Even in an election year where standards of fair play seem to plummet with each passing day, Monday’s attack by Georgia’s U.S. senators marked a new low.
Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue called on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to resign, alleging that he had “failed the people of Georgia” and “failed to deliver honest and transparent elections.”
Those are shocking charges for this pair to level at the person — and the office — responsible for overseeing elections here. They’re even more stunning, given that Perdue and Loeffler fired their broadside against a fellow Republican — not that party affiliation should count when the integrity of a core democratic institution is under attack.
Perdue and Loeffler offered no specifics, at least not for the record. And that is what should make their campaign-speak attack message so unacceptable to fair-minded Georgians.
Specific, actionable allegations based even somewhat loosely in facts can be assessed and investigated. Which is appropriate.
Hyperbole and sly accusations cannot.
Reckless barely begins to touch on what Perdue and Loeffler have done. Without presenting reasons, they have assaulted Georgia’s election system. That is dangerous behavior in this tense moment, both for this state and for the nation that is watching this risky sideshow.
In past editorials, this newspaper has at times been critical of Raffensperger’s management of aspects of the elections system he is charged with overseeing. Too many election hardware glitches is one thing. It’s improperly far beyond that to allege that, under Raffensperger, Georgia “has failed to deliver honest” elections.
We’ve seen no evidence of that. In an Atlanta Journal-Constitution interview Monday, Raffensperger said, “What people really want at the end of the day — I think both sides should desire honest, fair elections. That’s what we’ve been working for.”
Today’s incessant partisan fighting has weakened our democracy’s systems and fed a now-rampant and corrosive distrust of government — and of each other. The latest low blows further erode the constitutional foundations of self-governance.
It’s frightening for freedom to envision a Georgia or America in which such stunts are quickly absorbed by many as near-gospel truth.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION