Georgia Blues

“We were told that we couldn’t win this election, but tonight we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible,” Raphael Warnock said, speaking early Wednesday morning, as the vote count continued in the Georgia.

At the time, it was clear Warnock had defeated Kelly Loeffler, but Jon Ossoff was still trailing David Perdue. Fast forward several hours and Ossoff was ahead, poised to become the youngest US senator elected in four decades.

The sense of desperation in the Perdue campaign was palpable. “As we’ve said repeatedly over the last several weeks… this is an exceptionally close election that will require time and transparency to be certain the results are fair and accurate and the voices of Georgians are heard,” the campaign remarked, in a statement. “We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted.”

In other words: Perdue planned to challenge the results where possible, but by Wednesday afternoon, both Ossoff and Warnock had margins big enough to avoid triggering a recount under Georgia law.

Democrats pulled off the blue sweep, albeit on a two-month delay. They will control the Senate with Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaker.

Of course, as documented here Tuesday and on countless occasions previous, that doesn’t mean carte blanche for Progressives to pursue “radical” policies, Loeffler’s (ultimately ineffective) scare tactics notwithstanding. This wasn’t a campaign to determine whether a “leftist” agenda would be implemented in Washington.

Rather, the Georgia runoffs were simply about determining whether Biden’s agenda would be obstructed wholeheartedly, or merely hampered by a slim majority and a reluctance on the part of centrist Democrats to lean too far left. That’s it. And that’s a sobering reality for the Progressive wing, even as all Democrats will naturally celebrate the results.

One key question was whether Donald Trump’s political capital with Mitch McConnell was exhausted on Tuesday evening. The president clearly cost Republicans votes in Georgia by casting doubt on the reliability of the process and suggesting that all manner of conspiracies were afoot. Following Wednesday’s harrowing siege on Capitol Hill, there was no doubt that McConnell’s patience with the outgoing president was at an end.

We’ll never know, definitively, whether the results would have been different in the absence of Trump’s belabored efforts to overturn his own loss in the state. But some Republicans will doubtlessly blame the outgoing president. “Will McConnell continue to show deference to Trump?”, The New York Times‘s Adam Nagourney wondered. “Will he blame him if the GOP loses its Senate majority?”

The answer is probably “yes.” Regular readers may recall that last month, I suggested McConnell would never forgive Trump if the GOP lost the Senate, and that, along with chaos in D.C., was McConnell’s reality on Wednesday.

Trump will continue to wield considerable sway in the GOP and will probably support primary challenges against some Republicans, but making an enemy of McConnell is perilous. Trump’s assumed 2024 bid could be an uphill battle if Mitch unleashes the establishment hounds. What happened in Washington on Wednesday may have doomed Trump’s chances of running for a second term altogether.

The AP documented the thinking behind two Georgia voters’ decisions. One, a 37-year-old Buckhead resident, voted “all Democrat” for the first time in her life. “I’ve always been Republican, but I’ve been pretty disgusted by Trump and just the way the Republicans are working,” she remarked. “I feel like for the Republican candidates to still stand there with Trump and campaign with Trump feels pretty rotten. This isn’t the conservative values that I grew up with.”

Even 56-year-old Will James, who told the AP he voted “straight GOP,” didn’t do so because of Trump. In fact, he was “concerned” that the state’s Republican candidates supported challenges of the presidential election results in Georgia. So, why did James still vote for them? “I believe in balance of power, and I don’t want either party to have a referendum, basically,” he said.

That’s not generally what you want to hear if you’re the Republican leadership. You want wholehearted support, not begrudging votes.

Trump managed to push through a historic tax cut and seat not one, not two, but three Supreme Court justices, thereby cementing conservative jurisprudence for a generation. That, along with his unparalleled ability to harness the rage capital of a notoriously fervent base and direct it at anyone deemed insufficiently loyal, allowed him to get away with pretty much anything, up to and including jeopardizing the country’s system of governance.

But “anything” may not include costing the GOP the Senate after losing the White House two months earlier and the House in the midterms.

And it certainly doesn’t include fomenting a literal insurrection, which was a word used by McConnell himself on Wednesday evening to describe Trump’s supporters in D.C.


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14 thoughts on “Georgia Blues

  1. We can hope. Trump would be far less dangerous if the GOP leadership didn’t cave in all the time. The issue is that the GOP leadership can’t exactly ignore its own base constantly.

    And indeed how many GOP leaders are now thinking of being the next Trump? Ted Cruz is definitely interested…

  2. If Pence understands what a moment in history and the soapbox he will step onto today and his warrior gene exists and awakens…… Trumpism could end.

  3. Trump paved the way for Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and whomever else is willing to ignore their oaths for the sake of power. In other words, this ain’t over, and it may never be over until we actually have a pure authoritarian in control.

    1. Hawley and Cruz have ensured their non-viability as future presidentia candiddates with their stunt. The voters nationally and in their respective states will reject them the next time either seeks eelection or the GOP presidential nomination.

  4. Can’t get Trump out of the WH soon enough. According to JHU, at least 3,775 Americans lost their lives to the coronavirus on Tuesday – the highest single-day death toll since the pandemic began….

    1. Jon Ossoff is exactly the type of younger politician that our country desperately needs more of. No wonder he received record donations for his campaign. I hope many other Americans with leadership potential are inspired by him to serve our country.

        1. ” … these Trump republicans don’t want to serve but dictate.” Right. And that’s not just Trump, it’s the history of the US. Go back to the 1600s and reread the Scarlet Letter or the sermons of Cotton Mather. The original colonists who came here (all immigrants, of course) didn’t want pure freedom. Rather they wanted to be in charge of their neighbors. They weren’t looking for religious freedom they just wanted their religion to be in charge instead of someone else’s. These were individuals who were marginalized in their home countries so the came here to get a chance to be in charge for once, to dictate to others, not be dictated to by family elders, old traditions, social class distinctions. They liked those ideas but they wanted to be on the other side of them, own their own slaves, mistreat their own lower class workers, and make the laws their way instead of having to follow those from the other guys. The US has always been about power and controlling the masses. Make no mistake. MAGA was about “make me be in charge.” But it was not really a new idea, more like 400 years old.

    1. Warnock will be up for reelection in 2022. He will finish Isakson’s 6-year term, which began in 2016. Loeffler was an interim appointment stemming from Isakson’s resignation in 2019.

  5. Today is a good day, we are far from overcoming a mountain of threats to our country and system but there is a little more hope for progress and common sense to prevail.

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