A Georgia Postmortem
Parting thoughts now that both races have been called for Democrats.
It’s particularly relevant given what transpired in our nation’s capital (and Capitol building) yesterday: Republicans have a big problem in Georgia, and it’s twofold.
We’ll start with their own candidates. As we already said yesterday, Kelly Loeffler was an uninspiring candidate who was the subject of intraparty division over her appointment last year. David Perdue turns out to have been not much better in terms of motivating voters. But both were in the same boat that couldn’t withstand the wave of anti-Trump sentiment in the state. Tuesday’s results proved the futility of asking for votes for Republican candidates while telling Republican voters that Republican officeholders are corrupt election thieves.
Moderate suburbanites who might have been inclined to vote for Loeffler and Perdue were simply not going to reward them for parroting President Donald Trump’s “stolen election” refrain — not when many of those voters had already rejected Trump in November. Want proof? Turnout in Republican areas was down from November. Conversely, it was also up for Democrats, which we’ll get to in a moment.
“Mr. Ossoff won 54% of suburban Cobb County’s vote against Mr. Perdue in November but 55.8% on Tuesday,” notes The Wall Street Journal editorial board. “In Gwinnett County, also in the Atlanta suburbs, Mr. Ossoff won 56.8% in November but 59.9% this time. Those two counties were GOP strongholds not long ago.” Overall, Ossoff trailed Perdue by 88,000 votes in November, but won by about 27,000 Tuesday.
Which brings us to our second point — that swing was thanks in large measure to Stacey Abrams, the Democrat vote registration enthusiast who still insists she was cheated out of victory in the 2018 gubernatorial election. (Ahem.)
“Georgia is turning,” Abrams said on runoff day. “We are making progress in … [helping] people believe in their power to change.” While her message of grievance about 2018 is awfully similar to Trump’s, there’s a key difference: She says the Democrat votes are really out there and just need “access” so “their voices [can] be heard.” That’s far more positively motivating than Trump’s complaint.
Thus Abrams redoubled her efforts to register new voters and to make sure those folks vote Democrat. “Demographics are changing,” she said. Democrats can win by tapping that, she says, “and now we have to get to the place where it’s permanent.” Heaven help the Peach State.