The balance of power in the US Senate now hinges on whether Republicans can keep the two seats in Georgia heading into January. runoff. But the story is much bigger.
Georgia Democrats have been shut out of the Senate for the past 15 years because the unofficial capital of New South has faced a rightward shift that comes at the expense of black voting power. Now that seems to be changing, thanks in part to rock-star Democrat Stacey Abrams, who has regulated black voting power, and because the Democratic Party as a whole gets serious about a country with shifting demographics and moderate voters.
As of today, Raphael Warnock, one of the Democratic contenders in the two-state Senate elections, is ahead of his GOP opponent, and Democrat Jon Ossoff is trailing. But not reallyThe battle saw a candidate get the top 50% of the vote in a bustling election, they are now heading for a January 5 second round which - if all holds - will decide whether Democrats will control the Upper House for the first time since the 2014 election gave power. to the GOP. If both Georgia Democrats win, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will break the Senate's 50-50 draw over the vote and Democrats will have control. If one is or not, Republicans will retain their control, and their ability to end President-elect Joe Biden's agenda for the next two years.
That means whoever holds power in Biden's Washington on January 20 will turn on whether the Georgia Republicans or the Georgia Democrats can better maintain their energies over the next 55 days. The stakes are high, and the price tag on each side, according to strategists on both sides, can be up to half a billion dollars or more. Democrats will own the White House - despite Trump's insistence to the contrary - and the US House of Representatives. And while a majority of Senate Democrats will narrow and vulnerable to filibuster Republican and centrist Senate Democrats Joe Manchin desire, it will still be a serious threat to the Republican Party. GOP donors open their pocketbooks in disregard after seeing last week's election give them breakthroughs in the House of Representatives and a Governor's House in Montana, but not the promised White House. Democratic donors are still not finished.
It is against this backdrop that we are catching up with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The astute Kentucky Republican fights to keep the hammer in the Senate. McConnell himself controls the Senate floor and he has shown since being appointed to the job in 2015 that he is a master of the Upper Chamber's mysterious rules and procedures for gathering his conservative agenda. In order to maintain that power, he needs to maintain his majority - meaning he needs long-time Georgia player Sens. David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler, to add to their win. In raw turnout, that means McConnell needs the nearly 2.5 million Georgians who voted for Trump to reappear in two months with the same level of enthusiasm.
Biden appears to be Trump's leading in Georgia, although The Associated Press has not named the race. There's no need to rush, really. Biden has secured enough electoral votes to become elected President, and Georgia cannot keep up with the tally either way. Still, the Trump campaign is busy fighting. It may not be about getting Trump to power - even though he is eager to do so - because it is to keep voter intensity from decreasing. On Wednesday, Georgian Foreign Minister Brad Raffensperger announced the results of the presidential election would help tell the story , further adding to the reality show drama style the President is developing.
Georgian politics is a strange thing. Biden and Trump ran among the nearly 5 million votes cast last week. But after the election, there was a decline in Senate elections, despite the relatively small total of 47,000 ballots that weighed on the presidential election but passed the election between Purdue and Ossoff. At the time of writing, Perdue, Senator of the first term, is ahead by less than 87,000 votes.
The second Senate race for tickets is more complicated. Loeffler, the incumbent of the GOP, was appointed to his seat by Republican Governor Brian Kemp after Senate Johnny Isakson left the Senate for health reasons at the end of 2019. He ran against Warnock Democrats to fulfill Isakson's remaining term, but nearly 308,000 Trump voters passed Loeffler and other Republicans. in the voting in this special election. In other words, Trump voters are not interested in this election and are not running.
This gives us the tremendous impact this Georgian race has on US politics. To stay in control of the Senate, McConnell needed those Trump voters to stick with Purdue and in line behind Loeffler, the businesswoman who owns Atlanta's. The WNBA team and are the richestSenate members. He needs Trump to continue campaigning in the state, and therefore he cannot take risks against the President, who has refused to admit his electoral defeat. Most of the other Republicans with an interest in retaining power have done the same, while others such as Senator Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush who are in their final act of politics have congratulated President-elect Biden.
McConnell knows math. History has shown that the second round never attracts the same intensity as the first round of voting. In 2008, when Barack Obama won re-election and lost Georgia, nearly 3.8 million votes were cast in the first round of voting. When the second round of December arrived, 2.1 million voters turned up, a decrease of 55%. But among Republicans, the decline was only 41% to 63% of Democrats. Republicans are back while Democrats don't, according to The DC Brief analysis.
So McConnell still has a chance. There have been seven statewide runoff in Georgia since 1988; The Democrats won just one. Engaged Trump can keep the Republic of Georgia on the ground. So McConnell may have good reason to believe he doesn't need to call to congratulate President-elect Biden - yet. If McConnell can simultaneously keep Trump's supporters in the mix and retain the majority of his Senate, he could be good friends with Biden when they reunite as two of the most powerful men in Washington next year.