Come Jan. 5, 2021, control of the U.S. Senate will be decided by a pair of runoff elections in Georgia. I have Georgia on my mind both because I care deeply about the fate of our nation and because I have relatives down there.
The battle for the soul of the senate pits a Democratic challenger, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, against Republican interim U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and Democrat Jon Ossoff, a journalist, against Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Both Loeffler and Perdue are wealthy white folks who have pledged allegiance to President Donald Trump.
Trump and his trolls have been busy in Georgia as elsewhere trying to overturn the will of the people, alleging without a shred of evidence that tens of thousands of dead people, minors, felons, and out-of-staters voted illegally in November. Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are starting to look like the last honorable Republicans in Georgia for their refusals to knuckle under to Trump’s poisoning of American democracy with unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.
The truth? The votes have been counted three times. Joe Biden flipped red state Georgia blue by some 12,000 votes.
The run-off elections are required because no senate candidates received majorities in the general election. But can a pair of Democratic challengers upset a couple of fat-cat Republican incumbents? In Georgia? I doubt it. But I’ve sent a small campaign contribution south just in case.
Loeffler is a real piece of work. When appointed to fill an unexpired term last year she instantly became the wealthiest member of the U.S. Senate. In 2002, Loeffler went to work for a financial services provider called Intercontinental Exchange; two years later she married the firm’s CEO and became a vice president.
Loeffler’s primary contribution to Intercontinental Exchange was to set up an offshore tax haven for the company in the Cayman Islands. Did I mention that Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, purchased the New York Stock Exchange in 2013? She’s not a trophy wife. He’s a trophy hubby.
Perdue is apparently not a member of the poultry processing Perdue family. He made his money as a financial turnaround specialist working for Sara Lee, Haggar, Reebok, and Dollar General.
Both Loeffler and Perdue have faced ethics investigations for dumping millions in stocks just ahead of news that the coronavirus pandemic was about to sweep the country. Loeffler cannily put her loot into companies that stood to profit from the pandemic. Both Georgia senators were cleared of wrongdoing, but then so was Trump and we all know he was guilty as hell.
I watched just enough of a Warnock-Loeffler televised debate to see that Loeffler is a Fox-y GOP clone who answers all questions by accusing her African-American opponent of being a pro-abortion, anti-police socialist.
All anyone really needs to know about politics in America is that Democrats represent working people and Republicans represent the wealthy. In Georgia, they are the wealthy.
If Perdue and Loeffler win, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will maintain his stranglehold on the Senate and, thus, public policy in America. Conventional wisdom has it that American voters wanted to get rid of Trump but also wanted to keep a balance of power in Congress.
I don’t buy that for a moment. That’s just the way it worked out. Maine had a chance to fix that by defeating U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and blew it. Let’s hope Georgia doesn’t.
Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.