Democrats Win Big in Georgia
By Sam Hartjes
The Democrats did what no one expected them to be able to do: win Georgia in the presidential election and win both senate seats. This solidifies a huge Democrat victory in the 2020 election cycle. Democrats have control of both the house and the senate, which is huge for President Joe Biden. With the 50-50 split produced from the victory of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, Mitch McConnell, the boogieman for the Democrat party, goes from the majority leader to the minority leader, stripping him of all power that made it so he could prevent legislation from getting passed. This has sprung the door wide open for Joe Biden to make sure his agenda is achieved during his tenure.
So how did we get here? Nobody, not even Joe Biden, thought both democrats would win. The reason Democrats were able to pull this off is because of one woman: Stacey Abrams. In 2018, Abrams ran for Governor, however she lost to Republican Brian Kemp. This was in large part due to deliberate disenfranchisement of communities of color by the Georgia government. After losing due to this disenfranchisement, Stacey Abrams founded the organization Fair Fight Action. According to The Hill, Fair Fight Action had registered over 800,000 people in the former red state for both the general and runoff elections. Stacey Abrams has referred to this as the result of over a decade of work, and it has certainly paid off for the Democrats. Right now, signs are pointing to Abrams running for governor again in 2022, where she hopes to defeat Brian Kemp, and also aid Raphael Warnock in winning re-election.
The newly elected senators are historic themselves. When Raphael Warnock was born, the two senators for Georgia at the time were staunch segregationists. Now, Warnock is the first black senator in Georgia's history, and only the second black senator elected in the south since 1877. Warnock’s priorities as senator are to expand health coverage and to raise the minimum wage, which complement some of the priorities of the Biden Administration. Warnock will also be up for re-election in 2022 due to this being a special election, however if he wins again he won’t be up for re-election again until 2028. Then we move on to Jon Ossoff, who will become the first Jewish senator in Georgia’s history. Additionally, Ossoff, who is 33, will be the youngest democrat sworn into the senate since Joe Biden. Democrats are absolutely ecstatic at Ossoff winning, as he solidifies himself as a part of the future of the Democratic party. He joins a list of strong, young Democrats like representatives Connor Lamb and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as soon-to-be Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
Now, with Democrats in control of the house, senate, and presidency, all eyes turn to Joe Biden. The 46th president made a lot of hefty promises during his campaign, and now it’s his time to enact these policies. While passing legislation is going to be significantly easier for Joe Biden, it will still not be free of difficulties because of one man: West Virginia senator Joe Manchin. Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the senate, essentially has to vote republican at times throughout his term due to him being in a very red state. This means that in order to secure at least 50 votes on legislation, Biden and congressional Democrats may have to compromise on some legislation.
This being said, moderate Republican senators may side with Democrats on issues as well, especially with senators like Ben Sasse, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney all going against Trump on numerous occasions. In the end, while senator Manchin may be an inconvenience for the president at times, by no means is he an excuse for Biden and Democrats to not get legislation passed. Additionally, if Democrats want to perform well in the 2022 midterm elections, they are going to have to pass legislation and fulfill promises they made to their voters. 2022 is especially important after Democrats lost significant ground in the house in the 2020 election, as well as there being both Democrat and Republican senate seats that are vulnerable. This shows that winning the Georgia seats isn’t the end of the battle for Democrats, but merely the beginning.