December 8, 2022 11:42 AM
I have a few thoughts about Tuesday’s runoff.
First, congratulations to our US Senator Raphael Warnock on his victory on Tuesday. I hope he has former President Donald Trump and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14) on his Christmas card list. He wouldn’t be our Senator without their help in 2020. Now on with my thoughts…
Trump and MTG Helped To Give Us 2 Democratic Senators: Then-President Donald Trump called into question the legitimacy of the 2020 election when he lost. Rather than conceding the race as an honorable person, he took a play from the Abrams playbook by insinuating that there was enough fraud in the election to cause Joe Biden to win the presidency. The message was loud and clear to Trump-aligned voters: You can’t trust the people who count the votes. Though Trump and Greene “urged” (half-heartedly) Republicans to turn out in the days leading up to the 2020 US Senate runoff, Republicans in GA-14 failed to turn out.
Dear GAGOP, Voters Do *NOT* Like Donald Trump or Trumpy Candidates: Most of the Trump-endorsed candidates lost in the Primary (see David Perdue and Jody Hice) or in the General (see Herschel Walker, Kari Lake, Mehmet Oz, Blake Masters, etc.). Thrice, voters have said “NO” to Donald Trump: in 2018, 2020, and now 2022. The critical thing to remember is that Republicans held onto the Senate in 2018 and held on to House seats in 2020. 2022 is the most potent message from voters: “we do not want Donald Trump or his wingnut allies running the country.” Georgia Republicans should internalize this message from now on–Donald Trump is a loser.
Candidate Quality Matters: This shouldn’t be a surprise, but Herschel Walker was an awful candidate. His domestic assault record, hypocrisy on abortion, and mental health concerns had to have been in the minds of Georgia voters. I think the mental health piece should have been a red flag for Republican Primary voters–would he have gotten into a heated argument with a fellow senator and disassociated and gotten violent? Who knows. That didn’t seem to be much of a concern as Republican voters accepted Walker as Trump’s anointed candidate. There were plenty of candidates to choose from who would have easily won against Senator Warnock, but Republicans chose poorly. We now get to live with that choice for at least six years.
Let’s Remember What Parties Are Supposed To Be: Political parties are vehicles to elect candidates. Like Charlie said in his piece, coalitions win elections. The MAGA coalition holding the GOP hostage since 2016 is a losing coalition. Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger earned ire from Trump for not rolling over at his command in 2020. Both soundly defeated primary and general election challengers to win re-election this year. The MAGA coalition isn’t as needed as they want you to believe.
Don’t Throw The Baby Out With The Bath Water: Some people like MAGA because they felt unheard by Republicans over the past few decades. Donald Trump made them feel heard and seen for the first time. Those voices should still be heard, and determine how to include them in a new Republican coalition.
Perhaps It’s Time To Clean House: The Georgia Republican Party doesn’t have much power within the state. It’s more of a social club that does politics part-time. However, its leadership, along with the Republican National Committee, is likely due for a shake-up. It’s time for RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel to be ousted. The same with the GAGOP–the current leadership has lost the electoral vote for the Republican nominee and both Senate seats while its leaders were proudly associating with fraudsters Lin Wood and Sidney Powell. The GAGOP Convention cycle is in 2023. Perhaps the state convention will elect more capable people (who say fewer dumb things) to lead the party as its state chairman and vice chairs.
It’s time to look forward. The Trump experiment has ended. It’s time to dispose of the leftover residue and see what Republicans need to do to win elections. The Trump administration did some good things, and the GOP can continue to capitalize and build on those things, but Trump himself has become toxic to the American electorate. It’s time to move on.