One critical reason Brian Kemp has gone all-in on his state’s latest vote suppression efforts is that it’s an act of supplication to Donald Trump for briefly having the integrity to stand up to his election theft efforts:
Three years ago, Brian Kemp was elected governor when Republicans embraced his nearly decade-long quest to restrict voting access in Georgia. Now he has tied his re-election hopes to making voting in the state even harder.
After infuriating former President Donald J. Trump by resisting his demands to overturn the state’s election results, Mr. Kemp became an outcast in his own party. He spent weeks fending off a daily barrage of attacks from right-wing media, fellow Republican lawmakers and party officials, and Mr. Trump vowed to retaliate by sending a hard-right loyalist to oppose him in the primary next year.
But the sweeping new voting bill Mr. Kemp signed two weeks ago has provided a lifeline to the embattled governor to rebuild his standing among the party’s base. The bill severely curtails the ability to vote in Georgia, particularly for people of color. Mr. Kemp has seized on it as a political opportunity, defending the law as one that expands voting access, condemning those who criticize it and conflating the criticism with so-called cancel culture.
It’s an argument he believes may restore him to the good graces of Georgia Republicans after being publicly derided by Mr. Trump, a predicament that has proved fatal to the career aspirations of other ambitious conservatives.
The “respectable” Republican position is that while the 2020 election may not have technically been stolen restoring the confidence of the typical Trump voter that it was requires vote suppression and plenty of it, with strong hints that if Trump asks them to steal the next election they’ll oblige. This is not a cycle that is likely to end well.