Well, the people have spoken. Sort of.
Several major elections this week, and the big story was Georgia. The race Donald Trump certainly seemed to care about most was a Republican primary there involving his enemy Gov. Brian Kemp.
Trump, as the world knows, hates hates hates Kemp for insisting on reporting the accurate results of Georgia’s voting in the 2020 presidential race. The rancor runs so deep that Trump’s Save America PAC actually coughed up at least $500,000 toward Kemp’s defeat.
Normally, our ex-president sits on his cash like a nesting hen. Must have tugged at his heartstrings to see it being carted away. And to no avail, hehehehehehe. Trump recruited former Senator David Perdue to run against his enemy, and Kemp demolished Perdue by more than three to one.
Same story with Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, who Trump told to “find 11,780 votes” after the presidential election and give him the win. Didn’t happen! Yet this week, Raffensperger did so well with Georgia Republican voters that he’s not even going to face a primary runoff.
If you’ve got an optimistic nature, here’s a spin you can put on the whole story: Tuesday’s results showed regular Republicans aren’t all still steaming about how the 2020 presidential election was stolen from their man. And they’re not all going to the polls to get revenge.
They’re ready to — dare I say it? — move on. No better example than Mike Pence. “I was for Brian Kemp before it was cool,” the former vice president told a crowd near Atlanta.
Yes, he really said that. It will be remembered as yet another sign of the wrecked relationship between Trump and his former No. 2. It was also perhaps the only moment in American history when Mike Pence was linked with the word “cool.”
OK, that’s enough voter happiness. Back down to Planet Earth. The newly reaffirmed Governor Kemp announced on Tuesday that he and his family were “heartbroken” by the “incomprehensible” school shooting in Texas.
Now, Kemp recently signed a bill that will allow Georgians to carry handguns in public pretty much whenever they feel like it — no license or background check required. You’d think — at least wish — that he’d consider a possible link between the wide, wide availability of firearms in this country and the tragic line of mass shooting deaths. Anything can make a difference.
Compared with the elementary school shooting in Texas, everything else about this week will be a political footnote. But some of the footnotes are certainly interesting. If we want to pick a theme for Tuesday’s elections, it might be that Donald Trump’s influence isn’t nearly as strong as he thinks it is, and that he may be the only American voter whose chief preoccupation is revisiting the 2020 election on an hourly basis.
Getting over it is something Trump can’t abide. Consider the primary in Alabama for a Republican Senate candidate. Perhaps you remember — if you’re very, very, very into elections — that Trump began by backing Representative Mo Brooks, then changed his mind and unendorsed him? Cynics believed Trump had just decided Brooks was a loser, but it’s also possible the congressman had offended our former president by urging voters to “look forward.”
That’s the wrong direction to mention when you’re hanging out with the Trump camp.
“Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 presidential election scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you,’” Trump said as he retracted his endorsement.
The outcome of all this drama was that Brooks got less than a third of the vote, behind Katie Britt, the former chief of staff of retiring Senator Richard Shelby. Since Britt failed to get 50 percent, there will be a runoff. Winner will face Democratic nominee Will Boyd this fall.
One addendum — which you should really skip over if you’re feeling even modestly depressed: Both Britt and Brooks are in the gun camp as deep as humanly possible. Britt has ads in which she’s aiming a rifle and promising to “shoot straight.” The N.R.A., which endorsed Brooks, praised his efforts to protect “interstate transportation of firearms.” Those of us in states that are desperately trying to keep gun proliferation under control would appreciate it if he focused his energies on something else.
Trump’s biggest election night triumph may have been Herschel Walker, the former football player he backed for a Georgia Senate nomination. But Walker’s competition wasn’t exactly top-notch, and now he’ll be running against Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who will probably take note of a few items on Walker’s résumé that Trump overlooked. Including allegations of domestic violence, refusal to take part in debates, and the day on the campaign trail when Walker expressed doubt about the theory of evolution. (If it were true, Walker mused, “Why are there still apes? Think about it.”)
On the plus side, there was Walker’s eagerness to spend $200,000 entertaining people at Mar-a-Lago. Nothing, it appears, raises the former president’s enthusiasm for a candidate like a willingness to make Donald Trump wealthier.
All told, reporters found that seven of the Republicans Trump endorsed this year spent a total of more than $400,000 in campaign money at the resort. So yeah, our ex-president lost a lot politically this election season. But he gained a chunk of cash.
Maybe he’ll use some of it for tips when he speaks on Friday at the N.R.A.’s three-day convention in Houston.
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