It will be over 18 months before the first Republican presidential primary election.
Nevertheless, if Tuesday’s Georgia primary is any indicator, the candidate who gets the most electors in 2024 will be the one who focuses forward on more new challenges, not backward to rehash the 2020 presidential election.
Brian Kemp, the governor of Georgia, experienced more ire and censure from Donald Trump than any other Republican official.
Trump initially supported Kemp for governor in 2018. Trump thus thought Kemp owed him in December 2020 when Trump closely lost Georgia’s 16 political votes.
Trump rips Kemp and Raffensperger over missing footage for 181,507 ballotshttps://t.co/j0Qt2WHrF0
— RSBN 🇺🇸 (@RSBNetwork) May 26, 2022
Trump intimidated Kemp both publicly and privately.
He urged the Georgia governor to use his “emergency powers” to halt the validation of the state’s election results, convene a special meeting of the legislature, and appoint a slate of Republican electors.
Even after Trump demanded Kemp’s resignation, Kemp consistently resisted his demands.
Trump enlisted former Senator David Perdue to run against Kemp in this year’s gubernatorial primary.
Kemp’s unwillingness to disregard the lawful outcome of the 2020 election and install a false slate of electors sympathetic to Trump was the only subject on which Perdue campaigned.
In contrast, Kemp ran on a solid conservative record. Not only had Kemp recently signed a voter authenticity law making it easier to vote and more difficult to conduct voter fraud, but he also enacted legislation allowing Georgians to carry firearms without permits.
On top of this, Kemp signed a law prohibiting abortions after fetal heartbeat detection.
Georgia Republicans had a simple choice on Tuesday: an establishment candidate for governor who defeated the Democrat Party or a former senator whose sole prerequisite was he would do just what Trump told him to do.
Georgians elected Kemp over Trump’s lackey by a staggering 52-point margin.
BREAKING: In Georgia, incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp wins GOP primary for governor over Trump’s pick David Perdue, an election-denier. https://t.co/DUuvJ4I1bH
— NPR (@NPR) May 25, 2022
This was hardly Trump’s only defeat of the evening.
Rep. Jody Hice, who fought against certifying the 2020 election, was selected by the former president to run versus Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The latter incurred Trump’s ire by declining to “find” the required votes to proclaim Trump the 2020 winner. Yet, Raffensperger defeated Hice with a majority of votes, 52 to 33, and avoided a runoff.
Even selected Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who actually won his primary, distanced himself from Trump’s electoral rhetoric about 2020.
Walker said last week to a reporter from Atlanta who asked if the 2020 election was rigged, “I don’t know if President Trump ever communicated that because he never expressed it to me.”
18 months is a lengthy period of time. It is undoubtedly feasible that Trump may forego the 2020 election and find other issues to campaign on.
However, if Trump keeps making 2020 the focal point of his political narrative, it’s possible Republican primary voters, tired of seeing the same drama, will move on.