(LifeSiteNews) – With the first few rounds of midterm primaries behind us, the American electorate is starting to give us a clearer picture, piece by piece, of where the country and, more specifically, both parties currently stand as we continue our nationwide march towards November.
And if those results have made any definitive statement thus far, it’s that President Donald J. Trump, for all the insistent forecasts that the GOP would simply “move on” from MAGA after he left office, still holds an outsized degree of influence over the Republican Party, its policies, and its people – perhaps even more so than he did from the White House.
With nominations at stake for federal and state positions alike, ten states – including Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania – have already held primaries to determine the parties’ standard bearers in the upcoming general elections. (In other cases, two candidates with the highest plurality of votes have advanced to winner-take-all runoff elections over the summer).
In these races, Trump issued a total of 85 endorsements. His preferred candidate has prevailed in 76 of them.
The fate of another six has yet to be determined: Five face a second round of voting (all in Texas, where runoffs are being held today), and one faces a legally-mandated recount (Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, who currently holds a razor-thin lead over hedge fund chief Dave McCormick in the Keystone State’s GOP Senate primary, which should’ve been decided a week ago if state officials had their act together).
Only three have lost outright.
This near-perfect record affirms not only the innate potency of Trump’s personal backing, which may well prove the most powerful endorsement in modern political history, but also his continuing popularity among the Republican Party’s base.
Whether you attribute this solely to Biden’s staggering record of ineptitude, or rather Trump’s own ability to mobilize his supporters with the press of a button (one which now reads Truth instead of Tweet), one simply cannot deny that scoring the 45th president’s “complete and total endorsement” is often the equivalent of unwrapping a Wonka Bar to discover your own golden ticket – one that leads, far more often than not, to a primary victory.
But lingering questions still remain about whether Trump’s practically flawless record can be sustained going into future primaries where a race’s fundamentals are inherently different from those whose outcomes have already been decided, and what, exactly, could cause a subset of voters in agreement with the America First agenda to reject a candidate who’s formally aligned with it.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has told Nancy Pelosi, a pro-abortion Democrat, not to present herself for Holy Communion.
The archbishop is doing this to not only protect our Lord from sacrilege, but also to call Nancy Pelosi to repent from the grave sin of promoting abortion and from the sacrilegious communions that follow.
Archbishop Cordileone will now encounter sustained pressure to roll-back his decision, so we must stand with him today.
SIGN and SHARE this petition to stand with Archbishop Corileone as protects our Lord and Nancy Pelosi from further sacrilegious communions.
The Eucharist is the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ and no Catholic who has committed a mortal sin is to receive Holy Communion until confessing that sin in the Sacrament of Confession.
Nancy Pelosi's soul is in grave danger, not least because of sacrilegious communions as she continues a career-long crusade in support of killing unborn babies, and so the archbishop has done the most charitable thing possible in calling her to repentance and barring her from Holy Communion until she repents.
We must stand with this brave shepherd today, whom the people of San Francisco are lucky to call their archbishop.
SIGN the petition to support Archbishop Cordileone's brave defense of Our Lord in the Eucharist.
Pelosi said in March that that abortion “isn’t about what is your religious belief” and that “this really gets me burned up, in case you didn’t notice, because, again, I’m very Catholic – devout, practicing, all of that. They would like to throw me out, but I’m not going,” she joked, “because I don’t want to make their day."
What she doesn't understand is that her soul is at risk because of her support for spilling the innocent blood of unborn babies.
In a letter last month to Pelosi, Archbishop Cordileone made clear that “should you [Pelosi] not [publicly] repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
In announcing that the Speaker of the House is barred from Holy Communion, Cordileone made clear that he "will continue to offer up prayer and fasting for you [Pelosi].”
This is the heart of a true shepherd - Cordileone is a father willing to undergo all manner of insults and ridicule from the media and lukewarm Catholics in order to call one of his flock back to the fold.
SIGN the petition today to stand with Archbishop Cordileone as he faces into a storm of criticism.
The Trump-Kemp feud
No other state seems more poised to shed early light on these subjects than the recently-anointed battleground of Georgia, where incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp, a political enemy of Trump once considered imminently vulnerable to any challenger he may have backed, seems well positioned for a comfortable victory in today’s primary election, even after angering the MAGA base with his laissez-faire response to allegations of voter fraud in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election.
The current RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Kemp trouncing former U.S. Senator David Perdue, who won Trump’s endorsement back in February, 56-33% – a brutal margin for what was once considered a competitive race for the heart and soul of the Republican Party not only in the Peach State, but in a demographically fluid deep south, as well.
So, what changed? To understand the dynamics of this current primary, one must first understand the history behind Trump and Kemp’s now deeply fraught relationship.
When Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State at the time, first ran for governor in 2018, he placed second in the Republican primary to Casey Cagle, the state’s lieutenant governor. Since neither won more than 50% of the vote outright, both men advanced to a runoff, where Kemp, widely considered the less establishment-friendly choice, won the backing of Trump, who called him “tough on crime” and “strong on the border and illegal immigration,” just six days before the second round of voting.
He went on to capture 69% of the vote and 157 of Georgia’s 159 counties, setting up a November showdown against the ascendant former State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, a far-left progressive backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders seeking to become the country’s first black female governor.
During the general election, Kemp was chastised by the left for refusing to resign his position as the head of Georgia’s State Department, which left him responsible for overseeing the administration of Georgia’s gubernatorial election while he, himself, was a candidate, and, in turn, presenting a potential conflict of interest. Additionally, Abrams sought to define Kemp as a perpetrator of voter suppression and disenfranchisement efforts over the course of his tenure, citing his purging of more than 1.4 million inactive voters – 668,000 in 2017 alone, the year before the election – from voter rolls during his eight years in office. Kemp countered Abrams’ accusations, claiming that such actions were necessary for proper “voter roll maintenance.”
However, just weeks before the election in November, Kemp’s agency placed 53,000 voter registration applications on hold as they worked through the state’s verification process, which requires information on new applicants to match other identifying information already on file with state agencies. Nonetheless, this gave the identity-obsessed Abrams a new line of attack since 70% of those new registrations belonged to black Georgians, disregarding the fact that those individuals still would have been able to vote by presenting proper photo identification at their polling place – a requirement already mandated by law for anyone seeking to vote in the first place.
Even so, Kemp went on to win the governorship by 54,723 votes, making 2018, with a deciding margin of 1.4%, the closest gubernatorial election in red-leaning Georgia since 1994 – still a feather in Trump’s cap during an expectedly unfavorable midterm cycle for Republicans in general.
But despite governing as a conservative throughout his first term on issues ranging from abortion (Kemp signed a heartbeat bill in 2019 that was later struck down by courts) to Covid-19 (Kemp prohibited Georgia counties and cities from implementing mask mandates), the now-governor, who’d maintained a fairly stable relationship with Trump after taking office, managed to win his former ally’s ire in the chaotic aftermath of the 2020 election, which saw Joe Biden claim a 11,799 vote victory over Trump in Georgia despite numerous allegations of fraud and irregularities in the state, many of which seem to have been vindicated with the recent release of the investigative documentary 2000 Mules, alone.
Kemp, who once took an aggressively proactive stand against potential openings for fraudulent activity as the primary overseer of Georgia’s elections, refused to a halt the certification of the state’s dubious results in 2020, in the process shattering his rapport with Trump, who would even go so far as to demand Kemp’s resignation.
Trump would later state his personal regret for effectively launching Kemp’s gubernatorial career with his 2018 endorsement, lamenting that doing so “hurt” the Republican Party in both the short-term and long term: Democrats – with the instrumental assistance of Stacey Abrams, who, in the two years since her loss to Kemp, managed to register 800,000 new voters by way of her New Georgia Project – managed to flip not one, but both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats in a duo of general election runoffs that took place in the heat of the Trump/Kemp feud, giving Democrats a majority in the chamber for the first time in six years and firmly cementing Georgia’s newfound status as a political battleground.
This also made Kemp, facing re-election in 2022, a foremost target of Trump’s inevitable, forthcoming midterm operation, which would see the 45th president not only reward loyal allies with his backing in their pursuits of re-election or new offices, but also stake ballot box revenge on those he believed betrayed him.
First to mount a formal challenge against Kemp in the upcoming election was Vernon Jones, a former Democrat state legislator who publicly backed Trump’s re-election in 2020 and would go on to switch parties shortly thereafter, but several personal controversies kept his campaign from picking up steam.
Perdue steps in
With Trump’s backing out of the gate, the better-known and better-funded former U.S. Senator David Perdue entered the fray in December of 2021, effectively knocking Jones out of the race and setting up a one-on-one showdown with Kemp, which the former president had been angling for since his initial falling-out with the governor more than a year earlier.
A natural ally of Trump’s (he voted with the former president’s agenda 94% of the time during his term, and his cousin Sonny, a former Georgia governor himself, was Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture), Perdue may well have his own bone to pick with Kemp’s lackadaisical response allegations of fraud: He was one of the Republican Senators who lost their seats during the Georgia runoff fiasco of January 2021.
As a result, Perdue, like Trump, remained critical of Kemp’s post-2020 response, or lack thereof, and stated in an interview with Axios just two days after announcing his 2022 bid that, had he been governor at the time, he would not have certified Georgia’s results as Kemp did.
“Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now,” he confirmed. “They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated, and that’s all we were asking for.”
Likewise, Perdue has also advocated for the creation of an Election Law Enforcement Division in the state of Georgia, modeled after a similar proposal made by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, which would be responsible for “enforcing election laws, investigating election crimes and fraud, and arresting those who commit these offenses.” He has also called for all future election results in the state to be independently audited prior to their certification.
This focus on election integrity, clearly deployed to draw a sharp contrast between Kemp and Perdue, would seem, at least on paper, to be the driving force behind a generally competitive matchup between the two men – both established political figures in their own right, one with the inherent advantage of incumbency on his side and the other boasting the influential MAGA stamp of approval.
The Biden effect?
But, with votes being cast as we speak, the Georgia gubernatorial primary doesn’t seem as competitive as many had assumed.
As mentioned earlier, the RealClearPolitics average of polls currently suggests that Kemp is on the rise and Perdue is all but fading out of contention altogether; even more significantly, two polls released in the last 48 hours alone have shown the incumbent not only attaining more than 50% of the vote – the margin needed to avoid a runoff – but hitting 60% instead, despite Trump’s intervention(s) on behalf of his opponent.
Does this mean Trump is losing his touch?
Not exactly. A recent survey of likely Republican primary voters conducted by the University of Georgia found that candidates who had Trump’s endorsement were far more likely to be picked by participants if, in fact, they were made aware of this fact at the outset. For instance, when asked about the primary for lieutenant governor, Trump-backed State Senator Burt Jones polled at 29.7% among the first group of participants who were not informed of the endorsement; among the group that was, Jones saw his support nearly double to 58.9%.
This trend continued in down-ballot races that have generally received less coverage and feature less familiar candidates. But when it came to the gubernatorial primary, Perdue’s support between the two groups only increased marginally from 37.2% to 39.2%, whereas Kemp held mostly steady at 47.9% and 46.2%.
So then why, exactly, is the Trump effect not working for Perdue (and against Kemp)?
It’s reasonable to presume that, for as sour as most Republicans may be about the outcome of the 2020 election and the mishandling of its administration in states beyond just Georgia, voters find themselves more consumed – on a daily basis, no less – by the almost transcendent failures of the Biden administration, which, after a year and a half, is playing a far more present and formative role in the construction of not only their present political priorities, but also their general ability to make a living, provide for their families, and pay their bills.
Republicans rally against radical Stacey Abrams
While, yes, the vast majority of Republican voters in Georgia and across the country still seem poised to embrace a Trump comeback at the federal level in 2024, they face a more immediate threat to their everyday lives at the state level in 2022: Stacey Abrams, who, after building the most effective get-out-the-vote operation in Georgia history, is currently forging a comeback bid of her own, and, with no primary opponent to divert her focus, has had the luxury of building her massive political machine without interruption since entering the race six months ago (and, if we’re being honest, well before then, too).
Because of this, conservatives have their sights set on Abrams, who finds herself to the left of Biden, as a prospective governor more so than current governor.
This has where Kemp has been most successful in constructing a rationale for his renomination, if not his re-election: Convincing Republican primary voters that he’s the candidate best suited to defeat Abrams in November simply because he’s already done it once before.
Additionally, Kemp took advantage of the uproar over his poor handling of the 2020 election by pushing for and signing legislation back in March of 2021 that would place new limits on absentee voting, require those who vote by mail to provide a form of identification along with their ballot, ban the mailing of unsolicited ballot applications by government and private entities, cap the number of drop boxes, and give elected lawmakers greater authority over election administration in light of the Department of State’s array of shortcomings.
In its final days, the race has been more contentious than ever: Trump, who held a rally in support of Perdue in Valdosta back in March, was accused of “giving up” on Perdue according to three unnamed Republican sources cited in a story published by NBC, but fired back at the assertion, claiming that it was “completely FALSE” and that he was “with David all the way because Brian Kemp was the WORST Governor in the Country on Election Integrity.”
He went on to participate in a tele-rally for Perdue yesterday.
Kemp, on the other hand, was joined by former Vice President Mike Pence in Kennesaw, marking his clearest break yet from the president he used to serve under, and casting an increasingly dark shadow over the two men’s formerly cordial personal and professional relationships.
And now, as we enter the early hours of primary day, with the once-vulnerable Kemp on the verge of a larger-than-expected victory and Perdue, nearly broke (or just unwilling to spend his own money) and without a single television ad run in more than a week, set to lose his second election in sixteen months, Trump faces the first truly significant letdown of the 2022 midterm elections.
As I see it, Kemp’s impending victory will be more circumstantial than it is indicative of a greater shift in the tides of this very specific political moment, and will say more about a Republican electorate desperate to defeat a destructive but formidable radical in the general election than it does about the former president and the influence he enjoys among a base that still proudly dons red hats, even as they enter the voting both to pull the level for a guy he really can’t stand.
Nevertheless, I warn you: The media will use a Perdue loss to paint the man with a 76-3, now potentially 76-4, record as “the biggest loser of the night.”
(Watch for that phrase…)
And while Georgians may not necessarily want to move on, per se, from the issues that plagued 2020, they do appear ready to move forward on a path they’ve charted largely on their own – for better or worse.