By Robert Reich
The battle for the Senate is far from over.
Both of Georgia’s Senate races are going into runoffs, as no candidate in either race received more than 50 percent of the vote.
Reverend Raphael Warnock is facing off against Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. And Jon Ossoff is challenging Republican David Perdue.
The winners of the races, and – therefore – control of the Senate, will be decided on January 5th. If both Warnock and Ossoff win their races, the Senate is tied 50-50. And with Kamala Harris as Vice President, she’ll have the tie-breaking vote.
Here’s what you need to know about the Republicans defending their seats.
Kelly Loeffler has used her brief tenure in Congress to praise Trump at every turn, ignore the needs of her constituents, and protect her own bottom line.
In April, it was reported that she made millions of dollars worth of stock trades before the public knew about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the likelihood of a stock market crash. She began making trades the same day Congress received a classified briefing about the virus, and just four days later she accused Democrats of fearmongering about the virus and parroted Trump’s line that everything was under control. She has denied knowing anything about the trades, but the whole saga reeks of corruption.
Senator David Perdue also began making suspicious stock trades on January 24th, the day of the classified briefing. That same day, he bought stock in DuPont, a chemical company that produces personal protective equipment. Throughout the pandemic, he joined Loeffler in praising Trump’s deadly response and downplayed the virus to the public.
Perdue and Loeffler represent one of the worst tenets of today’s GOP: governing for personal gain while ignoring the needs of their constituents.
They’re also emblematic of the party’s overt racism: Loeffler called the movement for Black lives and racial justice “divisive” and claimed it “seeks to destroy American principles”, and Perdue recently went viral for intentionally mispronouncing Kamala Harris’ name at a Trump rally.
Loeffler has even been endorsed by right-wing extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon promoter with a history of making racist comments.
Oh, and they’re happy to parrot Trump’s baseless claims about voter fraud, even calling on Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State to resign because of supposed “failures in Georgia elections this year” – without providing any evidence of what those failures were.
Georgians deserve better. They deserve senators who will fight for them in Washington – they deserve the leadership of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Warnock’s platform is all about serving the people of Georgia – unlike his opponent Loeffler, who only serves herself and her rich friends. Warnock serves as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He supports Medicaid expansion, instituting a living wage, restoring the Voting Rights Act, and overhauling our cruel system of mass incarceration.
Jon Ossoff has dedicated his career to taking on corruption – a fitting replacement for David Perdue. Ossoff supports campaign finance reform; making massive investments in environmental protection to save our climate; protecting Roe v. Wade; and common sense gun reform.
Here’s what you can do to make the biggest impact in this make-or-break fight, which will determine whether we take back the Senate from Mitch McConnell:
— Georgians have until December 7th to register to vote in the runoffs. You can make calls to Georgia voters to help them get registered before the deadline. 17-year-old Georgians who turn 18 by January 5, 2021 are eligible to vote in the run-off election that will be held on that date. Please spread the word.
— Let locals lead. Donate directly to the candidates’ campaigns and to grassroots organizations led by communities of color, who worked tirelessly to register new voters and mobilize the state for Joe Biden. FairFight Action, New Georgia Project, and Black Voters Matter Fund are a few of the organizations to support in this moment and beyond. You can split a donation between FairFight and the two campaigns by going to GASenate.com, and donate to New Georgia Project (newgeorgiaproject.org) and Black Voters Matter Fund (blackvotersmatterfund.org) at their websites.
— Volunteer with the Warnock and Ossoff campaigns. You can find all the information you need by heading to mobilize.us/fairfightaction, mobilize.us/electjon, or mobilize.us/warnockforgeorgia.
Georgia, home to John Lewis, is now the ultimate battlefield, thanks to years of grassroots organizing by Black leaders like Lewis, Stacey Abrams, Nse Ufot, Helen Butler, Deborah Scott, Tamieka Atkins, and countless others. Their hard work has gotten Georgia to this crucial junction, and now it’s up to the rest of us to support them in every way possible.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Let’s bring this home, flip the Senate, and usher in the transformative change this nation requires.