Democrats nationwide breathed a sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate races in Arizona and Nevada were finally called. Victories in these two states ensure Democrats will, at the very least, maintain the chamber’s current 50-50 split next year.
Only one state’s outcome remains undecided: Georgia. Once again, the Peach State will see a runoff election, now between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.
In 2020, Georgia drew the nation’s attention. With control of the Senate on the line, outside money and organizing muscle poured into the state on each side. Some may ask whether the stakes are as high this year.
After all, Vice President Kamala Harris is Senate President and can break any tie. But the stakes in Georgia are still sky-high, requiring all of us to meet the moment and go all-in over the next three weeks.
First, Georgia’s multiracial working class deserves representatives who will fight for them and not the powerful, privileged, and well-connected. Every day Georgians and grassroots groups have been organizing in the face of blatant voter suppression for nearly a decade to ensure the state has representatives accountable to the people, and we can’t lose ground now.
The contrast between Sen. Warnock and Mr. Walker could not be starker. Warnock has been a leader in the fight to lower the outrageous cost of insulin, guarantee paid family leave and raise the minimum wage — and to protect abortion rights. Walker opposes all of these basic rights and benefits for working people and hasn’t shown the temperament, judgment, or basic fitness to lead. He would be a rubber stamp for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, full stop.
But beyond Georgia’s interest in having accountable representatives, we all have an interest in seeing Warnock win. There are real benefits to expanding the Democratic majority from 50-50 to 51-49. Democrats have delivered significant legislation for the American people over the last few years, from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to the infrastructure bill, but that process has been halting and chaotic and often at the whims of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV.) and Kirsten Sinema (D-AZ.).
At different points, both Manchin and Sinema unilaterally weakened proposed legislation, whether it was Sinema scaling back prescription drug plans or taxes on the wealthy or Manchin forcing huge fossil fuel subsidies into the ultimate IRA. Having an extra “cushion” in the legislature wouldn’t counter a united Manchin and Sinema, but it would allow us to bypass one of them. It would also allow bills to flow through Congress more quickly — with or without their support — and allow for a Democratic Senator to be absent without necessitating delays.
At 51-49, Democrats would have majorities on all levels of committees that affect our daily lives. We would also have the power to issue subpoenas and faster confirmations for judges and other officials. No self-respecting basketball team would tell itself that a score of 51-50 was “enough” and stop playing to win. We have to fight for every point on that board because each one makes it easier to meet people’s material needs.
A stronger majority also helps provide a vital cushion in case there is a sudden vacancy or to shore up the Democratic caucus in future election cycles. The Senate map in 2024 looks bruising for Democrats, where they will have to compete in some of the most conservative states in the nation. Democrats need as big a Senate majority going into that election cycle as we can muster if we want to maintain some semblance of governing power in the coming years.
Georgia remains a key battleground that we must contest for the sake of everyday Georgians and working families across the country. We need every single registered voter to come out and help us grow our majority in the Senate and to ensure Georgia has appropriate and effective representation. The good news is that, after years of building and organizing, grassroots groups like the Working Families Party, Black Voters Matter, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Care in Action (among several others) have the infrastructure and people power to go toe-to-toe with Republicans statewide. They need your support, whether it’s volunteer hours or small-dollar contributions.
Now is not the time to throw in the towel. We’ve got a chance with the Georgia Senate runoff to score another big win for the people on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Let’s bring it home.
Britney Whaley is the Southeast Regional Director of the Working Families Party.
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