Schumer Wins Georgia ... and America
Disaster strikes as Dems appear to win both Senate seats in the Peach State runoffs.
“Now we take Georgia, and then we change America,” proclaimed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after the general election, laying out his Georgia path to tyranny through the state’s two runoff contests for Senate seats. This morning greets us with news that Leader Schumer will get to put “Majority” in front of that title as Democrats are set to take full control of Washington. The race has been called for Democrat Raphael Warnock, and his fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff is almost certain to win as well, leading by 16,000 votes and awaiting resolution of “technical issues” counting votes in the Democrat stronghold of DeKalb County. Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have not conceded, though both Democrats claim victory.
As Mark Alexander says, “The only line of defense between Liberty and Schumer are the military ballots yet to be counted in the Perdue-Ossoff race. But there are not likely enough of those votes to surmount Ossoff’s lead.”
So, the Biden-Harris ticket put the state in the blue column for the first time since 1992, and the state apparently now has its first Democrat senator(s) in 15 years.
How did this happen?
How did a more attractive version of Jeremiah “God D—n America” Wright, the pastor Barack Obama was forced to socially distance from in 2008, win a Senate seat … in the South? How did an inheritance welfare liberal who’s barely had a real job, done nothing of substance, and gets massive funding from California somehow secure Georgia’s other Senate seat?
Several reasons, really. So let’s hit a few highlights.
First and most important is the strong Democrat ground game — the push to register and turn out new voters. Former and future gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams led this effort, and she has to be smiling like the cat that ate the canary this morning. We warned yesterday that she had registered more voters since November than Ossoff’s first-round deficit to Perdue. (Loeffer’s race had a similar R vs. D split, but among 20 candidates in a “jungle” primary contest.) Abrams’s efforts paid off.
That’s largely because Georgia allows voters to request absentee ballots for any reason. All Abrams had to do was register every Democrat in an Atlanta apartment complex and then make sure they all received and returned ballots. Lather, rinse, repeat. No wonder Georgia Republicans are looking at ending this practice.
This is to say nothing of the massive potential for fraud with such ballots and the laughable efforts to “verify” those signatures. Abrams actually bragged about undermining the requirement to match signatures.
Just to be clear, the Democrat Party insists that voters shouldn’t have to provide legitimate signatures, present voter ID, or even show up at the polls.
The other hugely important factor was a divided GOP, and like it or not, the lion’s share of the blame for that goes to President Donald Trump. He is the leader of the party, is he not?
The president did head down to Georgia to rally for Loeffler and Perdue, but he spent far too much time grinding his own axe. It’s certainly hard to make the case for Perdue and Loeffler as a check against a Biden-Harris administration if you can’t even acknowledge a Biden-Harris administration without getting mean-tweeted (or worse) by President Trump. He attacked and threatened Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, forcing Perdue and Loeffler to take sides within their own party. And whether you’re mad at these Republicans or those Republicans, such anger is hardly motivating to go vote Republican — especially when some of Trump’s backers were literally out there telling Republicans not to vote because the system’s rigged.
Fratricidal infighting wasn’t limited to the election. Trump undercut Senate Republicans with his after-the-fact demand for $2,000 relief checks instead of the $600 version Congress had already passed. Would Perdue and Loeffler support more money for Georgia voters? They eventually said they would, but they’d be swimming upstream in a GOP-controlled Senate. Warnock and Ossoff will gladly jump aboard the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi train and provide Democrats with the votes to do it.
All this division almost certainly depressed the Republican vote. For example, while overall turnout of 4.6 million shattered previous runoff records, the heavily Republican northwest Georgia district now represented by Marjorie Taylor Greene, who like Trump insists (only) the (presidential) election was stolen, saw turnout at just 86% of November’s. That might have made the difference in the razor-thin Perdue-Ossoff race.
Furthermore, the two campaigns issued an emergency press release mid-afternoon Tuesday to get their supporters to the polls. Perhaps they saw the turnout writing on the wall. In any case, Democrats were certainly motivated. Black turnout seems to have been up across the state, and it is nigh inarguable that Trump drove as much or more Democrat turnout as he did Republican.
Finally, Loeffler herself was divisive. Kemp appointed her a year ago to fill the seat of the retiring Johnny Isakson, but it was over Trump’s preference for Representative Doug Collins. Kemp believed Loeffler would play better in the Atlanta suburbs, though it didn’t turn out that way — particularly after allegations of insider trading against both Loeffler, already the wealthiest member of Congress, and Perdue. (Both were exonerated, but that mattered little in the age of suppressed news.) Buoyed by the intra-party fight, Collins challenged Loeffler in November, weakening an already weak candidate.
Now Democrats have a much clearer path for their agenda — higher taxes, more regulation, leftist judicial nominees, packing the Supreme Court, adding states (and Democrat senators), and so much more. Meanwhile, the GOP will be left weakened, divided, and bitterly arguing over whose fault it is.
The only possible silver lining is that Warnock faces voters again in 2022 for a full term, but then again he’ll do so with Abrams’s turnout machine benefiting from her own likely repeat candidacy for governor. Georgia’s population is growing, too, and it’s not conservatives moving there from Alabama or Oklahoma; it’s liberals coming from California.
Exit question: Is West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin now the most powerful man in the Senate?