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Here Comes the Deportation Bus

A gubernatorial candidate in Georgia is trying to get some last minute buzz for his campaign.

Michael Williams, running for Governor in Georgia, has a very compelling story as a small businessman who struggled through hard times and became very successful. For reasons I cannot fathom, he decided not to run as that candidate. Instead, he decided to run as mini-Trump staging protests as local high schools, etc. It has certainly gotten him a strong core of support, but remember that Georgia's biggest counties all turned out for Rubio in the 2016 primary.

Likewise, Williams was not able to corner the market on being Trump's number one supporter. It got him Roger Stone's endorsement, but not Trump's. Other candidates in the race, including Secretary of State Brian Kemp, have been able to cut into Williams' pro-Trump turf.

So now Williams is out to up the game in the days leading up to the May 22nd primary. He has a "deportation bus" he's going to be traveling the state with. I assume his campaign thinks it will get him attention. It may. But, again, the major metro counties in Georgia went Rubio and the Trump brand even in the 6th congressional district, a highly Republican district, hurt Republican candidates in that special election. I think it was a strategic error to go full Trump, but we will find out on Tuesday.

Jeff Flake says that the reason he decided not to run again was because he knew he couldn't win because the polling of the Republican primary electorate showed that the #1 issue for Republican primary voters was the candidate's allegiance to Trump.

If the polling is similar in Georgia, this politician is just following the numbers, nothing more.

"remember that Georgia's biggest counties all turned out for Rubio in the 2016 primary."

And if you look at the general election, it is worth keeping in mind that Hillary Clinton became the first Democrat in living memory to win Cobb, Gwinnett and Henry Counties.

These three rapidly growing metro Atlanta counties have a combined population of 1.8 million+ people. The GOP needs to look forward and find ways to woo these people -- not look back in anger like Trump, Michael Williams & co are doing.

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@JaneKMiller

Being the Trumpiest doesn't make a person successful though. I think the answer to that is more a negative, or a litmus test than it is measuring stick. What I mean by that is that Flake is openly hostile to Trump. For those voters, he fails that litmus test and will not be supported. By that measure, he has probably already written off over half of the GOP primary electorate. That what happens when a person despises Trump so much, he resorts to attacking him from the left and will never acknowledge anything good. Flake made his own bed. Trump and integrity didn't make it for him. He doesn't have any more integrity than the Trump ball washers who can't be critical at all.

A candidate has to be supportive of the President. From there, you can then run a campaign. Being a Trump mini-me doesn't work. Trump had spent decades building up his brand. These Johnny-come-latelies are going to be able to re-create that and they are fools for trying. It might attract a base of support, but isn't going to have the widespread appeal that is needed to win a primary. Copies always loose quality from the original.

All of that said, being seen as opposing Trump is a death kneel to a campaign. That was the strategy that McConnell and Strange employed to attack Mo Brooks. And as dishonest and dirty as it was, the voters fell for it. They used clips of Brooks when he was arguing for Cruz and against Trump in the 2016 primary (he was Cruz's Alabama co-chair), to imply that he was a Nancy Pelosi ally. It is all laughable, because Brooks has been with Trump legislatively for the most part. When he has strayed, it was to the right. He's also a member of the House Freedom Caucus. However those attacks stuck and he didn't make the runoff against Moore (whom he would have beaten). That then led to the Democrats taking the seat with Doug Jones.

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@mlindroos

Hillary may have won those, but how many blue counties in Trump take that hadn't went red in decades? Not just in Georgia, but across the country? Coalitions move both ways. Under Trump and the rise of nationalism and populism, the GOP is performing worse in the suburbs and among the socially progressive Republican leaners. At the same time, he is doing better among the economically progressive Republican and Democrat leaners, the "working class whites" that are so often discussed.

I am not a fan of the campaign tactics of Trump and this stunt from Williams. I don't think it is effective and it drives aways support as much as it increases it. Trump had decades being a brash, coarse, obnoxious ass. People loved him for it. He was able to translate that into support by timing the system just right when that was what people are craving. They already have Trump, so Williams isn't going to be effective doing the mini-me act.

The answer isn't milquetoast, progessive politics and amnesty either. You can be for securing the border and enforcing immigration laws without resorting to these sorts of obnoxious publicity stunts. We had a real, pro-Amnesty, open borders candidate in John McCain and he performed a whole 2% better among Hispanics than Trump did. Their margin of defeat was the same at 36%. Trump outperformed Romney by 2% and performed 8% better on the differential. You have to go back to Bush 2004 to get a statistically significant increase in Hispanic support. Bush got 44% and only lost by 9%. That was also reflective of his overall vote total, as he was the last Republican to clear 50% or win the popular vote. Bush in 2000 performed basically the same as McCain, Romney and Trump. The emphasis on faith voter turnout in 2004 is probably more the difference for that outlier than anything else.

The idea that the GOP needs to become more progressive to win these voters in wrong and it won't work. I don't think being unnecessarily insulting is the answer either. We have tried the middle way and moderating ever since Reagan. It doesn't work.

(edited)

"Trumpism" is like any other manifestation of quasi/wannabe "populism"/fascism/national socialism: it's not communicable beyond its originator, because it is a personality cult rather than a coherent ideology. Why else has the platform on which Trump pretended to run never gained more than fringe traction before he came along to animate it? And when Trump is gone, so will be that platform. But because the GOP has been "Trumpized," it will continue to pursue it, and become nationally marginalized in the process, much like it did for over thirty years during and after the Great Depression. THAT will be the "Trump Legacy", of which Michael Williams will be one footnote among many.

Why would Republicans vote for a politician who keeps "murders, rapists, kidnappers, child molesters, and other criminals on board" his campaign bus?

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I don't see what's so baffling. He obviously thinks Trump is the way the wind is blowing. The only question is whether he's right or not. I guess we'll see.

@Jasmius: Perhaps. Still seems better the the "True Con" legacy of abject surrender and defeat through.

@etbass -- A Trump mini-me, no. Only the King gets to Grab Them There as it were. No other politician in the US could survive that.

But GOP pols must declare absolute allegiance to Trump or they lose. It's pretty simple.

Going Full Metal Trump is already understood to be an election looser. Even Trump doesn't want to be Trump anymore, it's why he kicked down
the ladder he climbed on and is refusing to endorse similar firebrand populists, instead supporting the exact same squishy establishment stooges he allegedly was running against. (allegedly because anyone with eyes can tell that Trump was the Establishment Candidate sent to shut down the Conservative insurgency)

Does Georgia even have an illegal immigrant problem? I imagine the border states this might be an issue for the governor but not so much for southern states.

I'm not sure deporting people is the number 1 concern for the people of georgia. Also deportations are handled at the federal level.

Unless his democratic opponent is messaging hard on sanctuary cities I don't see the logic.

@Floridaman: Going to be honest, whatever Trump's deficits I'm having a hard time seeing him as anything other than an opportunistic wildcard who saw his chance and took it rather than a nefarious Manchurian Candidate for the Establishment.

"I think it was a strategic error to go full Trump, but we will find out on Tuesday." I hope you're right.