Journalist explains why it’s ‘important’ for David Perdue to suffer a ‘humiliating’ defeat in Georgia

Journalist explains why it’s ‘important’ for David Perdue to suffer a ‘humiliating’ defeat in Georgia
David Perdue in 2016, Wikimedia Commons

If the polls of Georgia’s GOP gubernatorial race are accurate, Gov. Brian Kemp’s challenger, former Sen. David Perdue, is heading for a colossal defeat on Tuesday, May 24. A Fox News poll released on May 18 found incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp leading Perdue — who former President Donald Trump has endorsed — by 32%.

Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, in his May 24 column, is hoping that Kemp crushes Perdue in the primary. And he lays out some reasons why it’s “important” for Perdue to not only lose to Kemp, but for the defeat to be downright “humiliating.”

Perdue has been campaigning on the Big Lie, clinging to the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump — a claim that Kemp has rejected. Although Kemp often attacks President Joe Biden from a policy standpoint, he acknowledges that he won Georgia fairly.

“If David Perdue’s challenge to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp fails Tuesday, it will show that you don’t have to embrace Trumpian insurrectionism to compete in GOP primaries,” Sargent argues. “That would be welcome: Perdue’s candidacy is built on the idea that Kemp’s refusal to help Donald Trump steal the 2020 election was a massive betrayal, an absurdity that merits the most dramatic humiliation possible.”

Sargent continues, “But the looming shaming of Perdue is important for another reason. If he loses decisively, as is widely expected, this will also suggest that a certain type of Trumpist culture-war politics has its limits at a time when that sort of politics is metastasizing in a virulent and ugly new way.”

Sargent adds that if Perdue loses as badly to Kemp as the polls are showing, it will be a “well-deserved humiliation” for an “extraordinarily cynical exercise in this kind of Trumpist politics.”

During a campaign event near Athens, Georgia on Saturday, May 21, Kemp avoided sounding too cocky about his substantial lead over Perdue in the polls — telling the crowd, “Don’t believe the polls.” But CNN’s Michael Warren, covering that event, emphasized that Kemp had a lot more to say about Democrat Stacey Abrams than he did about Perdue. Abrams, unchallenged, is the presumptive nominee on the Democratic side, and she narrowly lost to Kemp in Georgia’s gubernatorial race of 2018.

Kemp, Warren noted, “name-checked Abrams half a dozen times” at the May 21 gathering and “has stopped even mentioning Perdue.”

Kemp told the crowd, “Be excited about the momentum, but use that to encourage you even more to leave no doubt on Tuesday. And then, on Wednesday, we will all unite on the mission to make sure that Stacey Abrams is not going to be our governor or our next president.”

The “president” part of Kemp’s speech is important, as it indicates that Kemp not only views Abrams as his presumptive challenger in Georgia’s gubernatorial race, but as someone who could be the Democratic Party’s first post-Biden presidential nominee. Although Kemp was urging the crowd to keep Abrams from becoming governor of Georgia, he was also saying that he thinks she has enough political savvy to run for president in the future.

Kemp was attacking Abrams from a policy standpoint at that rally, but politically, he was also saying: Don’t underestimate her.

In his Washington Post column, Sargent notes that the “ugly politicking” of Perdue’s seemingly doomed campaign goes beyond promoting the Big Lie — Perdue has also “attacked Kemp for supporting the construction of an electric vehicle factory in rural Georgia” and slammed the company involved, Rivian, as a “George Soros-owned woke corporation.”

“Perdue’s attack on Rivian as ‘woke’ appears to be based on its manufacture of electric vehicles,” Sargent observes. “As Perdue recently sneered, ‘It’s a woke California company whose mission is to turn the world green.’ To simply bank on voters reading concern about climate change as inherently unacceptable ‘wokeness’ demonstrates an almost boundless contempt for them. The mere act of demonstrating such concern is getting transformed into yet another cultural signifier…. One has to hope Perdue is decisively defeated.”


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