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Reblogged:Can Brian Kemp Improve the GOP?

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The Associated Press has profiled Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp as someone who could lead the GOP into a post-Trump era.

Who? You might ask, but you'd do so primarily because one state over, Florida's Ron DeSantis stole the spotlight as the GOP's Big Winner in the midterms.

The AP correctly notes that, while Kemp's margin of victory was less gaudy that that of DeSantis, he won reelection decisively, has an impressive (by today's standards) list of accomplishments, political capital, and ... capital.

The bad and the good as I see it are that he is an anti-abortionist, but has survived butting heads with 2020's Sore Loser without alienating the part of the electorate that fancies Trump:
Image by the Office of U.S. Senator David Perdue, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain
In his first term, Kemp logged some big conservative achievements, including signing stringent abortion limits in 2019. He also made a diverse slate of appointments and kept his promise of $5,000 raises for public school teachers, moves aimed at solidifying his appeal to the middle in an anticipated Abrams rematch.

Kemp's relationship with Trump began to deteriorate after the governor appointed Kelly Loeffler to the Senate instead of Trump's preferred pick. Trump later took shots at Kemp over his decision to reopen businesses early in the COVID-19 pandemic, and the president's rage boiled over when Kemp refused to help Trump and his allies overturn Joe Biden's narrow victory in Georgia in the 2020 election -- efforts that are now the subject of investigations by state and federal prosecutors. [links omitted, bold added]
For all his problems, I think DeSantis would be an improvement over Trump, but he's known as Trump without the baggage for a reason, and his independence from Trump hasn't really been tested, aside possibly his decision to "reopen" early during the pandemic.

Kemp has been tested repeatedly, and clearly has a spine.

I could not support Kemp over abortion, but he seems to lack the authoritarian tendencies of DeSantis and so seems more palatable. I can imagine hoping he'd rise enough to restore some semblance of sanity to the GOP. That's much more a reflection of how badly Trump has gutted the Republicans than any excitement on my part, and I reserve the right to change my mind in the future.

-- CAV

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