By Ralph Nader
Lots of people have Georgia and its crucial two Senate runoff elections next Tuesday on their minds.
Some people are pouring money into what will easily be the most expensive Senate races in history. Between the Democrats and Republicans, about half a billion dollars will enrich TV stations and their monetized media consultants, who take 15% of the ad budget. Others are working on getting out the vote.
The stakes are high due to who will ultimately control the U.S. Senate – either evil Mitch McConnell, who calls himself the “Grim Reaper” or Chuck Schumer with two new Georgia Senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Some observers are trying to convince the Georgia Democratic Party, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and Senator Schumer not to repeat the mistakes of the general election. Too much money is spent on too few issues, repeated ad infinitum on unimaginative TV ads and social media. The repetition and volume of ads are irritating viewers. Unfortunately, the political operatives are clueless about how to talk about the pain of white, blue-collar workers to go along with their identity politics.
There are campaigners in Georgia urging workers “to go vote for a raise.” The House of Representatives led by the Democrats even passed a bill to raise the frozen federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $15 per hour (in stages).
Corporate tool McConnell is bragging about blocking this bill (and 400 others) passed by the House. His hapless Kentucky voters sent the anti-labor Senate leader back for another term of big business service. He calls himself “the Guardian of Gridlock,” except, that is when it comes to giving goodies and more power to Wall Street and corporate supremacists.
The Democratic Party is focusing its attention on Atlanta and its suburbs, but there are a great number of Georgians outside that region. The voters in other parts of the state are not being given the attention needed, says Emory University Professor Drew Westen, an expert on Southern politics and why the Democrats keep losing there.
Tellingly Donald Trump, when he visited Georgia this month, went to Valdosta and Rome, while Joe Biden chose only to visit Atlanta. A highly regarded psychologist and author, Westen believes that the appeal of “go vote for a raise” – “you’ve earned this long-overdue adjusted minimum wage,” is a deep imprint issue that will reach people where they live, work, and raise their families.
Maybe it’s because the campaign coffers, so overflowing for the Georgia Democratic Party and groups led by Stacey Abrams, that Westen’s message skills are not being tapped. Many others, with ideas for reaching the decisive white, blue-collar voters, are also outside the golden cocoon that makes politicians so smug.
Greatly outspending the GOP, the Democratic Party barely elected Joe Biden. A switch of under 100,000 votes in 4 swing states (Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin) would have given corrupt, unstable, ego-obsessed Donald another four years. The Democratic Party did not win the Senate, squeaked through the House, losing seats, and did not reclaim one state legislature. Imagine all that money chasing the closed-minded Democrats and their so-called political strategists.
Just to test Westen and other’s complaints, I called more than once the offices of Stacey Abrams, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Senate candidates Raphael Warnock, and Jon Ossoff. I couldn’t get past the robotic voice-mail recordings.
It should be easy to defeat the two pathetic, super-rich, stock market-crazed incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. All they do is ditto the GOP’s attacks against “socialism” and calls to “defund the police” – neither of which reflect the positions of their cautious challengers. Once again, however, the Democrats failed to colloquially blow those accusations away and, in return, failed to charge Loeffler and Perdue with supporting gigantic “corporate welfare socialism” and Trump defunding the federal police fighting corporate crime and violence.
Sure, the Democrats are talking about health care, but not single-payer, and some general economic issues. To win, however, they need to cut into the GOP betrayed voters.
The GOP controlled state government has closed voting locations and is up to its usual chicanery and voter suppression. That means the Democrats have to win by more votes for a margin of safety. Against delusionary Donald – busy trying to steal the national election and the fevered, cold-blooded corporatist McConnell – this should be a piece of cake with obvious compelling messaging.
The problem is that Democratic messaging is the “same old, same old.” Tired themes that almost lost the Presidential election on November 3rd to the worst, most corrupt, anti-worker, anti-consumer, and anti-environment GOP in the Party’s corporate indentured history. Such limited pledges will not motivate new votes for Democrats in Georgia on January 5, 2021.