Dec 11, 2020 | OPINION | By Sam Pfeifer | Illustration by Bibi Powers
Far and away, the greatest thing to come out of the Georgia Senate runoff election, and from the debates last Sunday evening, was the Twittersphere as it has unfolded. If you are out of the loop, as a reminder, the elections are between Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rev. Raphael Warnock in the special election, and between Jon Ossoff and Sen. David Perdue. However, it is unclear whether Ossoff is running against a ghost or a real person after the debate, which Perdue refused to attend.
Prior to the debate, Ossoff certainly won the prize for being the most relentlessly vicious, constantly attacking Perdue for his cowardly behavior and refusal to debate him. Sen. Loeffler did not back down on painting Rev. Warnock as a radical liberal socialist whose agenda was simply too much for Georgians and America. On Twitter, Senator Martha Blackburn of Tennessee boldly stated that a vote for Ossoff is a vote for the Chinese Communist Party, which is honestly more laughable than it is compelling.
If any word can sum up what is going on in Georgia right now, chaos seems to be fitting. In other words, everything said and done right now is being thrown just to see what sticks, no matter how far it may be from reality. On the right, President Trump continues to trample all over to what seems to be a somewhat successful strategy of painting Warnock and Ossoff as shifty radical liberals by claiming the election was fraudulent. The worst part is that Loeffler and Perdue don’t seem to have a care in the world that this continual assault by the president could screw with their reelection chances.
The left keeps combatting President Trump’s incessant lies, bolstered by the GOP, through necessary fact-checks and the occasional laugh. Democrats seem to believe that if we continue to charge along and paint Loeffler and Perdue into the same picture with Trump and his recklessness, we will win! However, if there is anything that I believe could hurt Ossoff and Warnock, it is a lack of clear vision shared between the two candidates.
The on and off flirting with obvious progressive objectives, not just democratic policy goals, makes it confusing as to what exactly both candidates desire and support. Ossoff has stated publicly in interviews that he does not support hot button progressive policies such as “Medicare for All” and defunding the police. While Warnock has not publicly stated things like “defund the police,” he certainly shares a sentiment that we should be investing in institutions like preschools more than in our police and prisons.
Both sides are putting everything they have on the table hoping to avoid coming out empty handed. And I know that we are all so incredibly tired from the absurdity that makes up much of our daily news, but we must remain vigilant and informed. The election of President-Elect Biden is a mighty step, but without Ossoff and Warnock, I fear the next four years will be all too familiar.
Here is what I am focusing on as we get closer to the day of the election:
As much as the name-calling can be a bit blood boiling, at the end of the day, the outcome of this election is pretty existential. Dunking on people on Twitter and other platforms — at least by those terrified of the “radical liberal wrath” that may or may not descend on Washington with Biden elected — doesn’t seem to be very productive.
Don’t expect the race to go any particular way. As the election in November proved, we may get some understanding as to which way races might sway, but polls don’t mean everything. I really can’t say with a straight face that one side will be victorious over the other. FiveThirtyEight has Ossoff and Perdue in a dead heat at 48.6 and 48.2% respectively. Warnock currently sits at 49% whereas Loeffler closely trails at 47%. What matters is that actual people go out and vote. If you have friends or family in Georgia, pester them to make sure that they vote!
Put your money where your mouth is. If you have extra cash, go and donate it to the candidates that recognize our political reality and respect our democracy. My favorite political newsletter to read is written by journalist Isaac Saul. It’s called Tangle and if you haven’t subscribed yet, you should (if you have read any of my previous articles you would know that this man singularly keeps me sane in our crazy world right now). In discussing Perdue and Loeffler’s peddling of false claims about the election, he wrote, “At some point, I just snapped. I don’t want these people in control anymore. I’m sorry.” If it has gotten to a point where Saul feels he can’t sit idly by and stay fair and balanced, you know something cataclysmic is at play here. The character of our nation is on the ballot down in Georgia.