“The Principles of a free constitution are irrecoverably lost, when the legislative power is nominated by the executive.”
If you have the next couple of years to read it, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a very thoughtful postulation of why the first great Western empire eventually fell. To save you the lifetime it takes to punish yourself reading that gargantuan history, Edward Gibbons thought that Romans lost the civic commitment to the Roman state and its binding institutions. Empires, better to call them autocracies, tend to reflect the whims of the supreme leader. “Benevolent” dictators tend to keep the lights on; nimrods forget to pay the bill.
Fast forward to 2022 where a nascent imperator doles out his endorsements. Donald Trump endorsed Jake Evans in CD6. No surprise there considering his old man walked back every nice thing he’s said about his old BFF Governor Kemp to get it. Only took 9 months, too, but kudos to the Senior Evans and the Gentleman Planter from Virgina Newt Gingrich for finally making that happen at the end of the race…
…except it’s not quite the end of the race, is it? Trump, no doubt, helped write the elegy for Mandel in Ohio with his late endorsement of J.D. Vance. Ohio is a plurality State that doesn’t go to a second round of voting, so a mere 30% of the vote was enough to make sure J.D. adVANCEd (see what I did there) and not Mandel who had been leading most of the polls up to the end.
The endorsement may indeed help Evans the Younger secure a spot in the runoff, but Trump’s horses in Georgia are collectively looking shaky right now. He’s not going to parlay his picks into a winning ticket based on the “If I do this will you leave me alone?” level of energy in Perdue’s race, not to mention his picks for CD10 (the alleged serial sexual assaulter Vernon Jones), Attorney General (who?), and Insurance Commissioner (who?). The LG race is going to be a lot closer than the endorsement for Burt Jones might make it seem, and even dead man walkin’ Brad Raffensberger was leading a recent poll (although, it’s doubtful he can make it through the runoff).
This all speaks to a larger question: why seek out his endorsement if it isn’t going to help you win? The answer is a bit complicated. First, if you exist in a plurality State where a few points makes the world of difference, it is obvious the endorsement is worth its weight in gold. Given the media’s obsession with staying relevant, any endorsement which gets people to click on a news article will be made to seem that much grander in its importance. This is all the more important in runoff States like Georgia where four more weeks of clickbait can be written. More importantly, if you can when with only 3 out of every 10 primary voters, you just need something to differentiate you ever so slightly.
Second, candidates or their handlers are deluded enough to think they can replicate the energy and persona of a Trump campaign. Just look at this rally that was held in Georgia where he introduced his suicide squad of candidates. Patrick Witt talked about “woke insurance mandates.” John Gordon promised to prosecute the the lawbreakers involved in “stealing the election.” Perdue gave his typical half-assed speech to show he’s running down the clock. You expect Trump to go off on a rant – it’s his brand. It doesn’t come across the same way from two no-name turds recruited out of the bargain bin and a former Senator who ran just so Trump would stop harassing him in retirement.
We can’t be surprised a transparently transactional man is being transparently transactional. You can include Evans the Senior in that statement. It’s a sad statement on the state of affairs, though, when the former President of the Atlanta Young Republicans who ran meetings like #MeToo: A discussion to bridge differences chased the endorsement of a man who literally said he’d gently toss an ancestry test to Elizabeth Warren because it’s the MeToo generation.
It all goes back to the question with a slight addition – why seek out his endorsement if it isn’t going to help you win and make you alter your political DNA in the process? Prior to this campaign, Evans the Younger was a thoughtful conservative and seemed to enjoy challenging the typical doctrines of conservative thought. All this came despite his obvious ambition to attain the same level of prominence his father achieved. That isn’t to say he’s a liberal – far from it – but he is definitely not a populist (and neither is his old man). If you can’t stand up and be counted as yourself on the campaign trail, there is no way in hell you’ll be able to hold court with the most malleable muppet of them all, Kevin McCarthy.
In one recount of a Roman tale, a commoner during the reign of Caligula promised to take his own life if the emperor recovered from an illness. Sure enough, Caligula’s ailment passed and the man, as expected, dithered a bit realizing that the promises to end his own life was probably not a path to prosperity. However, Caligula would see the man’s word kept and gave him to his slaves to throw him from an embankment after parading him through the Roman streets. Such is the rule of “law” in a republic that has replaced its principles for the whims of a single man. Luckily for Evans the Younger, there is still a long way to go before Trump would potentially be inaugurated for the second time. If he does get to serve, take note. It’s a long drop from the top of the Capitol rotunda.