Michelle Cottle, a member of the editorial board at the New York Times, argued in a column for the newspaper that political analysts covering the Republican primary contest between Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are missing an even greater threat to the former president’s bid to be the party’s nominee for president in 2024.
According to Cottle, the Republican opponent for the nomination who has stood up to him and not only been reelected but has prospered and is building up a war fund while no one is looking is the one who Trump should truly be concerned about.
Cottle referred to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as the “man who neutralized” Trump and suggested that since Kemp had already been subjected to a full-scale attack from the former president that had little effect on his popularity, he might be the politician who succeeds him as the leader of the Republican Party.
Kemp has emerged as the leading supporter of Herschel Walker’s faltering U.S. Senate race, while Trump has been marginalized by Republican concerns that he is a liability, according to Cottle, demonstrating his ascendancy over the twice-impeached president.
“Mr. Kemp is having a moment. Having secured another four years in office -despite being targeted for removal in the primaries by a certain bitter ex-president — he is feeling looser, freer, more inclined to lend a hand to his good buddy Herschel,” she wrote before adding, “Whatever happens with Mr. Walker, keep an eye on Mr. Kemp. The 59-year-old Georgia governor is positioning himself to be a major Republican player — one that, unlike so many in his party, is not a complete Trump chump.”
Remarking on Kemp’s “decisive” victory over Stacey Abrams. Kemp, according to Cottle, is impervious to Trump’s insults and jabs.
“The former president put a lot of political capital on the line in his crusade against Mr. Kemp, only to get spanked once again in Georgia. The governor’s refusal to bow to Mr. Trump wound up burnishing his reputation across party lines, which served him well in the purplish state. In the general election last month, Mr. Kemp won 200,000 more votes than Mr. Walker did in his race,” she wrote.
“It’s all upside for Mr. Kemp. No one will seriously blame him if he can’t rescue a candidate as lousy as Mr. Walker, and he wins friends and influence within the party simply by trying. He also gets to wallow in his status as a separate, non-Trumpian power center,” she suggested before pointing out, “Mr. Kemp clearly has his sights set on the political road ahead.”
“Mr. Kemp’s work on behalf of Mr. Walker is opening even more doors, helping him forge connections with officials, operatives, and donors well beyond Georgia. All of which will come in handy if, say, Mr. Kemp decides he wants to run for federal office one day,” she suggested. “And it sure looks as though he might. Not long before Thanksgiving, he filed the paperwork to form a federal super PAC Named Hardworking Americans Inc., the organization will help him gain influence — having a pool of political cash tends to raise one’s popularity — and possibly pave his way for a federal campaign.”