Things Are Looking Pretty Good In Georgia
Perhaps we can move on from confirming judges to passing legislation for reform.
I am pleased to see that with 98% of the vote counted, Democrats are winning two Senate seats for Georgia. The odds were against either one of the Democrats to prevail in this election. I went to bed last night expecting that they would lose. Even the statisticians at FiveThirtyEight were not that optimistic. Today I see that Raphael Warnock has won his race. Jon Ossoff leads by 16,000 votes at the moment. We can expect a change in the color of the tide in the news today.
Once both races are called, we can fairly assume that someone like Mitch McConnell will take a subordinate role in the Senate later this month. This is a long-overdue change. Mitch McConnell has been maintaining a logjam of legislation for years now, protecting the GOP members of the Senate from votes that would require them to show their constituents which side they’re really on.
The GOP will have 50 votes in the Senate, the Democrats will have 48 with two independents, and both of those independents caucus with the Democrats. With a Democrat sitting in the Vice President’s seat, Kamala Harris will cast the deciding vote if there is a tie.
I have to admit that I’m fascinated by this dynamic. There is a real chance we could pass HR 1. With HR 1, we would see real reform in our election laws to prevent gerrymandering, improve polling place access, voter registration, and restoration of the Voting Rights Act with defects cured in light of recent Supreme Court rulings. Outside of COVID relief, if there was a priority bill to pass, HR 1 would be that bill. HR 1 would also increase disclosure of campaign contributions, and combined with recent legislation that Trump signed to end shell corporations, we could see real changes in how elections are financed.
Maybe we won’t see Medicare For All this term, but at least Mitch McConnell can’t block the debate. We could at least bring all those 400+ bills from the House that have been waiting for a vote to a vote. This is what we have needed to see for a few years now. I was getting really tired of watching McConnell “protect” the president from having to veto bills on issues that matter to the rest of us. We understand you may have a disagreement with pending legislation, so let's have a debate, let’s not shelve the bills to protect your party. To me, seeing McConnell as a leader in the Senate was one of the biggest pain points. I’m breathing a huge sigh of relief that he’s going to be in the minority.
I have a lot of hope for today now that we can finally get some business done for the people. But there is one other thing that concerns me. The volatility of the GOP base is showing. According to Fox News, one Representative Chip Roy from Texas had this to say:
“If we have a Democratically-controlled Senate, we are now basically at full-scale hot conflict in this country, whereas right now we’re at a cold Civil War.”
So already, some Republicans are talking violent conflict? What that means is, “If we don’t get our way, we’re going to physically fight you until you meet our demands”. Might makes right, huh? I see that as a credible threat of violence. Let there not be a war of any kind except a war of words. Let there be civilized debate and leave the guns at home. If the tables were turned and the GOP had won last night, and the Democrats had threatened violence, the GOP would cry “Antifa!” This is a double standard that begs the question, “Who gave you a license to rage?”
With a nearly even split in the Senate, I am hopeful that both sides will start from a position of humility in their discourse. I am hopeful that we can debate the bills that have been sitting at the Senate Leader’s desk for years now, and move them, up or down. I am hopeful that we can finally start seeing real progress on the business of the people.