Georgia sweet Georgia!
If previously you told me it would fall upon the Peach State to cast the decisive ballots that would wrest control of the U.S. Senate away from Republicans I would have said good luck completing that Hail Mary pass.
Yet under immense pressure from a deranged Donald Trump and millions in dark money spent by special interests to sway the election outcome to the GOP, Georgia stood tall and dispatched two tarnished Republican incumbents in a historic pair of runoff election victories by Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Warnock and Ossoff are the first Democrats elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia since 2000. Warnock will be the first African-American to represent Georgia in the Senate and the first African-American Democrat elected to a Senate seat by a former Confederate state.
This was Georgia’s second turn in the political spotlight in two months. Debate over the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election had yet to be quelled, and Georgia remained in the center ring as the surprise swing state from the Deep South that nominated Joe Biden.
State election officials and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp continuously were assaulted by GOP calls to invalidate election results against unfounded accusations of fraud in Georgia right up until the run-off elections on Jan. 5. But mandated recounts were conducted and Georgia certified its results for Biden.
Making matters worse Pres. Trump endlessly ran his mouth on Twitter and otherwise about Georgia’s voters being disenfranchised, and if local officials would not throw the election the president’s way, Republicans should stay home on Jan. 5 and not cast ballots.
This strong-arming took a criminal turn on Jan. 2, 2021, when Pres. Trump placed an ill-advised and potentially illegal phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, pressuring him to overturn the state’s election results, citing unfounded fraud claims.
On the call Trump famously told Raffensperger, “What I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than [the 11,779 vote margin of defeat] we have, because we won the state.”
Both sitting Georgia Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, joined the Trump chorus claiming without evidence that there had been failures in the 2020 election, and called for Raffensperger’s resignation, who rejected them.
Mind you, Loeffler had never faced voters. Gov. Kemp appointed her after former Sen. Johnny Isakson announced his resignation for health reasons in 2019. Loeffler distinguished herself as the only senator to vote with Trump 100 percent of the time.
Loeffler also had the distinction of being investigated in connection with the 2020 congressional insider trading scandal after selling stock in companies vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic valued at several million dollars. This occurred the same day she attended a private briefing of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions on the emerging coronavirus disease, before the public was alerted to its severity.
Perdue took office in Jan. 2015. He likewise was linked to the 2020 congressional insider trading scandal for allegations of Stock Act violations. The basis was he sold off stock before the 2020 market crash allegedly using knowledge from a closed Senate meeting.
With Warnock defeating Loeffler and Ossoff taking down Perdue, the U.S. Senate is evenly divided 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker. This sends Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has served in the Senate for 36 years, from his perch as majority leader back to the minority. Democrats will now control Senate committees, and any legislation or nominations to be brought to the floor.
It’s funny that instead of the supposed gatekeepers that should have checked Donald Trump’s abuse of power, it fell instead to ordinary people, voters, to do the heavy lifting. It took people who were not worried about Trump’s Twitter rampages. They just wanted the madness to stop.
Taking place simultaneously to these Georgia Senate runoffs were the deaths of 3,775 Americans from Covid-19. Where was Trump’s righteous indignation at a preventable disease killing so many in a single day?
The Trump administration estimated it would inoculate 20 million Americans for Covid-19 by the end of 2020. The doses were available but a mere 4.8 million have been administered. Why? Because Trump and the Republicans had no plan to get those vaccinations from their delivery points into peoples’ arms.
In fact Trump threw a wrench into the stimulus plan passed prior to year end that included vaccine distribution money. Once again Trump played political games that cost American lives.
In terms of all the purported “winning” Donald Trump promised America, let me check my math here. First The Donald LOST control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Got himself impeached. Single-handedly increased the spread of Covid-19. Then LOST his re-election bid for president. Not being one to do things small, Trump stepped up to the plate once again and LOST the U.S. Senate, sending his party into the minority.
A big thank you to Georgia voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, who tirelessly organized Georgia voters through her anti-voter suppression group, Fair Fight Action, that boosted turnout for Biden’s victory, and in the Senate runoffs.
Democracy spoke loud Tuesday in Georgia. The earlier Biden win paired with the two runoff victories by Democrats end Trump’s reign of terror. America may now begin its long climb out of the sleazy swamp that was Donald Trump’s Washington.