Stacey Abrams Delivered Georgia for the Dems, Not Trump’s Quixotic Attacks on Democracy
There is a false narrative being perpetuated among major media networks that the GOP’s wholesale senatorial losses in Georgia were driven by Trump and Trumpism’s newfound adoption of anti-democratic viewpoints. This perspective (or some variation thereof) is being advanced from the most liberal outlets to those who allege a more fastidious statistical foundation for their assertions. The truth is, however, that Warnock and Ossoff owe their wins not to a GOP base devoid of faith in the democratic process, but rather the efforts of one individual: Stacey Abrams.
Let us look at the senatorial elections of the past in Georgia. While we have no direct analogue to this January’s stacked deck of both a runoff and special election, we can gain a sense of GOP voting tendencies in non-November elections in order to sense broad trends of conservative Georgian interest in runoff campaigns. Looking to Georgia’s Senate runoffs in 1992 (and for the sake of this analysis we will not consider prior ballot division, given that the historical platforms of these third-parties are not available in the early 90s), we see that Coverdell won despite losing in general election voting; despite his victory, he saw a drop-off of 473k voters (roughly 42.7%) between the original election and the runoff.
Similarly, here we see Georgia’s general election results from 2008, the most recent of the state’s senatorial runoffs. Saxby Chambliss, who left office in 2014, emerged from the general election with 49.8% of the vote. While his voter total equaled some three percentage points better than his Democratic challenger, it remained insufficient to avoid a runoff.
In the subsequent election, Georgia again saw a GOP victory on behalf of Chambliss who emerged from the scrum with 57.4% of the vote: a commanding win, for sure, but a number that belies the fact that he hemorrhaged some 639,000 voters (or roughly 34.2%) of his base between the initial election and the runoff despite a lead that was only three percentage points wide. Even a presumption of total third-party adherence to his campaign does not account for this drop-off.
With 2021 special election/runoff ballot returns still incoming, we can look towards 2008 (again, the most recent case study) and see that voter totals are up massively for both Democratic and Republican candidates. These increases persist despite only the most modest increases in Libertarian Party voting, the one party crestfallen Georgian Republicans seem to have attempted to adopt in the past.
The results of these figures reveal the thus-unspoken truth: GOP turnout was down only 10% despite Trump having done everything to napalm the proceedings. Historical trends, meanwhile, point towards anticipated drop-offs of nearly one-third to one-half among GOP general election voters for Georgia’s Republican candidates in state senatorial races. It can thus be considered that this GOP loss was not at the hands of Donald Trump and his conspiratorial thinking having driven voters away from the ballot box, a credo that the media continues to provide considerable attention, but rather the notion that if you empower the most disenfranchised via voter-friendly accommodations (e.g. early voting), they will turn out. For this, Democratic Party officials and voters alike must thank the genius and commitment of Stacey Abrams.
It was Abrams who drove the Democratic Party’s victory in Georgia and she should be regaled as having done such. Media outlets, however, seem to be lambasting Trump for his quixotic behavior and divisive language in an attempt to shift the narrative from an woman of color winning two senatorial seats to a crazed white male maniac having lost them.
To present the GOP implosion in Georgia as anything other than the end result of the tireless work of Stacey Abrams is disingenuous and presumes the state’s residents to be incapable of independent thought. Georgia’s Dem wins today rank among the largest in terms of American historical scope. It is because of the Senate majority conferred upon sanity that we can begin to tamp down on the social, health, and economic horror that is the ever-morphing danger of COVID-19. It is for this reason (and many more) that Stacey Abrams should be considered through the lens of her drive and intelligence, not as someone who exploited the multitudinous failures of Donald J. Trump.