Democrats win georgia runoff, flip senate

Jon+Ossoff+addresses+a+crowd+Nov.+10%2C+2020.+Ossoff+later+won+David+Perdue%27s+Senate+seat+after+the+Jan.+5+runoff+election.

Photo by John Ramspott used with permission from Wikimedia Commons.

Jon Ossoff addresses a crowd Nov. 10, 2020. Ossoff later won David Perdue’s Senate seat after the Jan. 5 runoff election.

Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia were sworn into the Senate on Jan. 20, along with 46th President Joe Biden, turning the Senate blue.

This event comes as a surprise to Democrats and Republicans alike, who never expected the Southern and historically red state of Georgia to elect two Democratic senators. “I am thrilled that Georgia has stepped up and is now representing groups of people who have had their voices stifled in the past. Reverend Raphael Warnock is a wonderful, inspirational leader who has deep roots in Georgia and will continue the strong representation of Black civil rights leaders in our country,” AP US government and Law teacher and SGA sponsor Fevronia Cresham said.

The results were announced on a tumultuous day, during the infamous Capitol riot, where Trump supporters vandalized and broke into the Capitol in an attempt to stop the counting of electoral votes. “I think that this year’s runoff results were truly something phenomenal and that we definitely made history. Although the announcement of the results was overshadowed by the Capitol riots, they are still extremely important to acknowledge and celebrate as flipping the Senate has a tremendous effect on this country’s law making process,” senior Rishika Jadhav said.

I think that this year’s runoff results were truly something phenomenal and that we definitely made history. Although the announcement of the results was overshadowed by the Capitol riots, they are still extremely important to acknowledge and celebrate as flipping the Senate has a tremendous effect on this country’s law making process”

— Rishika Jadhav

Georgia’s two Senate seats were up for grabs in the 2020 presidential election, with Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler having the incumbent advantage over Ossoff and Warnock. However, the four candidates had to wait a few more weeks after none secured the 50% majority required to win by Georgia election laws. The elections were sent into runoffs set to take place on Jan. 5.

This night was a success for Democrats already. Although they hadn’t won Georgia just yet, they had prevented both incumbents from securing reelection. This is due, in part, to the mass voter registration efforts of activists like Stacy Abrams, who, through grassroots efforts, helped register tens of thousands of Georgia voters. “The results also emphasize the importance of voter outreach, registration, and turnout (thank you Stacey Abrams) in every state,” Jadhav said.

It is often said that one disadvantage Democratic candidates of any office face is the historically low turnout of Democratic voters. Although progressives frequently seek change and progress in their government, they generally lack the drive to actually vote to see such change through. “Both Warnock and Ossoff show that if young voters and minority voters stand together and VOTE, they can elect representatives that they can identify with, and who will listen to their voices and try to make changes,” Cresham said.

However, the exact opposite of the usual was seen in Georgia this election season, for both the presidential election and the runoffs. Democrats showed up in historically high numbers all over the country, but especially in Georgia. Conversely, Republicans came out (or mailed out) in much lower numbers than necessary for a conservative win.

After former president Trump failed to secure reelection to the presidency, he preached voter fraud and broken machines, hidden ballots and miscounted votes. Most consequentially, though, he spread the unfounded rumor of election insecurity. Republican government and campaign officials began to succumb to the idea that the runoff election was not worth voting in because of rampant election insecurity and fraud, which of course, was nonexistent. Republican voters took this to heart, showing surprisingly low turnout when Jan. 5 eventually came. This unprecedented flip in voter turnout ultimately led to two significant Democratic wins.

This makes the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency all controlled by Democrats, opening the doors for President Biden to pass substantial legislation, at least until the midterm season, where either congressional chamber could be flipped red once more. “It is so exciting to see what has happened in Georgia – and if it can happen in the deep South, it can happen anywhere in the US. People need to VOTE!” Cresham said.