It wasn’t much of a surprise but between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning the North Carolina U. S. Senate race was called for Thom Tillis and the Alaska U. S. Senate race for Dan Sullivan. That leaves the current count for the next Senate at 50 Republicans, 46 Democrats along with 2 independents that caucus with them therefore effectively the upper chamber stands at 50-48 with two runoff races to take place in Georgia. Let’s explore.
The runoffs are matchups of Republican incumbent David Perdue vs. Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Neither of the two received the 50% required under the Georgia law left over from the Jim Crow era in their November matchup due to the presence of third party candidates.
In the other race incumbent appointed Republican Kelly Loeffler is defending her seat against Democrat Rev. Ralph Warnock who had the most votes in November but that is deceiving and both fell well short of 50%.
With Kamala Harris’ election as Vice President (and thereby president of the Senate) the Democrats need both seats for a 50-50 tie and control of the upper chamber. That is huge for a progressive agenda especially considering that skilled obstructionist, Mitch McConnell, will be the Senate Republicans’ leader.
The Democrats are underdogs in both races but yet could conceivably win one or both. They need both. To put it in baseball terms they have to go 2 for 2 against a future Hall of Fame pitcher. I am convinced that when all is said and done Joe Biden will carry Georgia proving that with a huge turnout a Democrat can win in today’s Georgia. Both races will, like most close elections, hinge on turnout.
Trump also generated huge turnout albeit on the Republican side. Trump will not be on the runoff ballot; advantage Democrats. Perdue and Loeffler are incumbents; advantage Republicans. Warnock is Black, Ossoff is Jewish and Georgia’s Republican base is prejudice; advantage Republicans. Georgia has a huge Black population augmented by a good supply of college educated whites; advantage Democrats. Liberal urban area dwellers regardless of race are notorious for their poor turnout in non-presidential elections while rural whites are more often super voters; advantage Republicans.
Some or all of the factors listed in the above paragraph will come into play. That is why I contend these elections will come down to turnout. It will solely be a matter of how many of whose voters cast votes.
Money, while certainly a significant variable in the “solution equation” will not be the determining factor. Several 2020 Democratic Senate candidates with huge funding advantages lost. I feel the ground game of making contacts in person; via phone or social media very much including email will be the determining factor.
Early voting starts on Monday December 14th with Election Day on Tuesday January 5, 2021. With the distraction of the Holidays it will be very easy to forget to show up on January 5th therefore early voting becomes even more important than normal.
In view of all that I recommend that if you are a Democratic field operative and are not already in Georgia you get there ASAP and stay there until the runoffs are over including any possible recounts or ballot curing. This must be a coordinated effort and the only entity that can supply that kind of “muscle” is the DNC. Therefore the top priority between now and January 5th for Tom Perez should be Georgia. 2020 has boiled down to this.
In the case of ground troops physically and for all other progressives mentally the 2020 holidays need to be spent in Georgia.
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