 and how Trump handed the United States Senate to the Democrats by angering and dismaying GOP voters such that a critical percentage stayed home, likely on the theory that the Dems had it rigged all along. The parallels were not lost in the CNN discussion. Haberman states the obvious:

I’m not at all surprised to see how this is playing out but, again, this is really dangerous what Donald Trump is saying and it should not be minimized. This isn’t just him complaining that he lost an election, all of the things that got said after November 3rd, 2020… now he’s willing to say this about other people’s elections and we are heading down a different path.

Well, that’s the right sentiment but it’s not a different path, it’s the same path just two years down the trail. Once elections become as malleable as Donald Trump prefers, where a guy can call someone up to “find” eleven thousand votes, both the spirit and definition of democracy are lost. That we see it playing out with one of Trump’s endorsements is simply a natural extension of where Trump wanted to be all along, destroying democracy in favor of authoritarianism, whether as ordered from Eastern Europe or just following his natural instinct.

The bigger problem for Republicans is that this is going to take two to three weeks to settle and leave some portion of the Pennsylvania GOP seething and fractured. Trump will do nothing between now and November but ensure that the destruction runs deeper, especially if there are still thousands of votes remaining to be counted and McCormick wins. The longer Trump is focused on Pennsylvania, the more impatient he remains, the angrier he becomes, all in a positive feedback loop. In addition to casting doubt on Pennsylvania’s GOP, it gives  Democrat John Fetterman a chance to do what he does best, travel the state talking to people about inflation, gas prices, formula, Ukraine, the minimum wage, and – most obviously, how to protect women’s autonomy.

The winds are blowing favorably for the GOP but the Senate map isn’t easy for them. If Democrats can pick up what was a red seat and turn it blue, it could literally serve as the 2022 version of Georgia, and don’t for a second think that McConnell and the RNC don’t know it.