I always thought that the David Purdue race for governor in Georgia would be an uphill battle. Trump’s endorsement has a lot of power, and his record is outstanding. Still, it would be a stretch in Georgia to beat the incumbent Brian Kemp for many of the same reasons it was going to be hard to beat the establishment RINO Mike DeWine in Ohio. It’s hard to beat an incumbent for one because they have the power of the office to run from. And it takes a real organized effort to knock someone off the top of the mountain, and David Purdue didn’t have that. Trump’s endorsement was a revenge pick, more than a practical one, and down the stretch, the money didn’t line up with the passion. If Trump didn’t have a personal vendetta against Kemp, he likely wouldn’t have put his name behind Purdue. David Purdue never was able to define his campaign as anything other than fighting election fraud, and voters in Georgia were obviously looking for something to vote for, not against. There’s a lot of funny business regarding elections in Georgia. Still, as I said leading up to the primary election, the establishment types were betting everything they had on Georgia, so it would be tough to do anything there. In many ways, I would point to this circumstance and remind everyone not to take anything for granted when it comes to the general elections in the fall. The SWAMP is not going to go quietly in the night. They have everything to lose and will fight to keep it; whether it’s money, cheating, lying, stealing, whatever they have to do, they will do it. And it will take more than what David Purdue put forth in Georgia to beat them.
The media was all too happy to underline the loss of Trump’s endorsement. They ignored all the other wins he has had, which was to be expected. The Never Trumper types are hoping this means that the Trump brand is damaged forever and that they might be able to put up Mike Pence, someone from the Trump administration but isn’t Trump. To me, it’s obviously wishful thinking. David Purdue was never for what Trump is and always acted as a person drug into the race to challenge Kemp rather than someone who was passionate about winning. So the Trump endorsement has its limits. Trump can afford to swing for the fences, and he does. That has given him more home runs than not, so the essence of the Kemp win isn’t so much a strikeout but rather the affordability that Trump has to take risks on candidates that might not otherwise have a chance. Obviously, voters liked Kemp in Georgia and needed more to take a turn from him. They needed more than election fraud to drive their passions.
Yet there is a more sinister tone to the haughty banter after the Kemp win, the hope by the media and Never Trumper types that election fraud was not something that voters cared about. Purdue made it a one-issue race, and after the primary election, it’s clear that voters wanted more than that. Election fraud is hard for people to admit to, like acknowledging that a loved one is an alcoholic or that a spouse is cheating on you. Mainstreamers want to believe that they can vote and that it will be counted honestly so they can return to their lives without worrying about it. So there is a natural reluctance to put the thought out of their heads. While most believe there was election fraud in the 2020 election, they don’t want to live with the knowledge that it will require them to do something more severe, like scrutinizing those who count the votes. They want to believe that Brian Kemp is a good person because to admit otherwise will require work on their part that they aren’t willing to commit to. People are prone to ignore an injustice if it means they can live in peace. And obviously, there are many in the Beltway culture, Mike Pence included, who are counting on that timidity to allow them to stay relevant in the political world. It should be remembered that Trump picked Pence to be his Vice President because he wanted to drive a wedge into the Never Trumpers, to begin with, to put one in his administration. Trump did that with a lot of people because he thought the strength of his personality could convert them over to justice. I would say that, for the most part, Trump significantly improved the conditions around him. Still, he was never going to be able to use his sizeable positive personality to change the behavior of those who insist on keeping their minds below the line.
The hatred for Trump is to hate the concept of Making America Great Again. Instead, the Never Trumpers, including Mike Pence, believe more in the survival of institutions rather than in reshaping them for positive outcomes. So it wasn’t a loss for Trump that David Purdue never could get that message across. If it had been Trump running, the priorities would have been different during the campaign. Trump would have been “for” things rather than just stating that he would fight election fraud, which few people want to admit is a problem, especially those who have committed it to preserve institutional power. MAGA is powerful as a movement, but you can’t use it as a golf ball driver when you really need a short putt. You might still be able to make the shot, but it’s not the best tool to use. In truth, Georgia, in the decertification process, isn’t needed. There is plenty of criminal conduct already proven in Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, with governors who will get behind the decertification movement. Georgia was the last refuge of the Never Trumpers, and we learned a lot by watching them in this primary race.
In many ways, watching all the anti-Trump forces spike the football over the Kemp win is like a football game where the losing team has been down 60 to 0, and they get a field goal at the end of the game. The crowd cheers because there is something to be happy about, but they will still lose the game. The disappointment for the MAGA voters is that they wanted the shutout. They wanted as much of a perfect record for Trump as possible. But, Trump is willing to take chances. He does not play it safe. And as a result, sometimes there will be misses. Trump has playing golf seven holes in one, and you get that by hitting the ball hard and trying to skip all the little putts that get you to the green by hitting over the obstacles or through them. Sometimes that means that the ball will go into the rough. But if you play it safe, as many people do, you won’t get those holes in one. So by force of personality, Trump has an excellent win ratio. He can afford a David Purdue here and there, and all it means to the political world is that the Trump brand is so strong that he can take risks others can’t afford to. It doesn’t mean that the Never Trumpers will start winning, and MAGA is on the decline.