Trumpist Perdue Seems Poised to Lose Georgia to Brian Kemp

Donald Trump is a happy man, despite the fact that the Republican midterm primary season for 2022 continues. The former president’s days since his defeat two Novembers ago have been tinged with a seething taste for vengeance: He has spent most of his time handing out his endorsement to any and all GOP office-seekers who might knock off those who refused to back his play when he tried to overthrow the government. With the midterm primaries under way, those tickets are due.

Trump did a good job last week. Many of his horses finished first across the country. This gives the impression that Trump is in control of the party and that his touch with the base remains Midas-like. However, not everything was perfect. There were some humiliating defeats mixed in with the victories.

Madison Cawthorn is a Trump-endorsed North Carolina Rep. who has a bright future on the Hot 100 Fascists tour. However, he became a one-man show. Animal House toga party seemingly overnight, losing his primary so decisively that he didn’t even qualify for a run-off. In bellwether Pennsylvania, Trump’s Senate pick — TV celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz — appears to be losing an exceedingly close count to his opponent, David McCormick. Trump was still alive Saturday evening. flipping out on his new social media platform — “ARE WE A THIRD WORLD NATION??? Are we becoming Venezuela (YES!).” — and on Sunday, he all but ordered Oz to declare victory and call it a day.

Trump has had a week to heal from the setbacks. Georgia Republicans will hold tomorrow’s primary, and Trump has never staked his reputation as a kingmaker more than in Georgia. Why? Because for Trump, Georgia has become The House of the Rising Sun: “It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy / and God, I know, I’m one…

Flashback to November 2021’s glorious mayhem: Joe Biden wins Georgia with about 12,000 votes. This makes him the first Democrat since God was a child to win the state. Forever labeled “The Republican president who lost bright-red Georgia,” Trump’s uncontained fury spun up several new octaves. His cries about the election being rigged were so motivating for the GOP base, that many of them stayed home in protest.

This provided enough of a margin for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock’s improbable dual victories that flipped control of the Senate away from the Republicans for the first time in years. Trump had just presiding over the worst election rout in history, and he did it by blaming Georgia.

Trump’s ire was specifically directed at Gov. Brian Kemp, a right-wing conservative straight out of central casting who nonetheless refused to push Trump’s stolen election narrative. Trump actively recruited David Perdue. Perdue was still recovering from his runoff defeat by Jon Ossoff. Trump tried to convince Perdue to run against Kemp, but he was resisted by his friends and advisers.

… and unless something truly seismic happens, come Tuesday night, Perdue is looking at a margin of defeat wide enough to sail the Sixth Fleet through. “Mr. Perdue is looking down on a devastating defeat at the hands Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican whom Mr. Trump has blamed for his 2020 loss more than any other person,” reports The New York Times. “The Perdue campaign is ending the race low on cash, with no ads on television and a candidate described even by his supporters as lackluster and distracted.”

Trump has deliberately put some daylight between himself, the rapidly dissolving Perdue and went so far as cancelling an event meant for his campaign. But everyone down in Georgia knows what this means: total humiliation for the former President. This one will be a huge, wide-reaching event if it happens as it seems.

Trump could be in for a lot of trouble if Georgia is a trend rather than an exception. After so many long years of servile obeisance, it appears at least some Republicans have decided it’s better to die on their feet. The Washington Post reports:

The RGA [Republican Governors Association] invested some $5 million in Georgia, according to a person familiar with the group’s outlays, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details. To protect Kemp, a parade has been assembled of prominent Republican governors. And former vice president Mike Pence, who once served as governor of Indiana, will appear with Kemp on Monday — setting the stage for Pence’s most direct confrontation yet against Trump in the midterms.

“This is just not the best use of our money. We would much rather use it just in races against Democrats,” said former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who is the co-chair of a 2022 fundraising arm for the RGA and described the November meeting in Phoenix to The Post. “But it was made necessary because Donald Trump decided on the vendetta tour this year and so we need to make sure we protect these folks who are the objects of his vengeance.”

Pence at a Kemp rally. I’d pay some long green to be in the room with Trump when he sees that number.

Still, all the schadenfreude in the world to be derived from watching Trump squirm doesn’t change the fact that Kemp continues to be horrible, and the enemies of our enemies are — as ever — not necessarily our friends.

This is an example. againFrom the Post: “In this year’s legislative session, Kemp has signed laws appealing to conservative voters on a variety of issues, including measures that permit the carrying of a firearm without a license, add restrictions on the teaching of race, history, gender and sexuality in classrooms, and ‘the toughest abortion bill in the country,’ in the governor’s words. The bill bans an abortion after a doctor can detect what they call ‘a fetal heartbeat in the womb,’ usually at about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.”

It’s nice to see Trump stepping on rakes in public, but if you’re a Democrat in Georgia, you probably wanted Perdue to pull this one out. Kemp is awful, Perdue is awful, they’re all awful … and waiting in the general election wings is Stacey Abrams, who would have likely found Perdue to be an easier opponent than Kemp.

For now, at least, that’s all in the wind. Always, always push back against Trump and his acolytes, but never forget that the only thing separating people like Trump from people like Kemp is Trump’s towering ego, and Kemp’s unwillingness to tell one lie. Not much daylight between.