The hot and boring Jon Ossoff has captured the attention and, most importantly, the money of liberals across the country. He’s raised $8 million for his special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, and, if he wins the ballot on Tuesday, it will be a major coup for Democrats. Ossoff is young, but he’s also essentially a replacement-level Democrat. He maintains a centrist profile and goes to great lengths to not upset voters to the left or right of him. His blank slate-iness makes him something of a perfect marker for Democratic performance.
Still, as my colleague Graham Vyse wrote, the race is very much a state-oriented special election, and will likely not tell us very much about the state of the #resistance. Similarly, it’s highly unlikely that Ossoff will clear the 50 percent +1 hurdle needed to win the race outright, meaning it will move on to a runoff in June—and Ossoff’s chance of winning that runoff are not very good.
But liberals aren’t the only people paying attention. Donald Trump has suddenly become very invested in the race for Tom Price’s former seat in Congress.
These tweets reflect the gradual diminishment of Trump’s political instincts since assuming the presidency. They are ham-fisted recitations of standard Republican talking points: Taxes bad! Crime bad! But they also raise an interesting question. As we head toward 2018, assuming that Trump is nearly as unpopular as he is now, will he be able to stay away from contentious races?
These tweets arguably do as much to get out the vote for Jon Ossoff as they do for Ossoff’s Republican challengers, whom Trump does not name. Twitter was a pretty nascent medium during the Great Democratic Purge of 2010, when Barack Obama had the good sense to stay away from nearly every race. But Trump, it seems, will not have the discipline—and telling him to stay away will only hurt his ego.