There may be a part 2. I dunno. Haven’t decided yet. But there are so many examples to choose from to illustrate the growing and now obvious fissure between party activists and people who actually vote Republican that it seems like I should hedge my bets a little and call this part one. Like David Shafer, the Chairman of the Georgia GOP, recruiting candidates to run for office against sitting Republican incumbents. Or how a bunch of Goofballs, Rejects, and A-holes endorsed a slate of challengers that included a guy who slapped a grandmaw through her car window while she sat in a drive thru window at a burger joint.
Yeah. There’s going to definitely be a part 2.
But today we are going to zero in on a “poll” that was conducted via email by Brant Frost, the Second Vice Chairman of the Georgia GOP, that he titled the “2022 Georgia Republican Activists Straw Poll.” As an instrument for predicting the outcome, this poll overall was not at all in line with the results of the May 24th Primary. And so I figure it would be a useful exercise for those of us concerned with the direction of the party and its leadership to do a little comparison.
In an email announcing the results of this poll, Frost claimed that he, “asked over 3400 delegates and alternates to the 2021 Georgia Republican Convention found strong support for the Trump-endorsed slate of statewide candidates.” So let’s start by looking at the poll result for Governor compared with the primary result.
David Perdue 50.6%
Brian Kemp 31.6%
Kandiss Taylor 15.2%
Catherine Davis 2.4%
Tom Williams 0.3%
Brian Kemp 73.70%
David Perdue 21.79%
Kandiss Taylor 3.43%
Catherine Davis 0.81%
Tom Williams 0.27 %
That’s a 42.1 point difference between the sentiment of the party activists and the people who actually voted for Republicans. But wait, there’s more.
Patrick Witt 53.6
John King 38.1
Ben Cowart 8.3
John King 70.58% Patrick Witt 16.74% Ben Cowart 12.68%
A 32.48 point miss.
John Gordon 71%
Chris Carr 29%
Chris Carr 73.75%
John Gordon 26.25%
A 44.75 point miss.
And the coupe de grace can be found in the Secretary of State‘s race.
Jody Hice 67.6%
David Belle Isle 19.4%
T.J. Hudson 8.6%
Brad Raffensperger 4.4%
Brad Raffensperger 52.32% Jody Hice 33.38% David Belle Isle 8.85% T.J. Hudson 5.45%
A whopping 47.92 point miss.
At this point I want to thank Brant Frost for running his poll because without it we would not have the data to begin addressing a serious problem; the party activists do not represent the will of the party as a whole. And that is a dangerous place to be.
I have had several elected officials tell me that they no longer trust the party officials to act in a way that would actually help them get elected, which is party’s job. Or even worse, if they were to bring party leadership into the fold to discuss key challenges that those discussions would be used to later knife the electeds in the back. I have had community leaders from around the state tell me that they cannot attract everyday Republican voters to party events because they are chased away by the activist class, or that the everyday voter is embarrassed to be associated with the activists.
I know that by pointing this stuff out that I will face the potential for a lot of people to want to shoot the messenger. My days of running for office are over, but my party activism will never stop. And I have a keen desire to see my party reflect the values of the vast majority who actually vote Republican. I want for someone that shows up interested in getting involved to feel welcomed and identify with the people they see in the room.
And I am not one who usually points out a problem without offering a solution, so here are a few ideas to address the problem.
- If there is a party official at any level that cannot publicly and privately support a Republican nominee for any position, they are either removed or resign immediately.
- Unequivocally enforce rules which prohibit the Chairman of the party to engage in any type of favoritism.
- Disallow party officials from being officers or members of political groups that attempt to piggyback off the Republican name and exist outside of the official party structure.
None of those ideas are a silver bullet. But they do begin to address some of the roots of problems that have gone unaddressed for too long. It is clear that the activist community within the GAGOP do not have their finger on the pulse of the will of the Republican electorate as a whole. Which brings me to my last idea for party officials to adopt immediately; talk less, listen more.