Today, Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia will see if they get to keep their jobs in a pair of run-off elections that also determine control of the U.S. Senate and whether or not the legacy of President Donald Trump will remain as intact as possible.
The Senators are facing a pair of Democrats – Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively – and polling has shown the races to be pretty close, if not slightly edging in the Democrats’ favor. Of course, polling was so far off in November that trusting them now would be insane.
But, there is a worry that they aren’t so far off this time, primarily as Republicans are concerned the “Stolen Election” talk may have suppressed some of the votes. Early voting numbers for Republicans in Georgia lagged behind where they were heading into November, but there is a belief behind the scenes that the Republican voters out there are simply so distrustful of the early vote that they are going to the polls days of.
The facts are simple and don’t bear much repeating: If Republicans want to ensure the most extreme parts of Biden’s agenda (gun control, expanding the Affordable Care Act, and others) don’t get enacted, they have to turn out today. If Democrats want at least two years of unchecked power, they have to turn out today.
This is the moment, however, that 2020 dies and we can move on. The election cycle will be over.
I mentioned a while back that Republicans in Georgia (and the rest of the country) currently have a choice: They can continue fighting here or they can lay the groundwork to start making bigger gains in 2022. Given the demographic shifts we saw in November – Republicans made gains in every demographic except white voters – there is plenty of room to go in and grab some key voting groups in Georgia and elsewhere.
One of the areas where Republicans can really get an advantage is moving more forcefully on championing school choice and combating the teachers’ unions that are forcing poor, minority students to stay in failing schools. Black families are eager to get better opportunities for their students, and school choice has been very well-received by black voters.
You want proof? Consider that Andrew Gillum of Florida and Stacey Abrams of Georgia both ran on getting rid of school choice and charter schools and neither is a governor right now.
Black and Hispanic voters also responded very well to the economic success of Trump’s first three years as President. Record low unemployment for both groups and Republican policies put them there. There is a reason, after all, that we are looking at a split government rather than total Democratic control.
As 2020 dies, the Democratic Party’s hold over several demographic groups can die as well. They are more interested in keeping those groups where they are rather than provide real opportunities for them. Those voters recognized how much of an impact the Republican administration had, though they were not necessarily a fan of the President himself. If Perdue and Loeffler both hold on to their seats, the Republicans have a very strong headwind going into 2022, where they can even break the Democrats’ hold over the House.
But… that requires Republicans to prioritize this long game and focusing on policy rather than continuing to fight the battles of 2020. I get that many of you are still very passionate about the way the presidential race turned out, but your options are to focus on that at the expense of the future or work harder to make the future right again.
It shouldn’t be that difficult of a choice.