I suffered no anxiety because I didn’t think Democrats would beat smiling offal like David Purdue or an unlettered hack like Kelly Loeffler. Figured Joseph Robinette Biden would govern by executive order while Mitch McConnell made life miserable for his putative Old Friend. Hours after most networks declared Reverend Raphael Warnock the winner of his Senate race, the extent of Stacey Abrams’ triumph is just coming into focus. Should Jon thirty-three-year-old (!) Jon Ossoff win his race, as I expect he will, Georgia will have not only elected a president but ended McConnell’s perfidious tenure as minority leader: six years of serving Moloch for the sake of appointing judges and SCOTUS justices.
A few observations:
1. Georgia is competitive; Florida less so. In The State with the Prettiest Name, only one candidate has come close to flipping a gubernatorial race. Thanks to a consultant class that profits from failure, Florida looks less like a swing state than a battleground: too blue in certain counties to dismiss, too red to flip. We need a movement as powerful as Abrams’; we have the minorities whom we need to court and register.
2. I’ll repeat: Georgia looks more likely to stay Democratic in 2022 or 2024 than Florida will flip. I didn’t say “likely,” though. Abrams and her organization don’t need my advice, though.
3. Warnock joins the distinguished ranks of Hiram Revels and Blanche Bruce of Mississippi; he is the first Black senator from Georgia and the second Black senator elected to represent the South since Reconstruction (Republican Tim Scott of North Carolina is the other). This preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church understands his covenant — no other word — with the electorate, as he made clear in a Mother Jones interview published last October:
“The meaning of our covenant with one another is played out, and public policy seems to give more and more to the richest of the rich and less and less to the poorest of the poor,” he tells me. “After a while, that begins to cause the fabric of democracy to begin to fray, and if we don’t defend it, the voices of ordinary people will get crowded out of the process and become more and more disconnected from the process itself.”
Read his victory speech.
4. The press will yammer about GOP “fissures,” “cracks.” “ruptures,” and, right, “civil war.” We can celebrate — rightly and loudly — without assuming the GOP ain’t gonna insist on more voter suppression and attacks on POC.
5. DC statehood should sail to the top of our legislative priorities. Puerto Rico is tougher because Dems will want to hear from Puerto Ricans.
6. Obsessed with anointing heroes and troublemakers, the Beltway press has posted several snarky Tweets about the outsized role it assumes Joe Manchin will play. The senior senator from West Virginia and its former governor is rather dim and when in front of a microphone as leaden as a wheelbarrow full of cinderblocks, but in a state Trump won by forty-two points he’s a more authentic populist than Cotton, Ernst, and Hawley. He voted, let’s not forget, against the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and for Trump’s impeachment last January (remember that?) — to a rousing welcome from constituents.
7. As for the 2022 midterms, well, Democrats can take comfort in their underwhelming performance in House races. Fewer swing districts may cushion the damage. While not a rule, parties in power suffer most grievously after wave years.
8. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota with the truth: