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Why Georgia is Still a Must-Win Race
Control of the Senate may not be on the line in Georgia, but we still have to win
I breathed an audible sigh of relief on Sunday night when the alert came through on my phone that NBC News was calling the race for Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto — ensuring that Democrats would control the Senate for another two years.
It was nice to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner and not have to worry about a looming election for all the marbles. I enjoyed my turkey, reveling in the emotional distress felt by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest. Does that make me a petty person?
But those people are also pretty terrible and quite dangerous, so I am fine with it. Controlling the Senate changes everything. President Biden can continue appointing judges at a historic pace. Senator Schumer’s control of the floor gives Democrats invaluable leverage in the inevitable budget battles with the GOP House. We don’t have to spend every waking moment worrying about the health of Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
However, the runoff in Georgia is a must-win. We absolutely need Raphael Warnock in the Senate. We cannot afford to get complacent because control of the Senate is assured, no matter the result. What happens in Georgia on December 6th still matters for a few different reasons.
Herschel Walker is a dangerous loon with a limited grasp of reality and should not be allowed within 100 miles of the Senate. Full stop.
Personally, I would much rather have this guy in the Senate.
President Biden’s first two years in office were complicated by the obstinance of Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Because of the 50-seat majority, the President needed them to sign off on every bill and nominee. Their annoying opposition was so consistent that the duo was nicknamed “Manchinema” (which sounds like a skin disease or an anime series). Forgotten in the discourse, however, was that Manchin and Sinema often opposed the Biden agenda for different reasons. Manchin is very pro-coal but populist on taxing the rich and corporations. Sinema supports climate change measures but opposes raising taxes on rich corporations. Getting agreement from the two of them while holding on to the other 48 Senate Democrats and the House Democrats was the trickiest legislative wicket in modern history. Needing only one of them to get to the requisite 50 votes significantly simplifies the task of governing.
The Map Going Forward
We have to win in Georgia because we can. The Senate map in 2024 is brutal. There are very few pickup opportunities and lots of vulnerable Democrats running in tough states. Of the 33 seats up for election, 23 of them are held by Democrats, including in the states of Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia. These states are tough for Democrats in any year, but particularly in a Presidential election year with higher turnout. In 2020, Trump won Ohio by eight points, Montana by 16 points and West Virginia by 29 points! To survive 2024 with the majority intact, we need as big a cushion as possible in 2022. One seat is not a huge cushion, but every seat matters.
Margin of Error
I don’t want to be grim, but the Senate is filled with really old people. In a 50-vote Senate majority, there is no margin for error. The ability to pass bills and confirm nominees comes to a halt every time a member is sick or incapacitated. And not to be even grimmer, if a Senator from a state with a Republican governor were to pass away tragically, their replacement would be a Republican. A Senate majority is too important to rely on the health and well-being of a single person when many of those people are pushing 80.
One Step Closer to Ending the Filibuster
“Send us two more Senators and we will abolish the filibuster to codify Roe, pass voting rights legislation, and more” was a rallying cry for 2022. Unfortunately, that reality will not come to pass. The GOP took the House, ending any possibility for significant progressive legislation over the next two years. Even with a Warnock win, Democrats will be one short of removing the filibuster requirement for passing legislation. To have any chance of eliminating the filibuster in 2025, we need to win Georgia. As noted above, the Senate map is tough in 2024. There is a good chance we could take the House back. With the Republicans’ structural advantage in the House eroded, there will be at least 16 seats up for grabs that Biden won in 2020. A strong top-of-the-ticket performance in a Presidential election year could deliver Democrats the House and the filibuster-free Senate majority that we so desperately need. It won’t be easy, but it is possible.
How to Help Warnock
If you want to help elect Raphael Warnock, go to Vote Save America and donate to Warnock’s campaign, sign up to volunteer, and get information about how to vote in Georgia. You can also donate to the Every Last Vote fund, which supports grassroots groups working to turn out and educate voters in Georgia.
Let’s go win this thing.