This article is reprinted with permission from Mashawil in the Land of God.
If football is a game of inches, politics is one of the divisions – an ice shift in demographics, an ever-increasing growth in voter registration, and slight shifts in voter turnout.
In isolation, individual events like this may seem small and insignificant. Together, they are like grinding tectonic plates that can reshape an entire landscape.
This is what has been happening in Georgia over the past decade. The first major tremor finally struck on November 3, when the state sided with a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1992. Shakir hit Akbar last Tuesday, January 5, when Georgians ousted incumbent Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue and replaced not only with Democrats, but also With a black pastor at Martin Luther King Church and a 33-year-old Jewish TV documentary producer. Neither of them held office before.
But it is the aftershocks already spreading across the state that will reshape Georgia politics for generations to come. They would also put an end to rural domination on the Capitol, though the pains of death could last for several years.
The dust hasn’t subsided even in Tuesday’s Senate run-offs, and the state’s political milestones have already been settled in 2022 and the next round of races for the state’s constitutional posts, including one of the two U.S. Senate seats, the governor, and the deputy governor – and perhaps most notably – the secretary of state. .
Brad Ravensberger, the current Republican secretary of state, is almost certainly being considered for glimpses of courage, but now he can’t leave the house without a bodyguard. Now in the middle of his first term, Ravensburger was a low-ranking state legislator before he threw his hat in the ring for the secretary of state. Then, having (R) after his name was enough to allow him to beat John Barrow, the former Democratic congressman, in the runoff.
Now, his insistence on the counting of the presidential and Senate votes in Georgia – and his recklessness in the face of direct pressure from President Trump – may have eliminated him politically. The current political storm may pass, but at the moment it is difficult to see how he has survived the fundamental challenge the Republican Party is almost certain to face.
Then there is the ruler’s race. The Republican incumbent, Brian Kemp, is in a slightly better position than Ravensburger. Kemp was already saddled with horrific Covid-19 numbers when the presidential election blew up in his face. Republicans in Georgia have long been accustomed to an easy walk in the park in the presidential election, and they were clearly surprised when, so late in the race, Peach State suddenly began to appear on the National Battlefield radars.
Kemp has been placed in the extremely difficult position of having to tell the president – to whom he is truly owed by his election – that any effort to overturn the Georgia General Assembly’s state election results will be doomed to failure. Trump is now touting the possible running for governor of former U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, the frenzied Gainesville Republican who defended Trump during the impeachment battle.
Whoever survives this cage match will likely face Stacy Abrams in the 2022 general election. Abrams, the engineer and field general for the Georgia Democratic Resurgence, may be enlisted in the high-profile position at Joe Biden in Washington, but the smart money is that she is touring another round. In the governor’s office, which is very tight. He lost to Kemp in the rematch two years ago.
Recent tours have actually become a thing in Georgia. It was put in place by the state legislature more than half a century ago after a US Supreme Court decision led a “one man / one vote” stake at the heart of Georgia’s infamous county unit system. Flux operations became the new rural bulwark against the growing (black) population of Atlanta and the increase in (black) political power – and they worked until they did not.
Which brings us back to fractions (and increasingly to whole numbers). Population growth and demographic shifts may have favored Democrats in recent years, but Republicans have stayed in the game by being kicked out at the polls. In the 2018 Governor Race, the 29 counties were predominantly urban and suburban that sided with Abrams home to more than half a million registered voters than the 130 largely rural counties that went to Kemp. But the vote rate in Kemp counties was 61.5 percent, compared to 60 percent in Abrams counties. This ledge, and Republican control of at least part of the suburban vote, allowed Kemp to get around.
In the 2020 general election – with Trump at the top of the list – Republicans have actually increased the turnout advantage. Republican provinces gave 68.8 percent of their voters to 65.3 percent for Democratic districts – a 3.5-point advantage – and Purdue made an impressive lead of 100,000 votes to contest the run-off. Although Loeffler succeeded Warnock in the “Woodland primary” of 20 candidates for another Senate seat, she was supposed to have a similar advantage in the run-off.
But without Trump on the ballot – and with his regular assaults on Kemp and Ravensberger and the reliability of Georgia’s election system – the turnout advantage over the Republican Party fell to around 1.2 percentage points. At the same time, based on data available from the Secretary of State’s office, voting boycotts for the Democrats have increased their already significant lead in the total number of registered voters by more than 150,000, and political reparation has simply become overwhelming.
So did the voting options. Early in personal and mail voting, Ossoff and Warnock achieved over 400,000 vote margins that Perdue and Loeffler could not erase with strong bids on Election Day. In the end, Usov won 51,150 votes and Warnock won 89,404 votes. Bob’s margins were outside the recount margins and were large enough that both Purdue and Loeffler threw their towels, thus denying state attorneys another round of litigation after the election.
Of course, these margins may amplify the game in Georgia’s politics, but it’s hard to find much good news for Republicans in the state in these latest results. They scored some victories on the bottom ballot, but throughout this year’s political season, the urban-rural divide has made it more acute.
For the Republican Party, Metro Atlanta was essentially reduced to the airline state. Trump’s three rallies were held on behalf of Purdue and Lovler in Valdosta, Macon and finally Dalton (where, by the way, the rate of domestic cases of Covid-19 for 14 days was more than six times the number required to make Trump’s White House team on the Coronavirus Red Zone List). For his part, Vice President Pence made a final drive on January 4 through Milner, Georgia (population 654). Suffice to say, neither Milner nor Dalton got the job done.
The general election and run-off results almost certainly herald a period of Republican political violence against the Republicans that will extend during the current regular session of the Georgia General Assembly and a special reassignment session later this year, when any remaining survivors gather for new elections. Lines of the legislative district. More Republican collateral damage seems certain, especially in South Georgia.
At this point, the options for the Georgian Republican Party seem limited. The apparently earnest suggestion of a state party official in 2019 that Republicans use what he called the “fertility advantage” to crossbreed Democrats has yet to produce a known success. In the wake of the Senate run-offs last Tuesday, the Republican Party’s only known political response has not been to propose legislation addressing the economic, educational, or healthcare needs of their counties, but, as the Justice and Accountability Commission reported last week, to remove unexcused absentee voting, ballot drop-boxes. And unsolicited absentee ballot correspondence.
Charles Highlett is a former journalist and public relations professional whose blog focuses on how politics affects health, education, and the economy in rural Georgia.
© Problem in the Country of God 2021
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