Some signs of a Trump-free Trumpism emerged on Tuesday.
The specter of a Trump-free GOP is hovering tremulously over the results of Georgia’s primaries this week. Governor Brian Kemp — the Orange Man’s true GOP nemesis — simply blew away his Trump-endorsed opponent by a staggering 50 points. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — a man critical to defending the integrity of Georgia’s elections in 2020 against Trump’s attempted sabotage — also won by almost 20 points against a Big Lie peddler. There was also encouraging news down the ballot:
Trump’s candidate for Georgia attorney general, John Gordon, won just about one-quarter of the GOP vote. Even Trump’s picks for wide-open House races lagged behind the competition: Vernon Jones, the self-proclaimed “Black Donald Trump,” finished second in Georgia’s 10th District primary and is headed to a runoff against Republican Mike Collins. Physician Rich McCormick held a 2-to-1 edge over his Trump-endorsed rival Jake Evans in the 6th District; that contest is also headed to a June runoff.
As the conservative pundit Erick Erickson, a Georgia Republican himself, puts it, “Georgia Republicans do like Trump, but they’re tired of his bullshit and want to move on.” Of course, Georgia may be a special case. This was the state that in 2020 witnessed more directly than any other state Trump’s preference for personal vendettas and loyalty over policy or party unity or anything, actually. But this is also the core truth about Trump — and if more widely believed in other states, it could begin to take a real toll. Chris Christie has honed a good line on this:
What we have to decide is: do we want to be the party of me or the party of us? What Donald Trump has advocated is for us to be the ‘party of me,’ that everything has to be about him and about his grievances.
And I can’t see how even many Trump voters would be able to disagree with that. Henry Olson notes:
An NBC News poll conducted in October 2020 showed that a majority of GOP voters said they supported Trump first over the party. Its May poll