Georgia on Our Minds

Editorial Cartoon: Georgia on my Mind | Opinion | commercial-news.comThe do-over is an integral quality of the American fabric of fairness in competitive instances. Defined as a new attempt or opportunity to do something after a previous attempt has been unsuccessful or unsatisfactory, the do-over is an experience all likely have encountered in the playground. A do-over is most often the result of mutual agreement or consensus. An analogous practice developed for competitors in golfdom is called a mulligan, an unrecorded stroke on the links.

The present wild fracas over the results of the 2020 presidential election is not intended to create a new opportunity but to insist upon an outright reversal of the outcome. While do-over challenges are meant to appeal to fairness, they, unlike the legal nonsense presently being represented as just, rarely involve bitter disappointment or even anger. Allegations of conspiracy involving Hugo Chavez, communist influence, financial shenanigans, are beyond belief in the face of math as the Georgia secretary of state, an engineer, has noted.

In an odd turn of events, . . . the runoffs for two US Senate seats in Georgia echoes a Shakespearean line about “the play’s the thing wherein … (we’ll) … catch the conscience of the king. . . .

In an odd turn of events, however, the runoffs for two US Senate seats in Georgia not only echo a Shakespearean line about “the play’s the thing wherein…(we’ll)…catch the conscience of the king;” they are do-overs in the truest sense. As such, they are not likely to catch any guilty conscience, but only offer some peace to the nation’s civic ethos.

In 1913, the nation adopted the 17th Amendment, providing for the direct election of senators from each state. Then-sitting senators were not affected until their terms expired. An early transition began with two special elections, one in Georgia and another in Maryland. Augustus Octavius Bacon of Bryan County, GA, a Democrat, became the first US senator elected by popular vote following ratification of the 17th Amendment.   

There are three classes of the Senate specified by Article I, Section 3, of the U. S. Constitution with respect to their time for election. In this way, one-third of the Senate is up for election at one time (every 2 years). Succession and appointment compounded by a state requirement of a greater than 50% favorable vote have contrived to cause the two Georgia senators to be on the ballot at the same time. Another facet of Senate elections is that US senators are elected at-large, i.e., not from a state-defined district. Thus, in this way the January runoff is a reprise of the 2020 national.

All four Georgia senate runoff candidates were on the ballot along with the presidential candidates. Will the incumbent president, who has not as yet conceded, campaign in Georgia or have any effect in the peach state contests? The two Republican senatorial incumbents appear to have decided to campaign as tag-team partners and both boast records supporting the 45th POTUS. A view of the results of the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns in Georgia offers some hints:

 

2020

2016

+ / (-)

Republican

2,461,837

2,084,104

372,733

Democratic

2,474,507

1,877,963

596,544

Other

62,138

125,306

(63,108)

TOTAL

4,988,482 4,087,373

901,109

Democratic turnout in 2020 over 2016 was 65% of the increase between the two years. Most pundits attribute this to the efforts of Stacy Abrams and her gubernatorial campaign. The Round One Senate turnout results offer a different and more intriguing picture of the runoff races to conclude on January 5, just two weeks prior to the presidential inauguration.

General

Special

Perdue (R)

2,462,617

Loeffler (R)

1,273,188

Ossoff (D)

2,374,419

Collins (R)

980,451

Other

115,039

Warnock (D)

1,616,973

Other

136,015

TOTAL

5,312,175 TOTAL

4,006,627

As down-ballot races go, it is notable that the 2020 special election had 1.3 million fewer total votes than the Senate general balloting, while at the same time the Senate general results were 323,00 higher than the presidential. Even with Collins (endorsed by POTUS) out of the January runoff and attributing all those Republican votes to Loeffler, that total would be 2,253,645–about 637,000 more than Warnock but still fewer than Ossoff’s. Since the four campaigns are functionally two, pitting Republicans against Democrats, the final results may be more clearly understood in light of the presidential results. It will all hinge on turnout in January.

Ossoff’s total was about 100,000 less than Biden’s, while Perdue’s total was virtually the same as Trump’s. Both Dems may benefit from the 596,000 increased turnout for Biden in 2020 over the 2016 presidential. A more intriguing question arises as to whether the incumbent president weighs in or refrains from the Georgia runoffs.

GOP incumbents and challengers may seek to court the favor of the outgoing president on the assumption that his continuing grip on the national party can benefit their campaigns. . . . GOP folks continue to tread lightly and carefully.

Perdue and Loeffler jointly called for the resignation of the Republican Secretary of State for his role in certifying the state’s election results. In addition, the Republican governor, Brian Kemp, was twittercized by Trump for his appointment of Loeffler over Doug Collins. GOP incumbents and challengers may seek to court the favor of the outgoing president on the assumption that his continuing grip on the national party can benefit their campaigns. Coupled with hints of a second presidential campaign in 2024, GOP folks continue to tread lightly and carefully.

Following a recount and certification in Georgia, the tag-team GOP Senate candidates tweeted support on November 22 for yet another recount, parroting a White House message. At the same time, at the national level, the stubborn resistance to accepting the 2020 election results erodes both the patience and investment of the electorate in politics. The outcome of the January Georgia Senate runoffs may provide some resolution. The Democrats have a fair chance to win the two seats, giving them control of both chambers in Congress. Alone, this objective may invigorate Democratic energies to the races as a second message to Trump.

In a curious reversal from the harangues of the incumbent president and RNC, a Heritage Foundation PAC is encouraging and organizing Georgia Republican voters to create a plan to vote, specifically to utilize early and mail balloting. Here again, the Peach State resembles prime-time elements of the concluded national campaign.  The hurdles created by the GOP and presidential challenges and allegations about fraudulent election processes and procedures were manifest during a visit by RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel on November 27th.  At a “meet and greet” at a county GOP HQ in Marietta, the following exchange was observed:

“Why should we vote in this election when we know it’s already decided?” one person demanded to know. McDaniel had a hard time persuading the crowd that in fact the election had not been decided. She asked the attendees to move on from the alleged voter fraud issues and focus on the Senate races. “We’ve gotta focus on January 5 right now,” McDaniel replied “We can focus on those other things later.” 

Cognitive dissonance can be a big pain in the butt.  Also sounds like McDaniel was throwing the Trump challenges under the bus.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that in 2022, the GOP will be defending 20 Senate seats to just 13 for the Dems. Those contests will be in the context of 2 years under a Biden presidency. Both national committees and their respective Senate campaign organizations are already at work fortifying incumbents in battleground states.

The mulligan index for the ever-golfing P45 is unknown as a matter of national security. For the most part, only his bankruptcies stand as well-known do-overs. The runoffs may signal a fading away for the Incumbent, one like the old soldier, participation or none. As of this moment, 51 days remain until the January inauguration. Ray Charles can be heard serenading, mindful that Georgia is on everyone’s mind. “Still in peaceful dreams, I see the road leads back to you.”

 

 

 

 

 



Categories: elections, Issues, National, politics

Tags: , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: