Republicans Are in Pitched Battles to Out-Trump Each Other

Early Trump supporter Michael Williams struggles to stand out in a Georgia GOP gubernatorial field that’s gone heavily MAGA. Photo: Michael Williams for Governor

When Georgia state senator Michael Williams became the first elected official in his state to endorse Donald Trump for president, and then Trump won, he probably figured he had a “lane” to higher office all by himself. And indeed, he’s running for governor this year. But he’s having a tough time standing out as a Trumpian wild man.

If there are any two things Republican voters identify with Trump, it would probably be his pledge to clean up the “swamp” created by career pols in Washington, and his angry opposition to undocumented immigrants he blamed for a largely imaginary crime wave. So here are the ads being run by two of Williams’s rivals who are, at this point, battling for a runoff spot opposite Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle in next week’s Georgia gubernatorial primary. This is from “conservative outsider” Hunter Hill:

And this is from Secretary of State Brian Kemp:

And for good measure, Kemp offers to “round up criminal illegals and take ‘em home myself” in his “big pickup truck.”

I’m guessing the pickup-truck line gave poor Michael Williams an idea for how to one-up his suddenly Trumpian opponents. Nobody’s going to top Williams’s “deportation bus” for anti-immigrant zaniness:

From the mania infecting Georgia Republicans about “criminal illegals” and “sanctuary cities,” you probably wouldn’t know that this is a tightly GOP-controlled state that’s already passed two laws that force cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Yes, there are two (out of 159) counties and one tiny city that limit cooperation with ICE. But it’s hardly an epidemic, and there have been no reports of released immigrants committing violent crimes.

It’s sometimes hard to remember that the last Republican president before Trump was a staunch conservative who nonetheless supported comprehensive immigration reform — or “amnesty,” as it is now known in much of the GOP — and for that matter, didn’t attack experience in government as prima facie evidence of corruption or godless liberalism. This is very much Donald Trump’s party now, and in the rush to sing hymns to his politics and his policies, early supporters like Michael Williams are in danger of getting trampled underfoot.

But Williams did get a break: YouTube took down his “Deportation Bus” video on grounds that it violates the platform’s “hate speech” rules. And this gave the Trumpiest of the Trump fans in the gubernatorial race a fresh opportunity to appeal to his party’s conservative “base,” as The Hill reports:

Williams criticized the move in a statement, calling YouTube “the latest liberal California company stifling conservative free speech to appease the hard-left.”

“They are doing everything they can to keep our message from reaching voters with the truth,” Williams said of YouTube. “They will not silence me nor our movement.”

Red State GOPers Are Trying to Trump Each Other’s Trumpiness