Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Since November 3, not a second has gone by that I haven’t gotten a frantic, pleading, imploring email from first, Joe Biden. Then after that: Kamala Harris, the Democratic National Committee, the slew of flip Georgia Blue Committees and groups, and the two Democratic senatorial candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. They want money, money, and more money. Their pitch is that practically the fate of the Republic rides on them winning the Georgia senate races. The other side has said the same thing and is tossing the bank along with a non-stop vicious propaganda barrage of lies, slanders and red baiting to keep the two seats GOP.
The race is a close poll run up but given the nature and recent history of Georgia politics, the GOP has the edge. They have a governor and secretary of state who will do all to suppress, toss, jerry rig the vote. They will close polling places or limit polling in Democratic friendly districts. They will almost certainly file lawsuits if the balloting tilts toward one or both Democratic contenders.
I’ve contributed money to the Dems campaign and encouraged through social media others to do the same. I’ve encouraged many who want to help to plug into a cyber volunteer network to get out the vote. All this to boost the Dems chance for victory.
But if they don’t win, all is not lost. Start with Biden. He snatched the big prize. The Oval Office not Congress is still the command center for government. Biden has formidable weapons to get things done. He’ll follow the template former President Obama used when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP controlled Senate tossed every obstacle humanly possible at him to dither, delay, and torpedo his proposed legislation and initiatives. Biden will brandish the executive pen to scrap Trump’s executive orders giving the company store away to the gas and oil companies and big corporate landowners to rape federal lands and wilderness areas, and waters. He’ll follow that with a wave of executive orders on the Paris Climate Accords, DACA, student loan forgiveness, and ending the ban on the use of federal funds for abortions. He will have a professional, politically savvy team of appointees who will stock government agencies with competent, qualified functionaries who know how to effectively run government departments. He will get the funding that their departments need to operate efficiently.
He will have the powerful bully pulpit of the presidency to cajole, whipsaw, and where possible, cooperate with McConnell and the GOP Senate to get some parts of his program through with minimal interference. At times he will likely get one, two, even three GOP senators on board on some initiatives. He can use that same bully pulpit to sell his presidency and programs to the general public and the media.
Then there’s the 2022 midterms. The GOP has seemingly an impossible near two dozen seats to defend while the Democrats have only a handful. “Seemingly” because the GOP has a powerful arsenal. They control the majority of state legislatures that will call the shots on slated reapportionment, have an array of vote suppression ploys, and can mount endless court challenges on the bogus issue of alleged Democratic vote cheating. However, defending nearly two dozen seats is still tough and will be made tougher if the Democrats can sustain the type of GOTV ground game that flipped Georgia for Biden.
A Democratic flip of a just a few Senate seats while holding onto their House majority will be politically cataclysmic for Biden. With McConnell out of the driver’s seat, Biden will have the chance the Democrats haven’t had in a long while to ease dozens of judgeships, and department appointments through. He can expand the Affordable Care Act, have a fair shot at passing comprehensive immigration and criminal justice reforms, initiate the start of a real green energy program, and ramp up aid to education, housing, and the states.
A Democratic Senate Majority Leader will be able to stand on its head the labyrinth of the Senate’s arcane procedures and rules, as McConnell has craftily done. This ensures that only the most moderate, finely honed, and compromised legislation is passed. The Senate’s dominance doesn’t end with fine-tuned legislation, but appointments and confirmations.
It is the sole determiner of who sits on the high court, the lower court benches and who bags key spots in federal agencies. These are all top-grade posts that initiate, make, and implement crucial policy decisions after many congresspersons are long gone. The Senate Majority Leader has virtually dictatorial control over which of the president’s nominees are put to a confirmation vote.
Biden will also have America’s changing voter demographic heavily in his and the Democrats favor. In two years, voters will be younger, more LGBT, gender and ethnically diverse. This will have greatest politically game changing impact in the Heartland states and the South. The GOP full well knows the peril in this change and will continue to try and pull out all stops to head off any slippage in its local and national power.
Biden’s win in Georgia, though, showed what a determined Democratic ground game can do. If it’s done again in 2022 and beyond, losing Georgia then won’t be the end of the world for the Democrats.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of What’s Right and Wrong with The Electoral College (Middle Passage Press). He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles.