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Robert Reich: Defeating McConnell And The Real Stakes Of Georgia Runoffs – OpEd

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The upcoming runoff elections in Georgia are about more than replacing two corrupt Republican senators with Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They are about flipping the Senate.

They are referenda on the disastrous tenure of Mitch McConnell and the damage the Republican Party has inflicted on America.

I don’t want to mince words. Mitch McConnell is the most duplicitous, morally bankrupt politician in America. (Well, maybe Trump beats him, but not for long.) He has wielded the GOP to inflict massive damage on our democracy.

In 2016, 293 days before the presidential election, he stole a Supreme Court seat by refusing to even give President Obama’s pick a hearing, claiming it was too close to the election to fill the seat. 

But when Ruth Bader Ginsburg tragically passed away in September, 2020, he engineered the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, just 8 days before the 2020 presidential election and after 60 million Americans had already cast their ballots.

That’s not all. After blocking many of Obama’s nominees to the lower federal courts, he rammed through nearly 230 of Trump’s judicial picks, reshaping the federal courts for decades to come.

In 2017, McConnell rushed through the Senate, without a single hearing, a $2 trillion tax cut for big corporations and the super-rich. Despite his lofty promises, that tax cut increased the government debt by almost the same amountgenerated no new investment, and failed to raise wages. Nothing trickled down.

Meanwhile, McConnell has blocked nearly 400 House bills addressing major issues like a minimum wage increase, voting rights, and gun reform.

After the pandemic hit, McConnell refused to extend extra unemployment benefits beyond the end of July while insisting on giving corporations immunity from Covid lawsuits if their workers got sick. And he refused financial aid to cash-strapped state and local governments facing massive budget shortfalls — dismissing it as a “blue state bailout.”

Senate Majority Leader, McConnell also helped subvert our democracy by refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win for more than a month.

Mitch McConnell cares about only one thing: Power. He has single-handedly turned the Senate into a failed institution that has abandoned the American people for partisan gain. 

And that’s what the Senate will continue to be — unless Georgia elects Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. If McConnell remains in control of the Senate, it will be impossible to enact the bold changes this nation requires.

Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue are terrible politicians, but these historic elections are about more than defeating them. They’re about defeating Mitch McConnell and rebuking everything the GOP stands for. 

On January 5th, Georgians can make it happen.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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