YARBROUGH COLUMN: Could Republican internal warfare help Abrams become governor?

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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Donald Trump is on record as having stated that having Democrat Stacey Abrams as governor of the Peach State would be better than our current Gov. Brian Kemp. At a rally in Perry, Trump said, “Stacey, would you like to take his place? It’s OK with me.” She almost did in 2018, losing to Kemp by 1.4% out of 3.9 million votes cast. She just might succeed this time.

Abrams has announced that she will be running for governor in 2022. (No surprise.) Now Trump is saying, “I beat her (Abrams) single-handedly without much of a candidate in 2018. I’ll beat her again, but it will be hard to do with Brian Kemp, because the MAGA [Make America Great Again] base will just not vote for him what he did with respect to election integrity and two horribly run elections for President and then two Senate seats.”

Trump goes on to say, “But some good Republican will run, and some good Republican will get my endorsement, and some good Republican will WIN!”

Before you get out your partisan poison pens to jab me, let me pause and state my bona fides. I am one of the few columnists you will read that doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid of either party. I call ‘em like I see ‘em. And what I see right now is a highly organized Democratic Party in Georgia and a fractured and fractious Republican Party still obsessed over presidential election results that are not going to be overturned or changed. That train has left the station.

The late American pundit and philosopher Will Rogers once said, “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Were he around today, ol’ Will would be a Republican, for sure.

Republicans seem to have this innate inability to figure out who the enemy is. Hint: It is not each other. As I have mentioned in the past, I keep hearing the epitaph RINO (Republican in Name Only) hurled at Republicans by other Republicans but I never hear DINO uttered by Democrats.

So, here we are with a candidate who came within a hair’s breadth of winning in 2018 pitted against an incumbent Republican governor under siege by the “Fergit, Hell!” crowd.

Abrams, the darling of the national Democratic Party, will get boatloads of money from deep-pocketed out-of-state donors and fawning coverage from the national media and some local big city media.

Anybody with the sense of a sand gnat will see that keeping the governor’s office in Republican hands is going to be a challenge if Republicans don’t get past their internecine warfare.

So far, the GOP has four announced candidates for the office: Jonathan Garcia, a crew leader in a Cartersville carpet mill; Dr. Kandiss Taylor, a Baxley public school educator and former U.S. Senate candidate; one-time DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones and the incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. Rumors are that former U.S. Sen. David Perdue is considering whether or not to run. (Cue the denim jacket.) For the Democrats, there’s just one candidate: Stacey Abrams.

Donald Trump and his supporters seemed hellbent on bringing down Brian Kemp at the risk of rending asunder the Republican Party in Georgia by focusing on the past rather than the future. Speaking of the past, it might be helpful to remember that both of Georgia’s Republican incumbents in the U.S. Senate lost their reelection bids to political novice Democrats last year despite Trump’s backing. That seems to have been forgotten.

Trump wants to put the kibosh on Brian Kemp’s reelection chances even though our state’s revenue has grown by 13.5% this year, we have a rainy day surplus of almost $4.3 billion, unemployment is at an all-time low and for the eighth year in a row, Georgia has been named the Top State for Doing Business by Area Development magazine. For conservatives, he engineered a new voting rights bill and a bill banning early abortions. That deserves Republican punishment?

There is no question this is up-close-and-personal and not a little vindictive for Donald Trump and his followers and it could very well get us a liberal Democrat governor and the prospects of an expansion of social programs much as is happening these days in Washington under the Biden Administration. Not to mention an energized Woke crowd constantly taking us on a guilt trip for sins committed by past generations.

If that happens, Republicans will have reaped the whirlwind they have sown. And they will have deserved it.