THE REPUBLICAN campaign for governor in Georgia has been marked by dehumanizing immigrant phobia, invidious vote suppression, conspiratorial accusations about Democratic vote tampering, and racism. In other words, it shows in microcosm the direction President Trump would take the GOP. We hope voters, whether Republican, Democrat or independent, in Georgia or beyond, repudiate this ugliness on Tuesday.
We lack the space and time to recite every vile attack against Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams. Mr. Trump said Sunday that she would turn Georgia “into a giant sanctuary city for criminal aliens” as Democrats moved to “impose socialism and totally erase America’s borders.” Neither Ms. Abrams nor any other notable Democrat has proposed anything like this. These are lies, far outside the bounds of normal political hyperbole.
The president also said last Thursday that Ms. Abrams “is not qualified to be the governor of Georgia.” Ms. Abrams graduated from Yale Law School and worked her way up to become minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, a position she held for six years. She is not only more qualified than her opponent to be governor, she is more qualified than Mr. Trump to be president. What absence of qualification could Mr. Trump possibly have been referring to, other than that she is not white?
Meanwhile, the Trump-endorsed GOP gubernatorial candidate, Brian Kemp, Georgia’s current secretary of state, won his primary election by showing off his gun collection and promising to round up “criminal” immigrants in the back of his truck. This, he said, makes him “a politically incorrect conservative.” No, it makes him a demagogue eager to take advantage of voter fears and prejudices. It is more than possible — though not in Trump-world — to oppose immigration without demonizing the millions of honest, hard-working immigrants who live among us.
Over the weekend, Mr. Kemp announced that his current office, which is responsible for managing state elections, launched an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia for an alleged attempt to breach the state’s voting systems. The secretary of state’s office provided the public no evidence, while reporters obtained emails suggesting Democrats were actually involved in raising concerns about a potential cyber vulnerability. Mr. Kemp appears to be abusing his position to advance anti-Democrat conspiracy theories.
This would be in keeping with Republican strategy nationwide of using fears of voter fraud — which is imaginary — as an excuse to make voting harder. Georgia has some of the country’s most restrictive voting laws. Registrations that do not exactly match other government databases are put on hold and marked for eventual purging. A missed hyphen or alternate name spelling is enough. The Associated Press found that minority voters were disproportionately affected. The state’s voter-ID requirements are also severe.
Republicans could have chosen to campaign on issues: tax cuts, deregulation, the whittling away of Obamacare. Instead, they opted for fearmongering and deck-stacking. That suggests that Mr. Kemp and the other Trump lap dogs around the country have little faith in the value or popularity of the policies they would impose.