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Polarized America: How Georgia Will Reaffirm a Divided Nation

The Gen Z Post Makes a Bold Prediction on the Outcome of Georgia's Senate Runoff Election on January 5th.

While most Americans celebrate the beginning of the new year, pundits in newsrooms around the world are placing bets on the outcome of the dual-seat January 5th Georgia Senate Runoff Election.

The election—which pits incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively—will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate for at least the next two years.

As of this writing, the Republican Party currently controls 50 Senate seats, while the Democratic Party controls 48. If both Ossoff and Warnock win, the Democratic Party will effectively control the upper chamber with the support of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who can cast a tie-breaking vote if needed. Harris, along with President-elect Joe Biden, is scheduled to be sworn into office on January 20th.

For context, the race between Perdue and Ossoff is a regularly-scheduled election. On November 3rd, Perdue had a slight advantage over Ossoff, garnering 49.7 percent of the vote compared to 47.9 percent for Ossoff. However, because Perdue did not meet the 50-percent threshold required to win in Georgia, the two top contenders were forced to compete on January 5th.

Jon Ossoff (L) and Senator David Perdue (R)

Meanwhile, the contest between Senator Loeffler and Reverend Warnock arose from the resignation of former Senator Johnny Isakson, who stepped down in December 2019.

Immediately following Isakson’s resignation, Governor Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler to serve the rest of Isakson's term. Under state constitutional procedure, a special election was held on November 3rd. In sum, Loeffler and Warnock advanced to the runoff race amid a crowded field of candidates.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (L) and Rev. Raphael Warnock (R)

So, which party will reign victorious on Tuesday night?

After conducting both quantitative and qualitative research, The Gen Z Post predicts the Georgia Senate election will result in a split verdict. Under this scenario, the GOP will win control of the Senate with 51 seats.

In essence, there is one factor that significantly benefits Ossoff and Warnock: Mitch McConnell.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

In recent weeks, congressional Democrats pushed to increase the amount of direct stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000, understanding the need for Americans to financially recover from the economic devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

While President Donald Trump has expressed support for giving $2,000 to every American, most congressional Republicans opposed the increase in direct payments. In fact, Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill to increase the stimulus checks to $2,000 for the fourth time in a row on New Year’s Day.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) recently blasted the proposal as “socialism for rich people.” As a result, his home in Kentucky was vandalized with the statement: "Were's [sic] My Money?"

As reported by the The Hill, Senator McConnell stated:

“While this huge new aid package takes effect, a bipartisan caucus in both chambers is not keen to let Speaker Pelosi and Senator Sanders to have universal cash giveaways regardless of needs,” he said.

Despite McConnell’s insistence, public opinion does appear to side with Democrats.

According to a poll conducted on December 21st by Business Insider, 76 percent of Americans believe the direct payments should be more than $1,000 per person.

While Senators Perdue and Loeffler have expressed support for $2,000 stimulus checks, Ossoff and Warnock—who both strongly embrace the payment plan—are using the opportunity to suggest that Perdue and Loeffler are impediments to the plan’s implementation, as they support Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader.

For this reason, as Georgia rapidly emerged as a competitive battleground state (considering the fact that it voted for a Democratic Presidential Nominee for the first time since 1992 on November 3rd), McConnell’s hesitancy to support the $2,000 stimulus checks could sway the election in favor of Ossoff and Warnock. Especially as the United States recovers from a severe economic recession, $2,000 could certainly persuade Georgians to support the Democratic candidates over their Republican counterparts.

Even if 12,000 people switch from Republican to Democrat because of the stimulus debacle, those voters could potentially determine the outcome of the election—just as it did in the November 3rd Presidential Election, when Joe Biden reportedly won the Peach State by a mere 12,000 votes.

While the stimulus checks could potentially hurt Perdue and Loeffler, there is still good news for the Republican team.

Even though David Perdue failed to attain the 50% threshold needed to win in the Georgia Senate race, he was still able to garner more votes than either Jon Ossoff or Shane Hazel, the Libertarian Nominee. More importantly, it is very likely that Libertarian voters who did not vote for Perdue may propel him to victory on January 5th.

As of January 2nd, 2021, the Associated Press reports that Perdue won 2,462,617 votes in the November 3rdelection; Ossoff received 2,374,519 votes; and Hazel garnered 115,039 votes.

Based on these statistics, if Perdue maintained his initial support, and persuaded only a few Hazel voters to his side, there is a strong possibility that he may be able to defeat Ossoff. Considering the fact that Libertarians are generally more likely to support Republican candidates than their Democratic counterparts, this is not a bad position to be in.

Since electoral returns from the recent presidential election demonstrate that some individuals voted for a mixture of Democratic and Republican candidates, the prediction of a split outcome in Georgia is not that outlandish.

For example, President Trump won 1,020,280 popular votes in the November 3rd general election in Oklahoma, winning the state in a landslide. Compare that to Republican Jim Inhofe, who received only 979,140 votes in the Senatorial election—a whopping 41,140 vote difference.

Meanwhile, Democrat Abby Broyles, who challenged Inhofe, won roughly 6,000 more votes than Joe Biden. In essence, while Republicans swept the Sooner State, data shows that some cross-voting did indeed occur.

In addition to ruby-red Oklahoma, President-elect Joe Biden won 2,608,335 popular votes in New Jersey. New Jersey, which hasn’t voted for a Republican Presidential Nominee since 1988, overwhelmingly reelected Democratic Senator Cory Booker. Yet, just like in Oklahoma, less people voted for Booker than Biden. So, even in ocean-blue states, it seems as if registered voters willingly break party lines and support other candidates.

For this reason, it is highly possible that there will be just a few voters who will split their ballots and effectively determine the outcome of the Georgia Senate election. While some polls have Ossoff and Warnock ahead of Perdue and Loeffler, evidence suggests that a small percentage of voters will break the 50-50 tug of war in the Peach State.

Article Written by Jett James Pruitt

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