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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Silver: GA Runoff Election’s Powerful Impact

The significance of the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections have been overshadowed by the media coverage of Trump’s goon riot in the U.S. capitol. Fortunately, Nate Silver provides an insightful take on the Warnock and Ossoff victories at FiveThirtyEight. As Silver notes,

“…Having a Senate majority is a big deal. It means that Democrats should be able to confirm Supreme Court justices and President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet. They’ll likely be able to pass additional COVID-19 stimulus legislation at the very least, along with other budgetary policies through reconciliation. Other policy changes would require eliminating the filibuster — unlikely — or getting cooperation from enough Republicans. But at least Democrats will have the chance to bring to the floor election-reform bills like H.R. 1 and policies like Puerto Rico statehood, giving them a fighting chance instead of having Majority Leader Mitch McConnell squash them from the start.

And symbolically? Well, it’s Georgia. With the possible exception of Texas, no other state has been as much of a symbol of an emerging Democratic coalition of college-educated white voters and high turnout among Black voters and other minority groups. Both Warnock and Ossoff are breakthrough candidates, not the moderate, white Blue Dogs that Democrats have traditionally nominated in Georgia. Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, will become the first Black senator from Georgia and the first Black Democrat ever to serve in the U.S. Senate from the South. Ossoff will become the youngest senator elected since Biden, in 1973, and the first Jewish senator elected to the U.S. Senate from the South since the 1880s.

Then there’s the fact that the runoffs came during a lame-duck period in which — in a predicate to Wednesday’s violence — Trump and other Republicans tried to overturn and subvert the results of the election and undermine faith in the democratic process. If Republicans get the message that anti-democratic actions have negative electoral consequences, they may be less inclined to push democracy to the brink in the future.”

To all of the above, we might also add that the GA Senate runoff elections complete Trump’s loser trifecta — during his term, he has booted the White House, the House of Representatives and now the Senate to the opposition party. Republicans who cling to him as he circles the drain run the risk of looking like dimwits when they next run for re-election.

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