December 8, 2022

Georgia Senate Runoff

Democrat Raphael Warnock won re-election to the U.S. Senate in a hard-fought Georgia runoff on Tuesday, strengthening his party's razor-thin majority as he fought off a challenge by Republican former football star Herschel Walker.” Reuters

Here’s our recent coverage of the runoff election. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left is elated and praises Warnock, but worries about the high level of partisanship.

"This is a generational moment and potential opportunity to move a center-left agenda forward for the country. With large states like California, Illinois and New York safely in the Democratic ledger, if the nominee can compete and win in southern states, then it will be nearly impossible for any Republican to win the presidency for the foreseeable future. With each of his five wins, Warnock has demonstrated his ability to raise money, win White voters (something African American candidates must address), inspire minorities and energize the Democratic base…

“While working hard and prioritizing the right issues such that a core group of Republican voters are OK with him, he’s run positive campaigns with strategic attacks on his opponents – all while holding down two other important jobs, being a father to two young children and the occasional caregiver to America’s favorite beagle. Regardless of who runs in 2024, Warnock will be the most valuable asset and endorser for the Democratic Party. Should Biden decide not to run for reelection, Warnock should be the Democratic Party’s first choice to lead them back to the presidency.”

Fredrick Hicks, CNN

Others argue, "How much difference did these individuals, Walker and Warnock, make in the end, against the tectonic forces of partisanship? Some. They made some difference, and in the most consequential ways. Warnock’s win means that the Democratic majority in the Senate will be 51–49 come January; it means a state that had long been a stronghold of Southern conservatism will be represented in the Senate by two progressive Democrats for at least the next four years; it means that the Party’s reputation for electoral incompetence is out of date…

“But not even the most optimistic liberal has reason to think that the page has turned, after an election in which Republicans nominated a historically terrible candidate and still only barely lost to a talented and well-funded incumbent. For several years, partisan politics have been on a knife’s edge, and what matters most is how much you despise the other party. The Georgia Senate election was an example and an iteration of this history, too.”

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New Yorker

"Even as some long-term trends seem to favor Democrats, the G.O.P. still has a formidable base in Georgia, and one which was sufficiently energized to support the Party’s candidates in this year’s midterms. In addition to the U.S. Senate race, there were seven statewide elections: for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, state school superintendent, and commissioner of labor. Republican candidates won all of these races comfortably.”

John Cassidy, New Yorker

From the Right

The right is disappointed and argues that Walker was a flawed candidate.

The right is disappointed and argues that Walker was a flawed candidate.

“Some Republicans are blaming GOP failures in mail and early voting, and as long as that’s the law the GOP will have to play by those rules. Early and mail voters in the Georgia runoff were 52% registered Democrats, to 39% Republicans… That’s a huge deficit to make up on Election Day, especially if it rains…

“But mail-voting weaknesses didn’t stop Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp from winning re-election on Nov. 8 by 7.5 percentage points. And organizing failures shouldn’t obscure that the biggest lesson of the 2022 midterms is that Mr. Trump picks losers. Republicans clearly could have regained the Senate this year, but Mr. Trump’s endorsed candidates lost in almost every swing state.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Since World War II, the president's party has gained Senate seats in only four of those 19 midterm elections. For the first time since the 17th Amendment, which transferred the voting power of senators directly to the people, all incumbent senators in the president's party running for reelection won. And they did so while inflation is still near 40-year highs, murders have spiked some 40% since before the pandemic, and markets have stagnated, on tenterhooks in anticipation of another recession…

“Every single Republican running for statewide office in Georgia won. Except for Herschel Walker… [His son] Christian, a vociferous conservative on social media, has some advice. ‘Don't beat women, hold guns to peoples heads, fund abortions then pretend your prolife, stalk cheerleaders, leave your multiple minor children alone to chase more fame, lie, lie, lie, say stupid crap, and make a fool of your family. And then maybe you can win a senate seat. [sic]’ That is wise advice in case Republicans ever want to gain Senate control back.”

Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

Some argue, “The establishment leadership, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, would have Republican voters believe that if they only choose the right candidate in the primary—their candidate—then the GOP’s problems would be solved. Does anyone really believe that?…

“[Failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams] spent the years before 2018 laying the groundwork for the modern Democratic turnout machine in Atlanta by bringing in millions of dollars and building a coalition of like-minded organizations to see Georgia go from red to purple… While the Republican establishment was too busy clinging on to old strategies, Democrats were using their structural advantages to gather more political power… the Republican Party was outspent, out organized, out strategized, and flat-out out worked by Democrats in Georgia.”

Bradley Devlin, American Conservative

On the bright side...

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