Georgia Democrats are trying to seize an opening after the release of a video showing Republican Donald Trump speaking in vulgar sexual terms about groping and harassing women.
Trump carved out a steady lead in Georgia over Democrat Hillary Clinton despite an insistence from her allies that changing demographics and Trump’s high unfavorable ratings could turn the state into a battleground.
But now state Democratic leaders see a new chance to slice into his advantage, and possibly set the stage for 2018 contests, by casting state GOP officials as Trump enablers. While many top Georgia GOP officials rebuked Trump’s comments, none said they would refuse to support him.
Jim Barksdale, trailing Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson by double-digits in some polls, slammed the incumbent for “putting the support of the party over the dignity of mothers, daughters, sisters and other women in our lives.”
Isakson said he was “disgusted” by Trump’s comments but did not withdraw his endorsement. Dozens of other national Republicans went a step further by cutting ties with Trump’s campaign, most notably Sen. John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee.
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, a potential candidate for governor in 2018, knocked the Republicans who found “the road to Damascus after a 40-year litany of racism, misogyny, xenophobia and taxpayer-funded welfare from their standard-bearer.” She added that Republicans needed to go beyond “simply denouncing his words” with substantive policy changes.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and a likely Democratic candidate for higher office, took aim at evangelical leaders who have maintained support for Trump. He called the New York businessman an “affront to human decency” and urged other faith leaders to “disavow their support for God’s sake.”
And Rebecca DeHart, the Democratic Party of Georgia’s executive director, warned that “young boys are paying attention” to the nation’s response to Trump’s lewd comments.
“There is also a stark choice facing the Republican Party. As their nominee he is their standard-bearer—representative of their party. And they have the choice to reject him,” said DeHart. “I hope, for the sake of women and girls everywhere, they send him packing.”
More on the fallout from Trump’s comments: