The Georgia runoffs are about more than just two senate seats

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In the much-anticipated Georgia Senate runoffs, the respective victories of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue speak to those two particular electoral races.

David Love, J.D.

The future of American democracy, should the country ever choose to practice that form of government, is in Georgia. In the much-anticipated Georgia Senate runoffs, the respective victories of Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue speak to those two particular electoral races. And yet, the implications of these Democratic wins speak to the hope of multiracial democracy and progressive change, and whether Americans can have nice things.

The optics and symbolism of these wins are clear, as a Black man from Dr. King’s pulpit, and a Jewish man in his early thirties are headed to the Senate from the bosom of the old Confederacy. On a basic realpolitik level, these wins are significant because they provide Democrats with Senate majority rule – with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tiebreaking vote – and a fighting chance to carry out the policies of the Biden administration. Crucial progressive initiatives such as COVID-19 relief, cancelling student loan debt, universal healthcare, climate change, voting rights, judicial reform and other matters hang in the balance. Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader and soon-to-be minority leader, is an evil reptilian monster who has blocked progress, shut the door on $2000 emergency COVID payments and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and would have blocked any and all legislation tied to a Biden agenda.

A state with a long history of civil rights violations and voter suppression from Jim Crow up to the present day, Georgia is the new Virginia – once a reliably red state, but now a blue state of sorts with the election of Joe Biden and two Democrats to the U.S. Senate.

The election of these two men reflects a new Southern Strategy. Over a half century ago, the Republican Party once cemented racist white support for their party in the South and presided over an exodus of segregationists from the Democratic Party. But today’s South is different. BIPOC folks and progressive White folks are forging a new majority for justice and equality. Black organizers such as Stacey Abrams of Fair Fight and LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter brought this victory, not for the Democrats but for the people, through hard work in registering people to vote and protecting their voting rights. Certainly, other states such as South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and others will follow suit, as Texas and South Carolina have flirted with the idea of political and racial transformation and parting ways with the Secesh, the Klan and the White Citizens Councils of the Old South.

As America becomes a blacker and browner country where younger people are asserting themselves and already a majority of children in this nation are of color – we will see more transformation of the South and the nation as a whole. It is fitting that the day we learn of the good news coming out of Georgia, the Banana Republicans, Proud Boys and other assorted domestic terrorists stormed the U.S. Capitol – a desperate act of Trump-inspired white supremacist insurrection, and a futile attempt to stop the Biden presidency and preserve their dear leader. Terrorists were seen carrying Confederate flags in the Senate during the coup, and a noose was erected outside the Capitol building. As this nation attempts – or at least some people try – to usher in a new America in which all of us are treated as human beings, the forces of white supremacy are working overtime to return the U.S. to the 1950s – or the 1850s.

Warnock and Ossoff represent the potential for the death of white supremacy in America. This is why their election is so important.