Round 1 of primaries over. On to Round 2.
As the legendary Hall of Fame catcher and all-around philosopher Yogi Berra once observed: “It ain’t over till its over.” He could have been talking about the 2018 Georgia primaries. A lot of would-be candidates got sent to the sidelines by voters on May 22, but now We the Unwashed are looking at runoffs on July 24. It ain’t over yet.
Just think, gang — eight more weeks of self-serving ads, robocalls at suppertime and slick mailing pieces with which to line our birdcages. Once the runoffs are over, we will then have only about 15 weeks or so for more self-serving ads, more robocalls at suppertime and a ton or two of additional birdcage material. I call this good news because when we get past November, we should have a year or so of respite before we have to start the whole thing over again.
At least it beats tanks in the street and hard-eyed mullahs telling us who we must vote for. (“Hi, this is Mullah Fazook calling and asking you to vote for my good friend, Ishtar Badabohm, who is running for Supreme Holy Spiritual Leader. We would greatly appreciate your vote and you would probably appreciate keeping the fingers on your hand since we will chop them off if you think you have a choice. Thanks for your time.”)
There will be a runoff for the Republican nomination for governor between Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Former state Rep. Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination.
Cagle got roughly 39 percent of the vote and Kemp 26 percent. Cagle doesn’t need to be high-fiving anybody right now. In the 2010 Republican primary runoff, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel came in first with 34 percent of the vote and former Congressman Nathan Deal ranked second with 23 percent. And we all know how that turned out.
Of course, both parties are appealing to their base supporters (no pun intended.) If Abrams were to win in November, she would be the first black woman to become governor in any state in the nation, including weenieville Vermont. The Democratic nominee says her campaign will reach out to minorities, people of color (as long as they are not middle-of-the-road white guys) and the LGBTQ community, as well as to well-heeled citizens of California and New York, who are writing her fat checks.
Cagle and Kemp, on the other hand, will tout their personally autographed picture of Donald Trump hanging on the wall next to their extensive gun racks. Look for things between the two to get somewhere between testy and nasty over the next eight weeks. Republicans tend to do that kind of thing, sometimes forgetting who the real enemy is.
Hopefully, both Abrams and whoever wins the Republican gubernatorial nomination will remember there are some of us who reside in the political middle. We don’t understand why people can cross our borders almost unimpeded (including potential terrorists.) At the same time, we struggle with the logic of why we have to learn to speak Spanish instead of Hispanics learning to speak English. We aren’t crazy about kids packing heat on college campuses or those on college campuses who try to restrict the freedom of speech of those with whom they disagree. And we wonder why those who pass our laws exempt themselves from those same laws.
We believe in the precious freedoms we enjoy in our country but get tired of being lectured about the nobility of a bunch of irrelevant gazillionaires who make a big show of disrespecting their country on Sunday afternoons. That is their right to do so just as it is our right to tune them out as more and more of us are doing every year. Keep it up and they all might have to go get real jobs.
Little noticed in the recent primaries was that former state Senate president pro tempore David Shafer came close to winning the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor without a runoff, garnering 49 percent of the vote. I have been a bit harsh on Shafer in the past, but I give him high marks for reaching out. His is a good example some of his colleagues should try.
I wish I could spend more time with you on my patent-pending, in-depth analysis of the wonder of Georgia politics, but I must go. There is a robot on the other line who wants to know what’s for supper. My work never ends.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at dick@ dickyarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dickyarb.