Map of Georgia State in USA. Detail from the World Map.

A Republican’s Guide to Losing Georgia…

On election night 2016 I was riding home from a meeting near Macon, Georgia when Kellyanne Conway came on the radio and said the Trump campaign was feeling really good about Michigan. I literally chuckled, pointing out to my friend that Michigan was a reliably blue state. There was absolutely no way Trump would win Michigan. About that time my younger brother spoke up from the back seat, Trump was up by 4 points in the state.

We know now that Trump would go on to win Michigan, a seemingly impossible feat. It turns out voters in Michigan were hurting, they were tired of being ignored, and they were tired of business as usual in Washington. In 2008 and 2012 they bought into Obama’s hope and change, but that hope turned to doubt, and the change turned out to be more of the same. Voters were tired of the government ignoring their voice and lying to them, and Hillary’s untrustworthy establishment reputation was exactly what they did not want. So they voted for Donald Trump, even though more than 60% of the electorate believed he was not capable of doing the job. Voters were so fed up with Washington, more than 10% of them voted for a man they believed to be less than capable of doing the job.

There is a huge lesson here for Georgia republicans.

Georgians are becoming increasingly skeptical of Republican leadership. On the same day that Trump turned Michigan red, Georgia voters soundly rejected Nathan Deal’s signature education amendment. Voters feel betrayed by Deal’s vetoes on campus carry and RFRA. Deal helped usher in a watered down gun bill before his re-election effort, clearly to secure support from gun owners. He then stabbed them in the back, vetoing campus carry and reversing course on the religious liberties bill. Georgia voters are getting fed up, and Deal only has a 39% favorability rating. The state has a reputation for “good ole boy” politics, and the leadership in legislature isn’t helping the issue by reviving the casino gambling bill.

Georgians came out in droves against the bill, so much so that Senator Beach admitted he lacked the votes to get it out of committee. It turns out now that the legislature is using a little “jiggery-pokery”, in Justice Scalia’s words, to attempt to ram the bill through the House on the very last day before the cross-over deadline. It’s quite obvious now that it was all a ploy to try to pass the bill through the House quickly before grassroots efforts could block the legislation. Beach knew he couldn’t get the public support, so the legislature is maneuvering to get the bill through with limited public input.

This is exactly the dishonest, business as usual mindset that voters rejected in 2016. The Governor’s approval ratings are going down, and leadership seems intent on alienating voters as well. There is a mindset that Georgia republicans can ignore the will of the people as much as they want, because all sins are forgiven if there’s an “R” next to your name. That only works so many times. Georgians may not believe that democrats can fix our problems, just like Michiganders didn’t think Donald Trump could fix their problems, but eventually voters get so sick and tired of the status quo, they will take any change they can get. Continuing this path is the absolute perfect way to turn Georgia blue. Republicans need to grow up, be statesmen, and represent the people. The GOP should reject this bill in committee tomorrow and force Beach to gather enough public support to pass the bill without 11th hour tricks.  If your House rep is on the committee that’s handling this bill, please call or email and let them know what you think. The hearing begins Friday at noon.

Maxwell, Howard 404.656.5143
Harrell, Brett 404.463.3793
Hawkins, Lee 404.656.0213
Bennett, Karen 404.656.0202
Beskin, Beth 404.656.0254
Chandler, Joyce 404.656.0254
Cooke, Kevin 404.656.0188
Cooper, Sharon 404.656.5069
Deffenbaugh, John 404.656.0202
Golick, Rich 404.656.5943
Jones, Jan 404.656.5072
Kirby, Tom 404.656.0177
Martin, Chuck 404.656.5064
Mitchell, Billy 404.656.0126
Powell, Alan 404.463.3793
Rakestraw, Paulette 404.656.0177
Rogers, Terry 404.651.7737
Rutledge, Dale 404.656.0254
Stephens, Mickey 404.656.0265
Welch, Andrew J. 404.656.5912
Williams, Rick 404.656.0287

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About the author

Sam Thomas

Sam is a youth minister, writer, political activist, and an avid fly fisherman. He coaches debate at Clark Atlanta University where he was named the 2016-17 Georgia Parliamentary Debate Coach of the Year.

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