Democratic victories in Georgia end GOP rule in the Senate
Raphael Warnock becomes the first ever African American in the Senate from Georgia. | Brynn Anderson/AP

ATLANTA — Democrats have taken control of the U.S. Senate after six years of racist and obstructive rule over that institution by Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Raphael Warnock, the Democrat who defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler, made history by becoming an African American to be sent to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, part of the former Confederacy. He declared victory in the very early hours of the morning when major networks were about to declare him the victor.

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff declared victory Wednesday morning over Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue in their runoff electionone of two Georgia elections held Tuesday that will end GOP control of the Senate, depose Mitch McConnell from the position of Majority Leader and replace him with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and bring the disastrous Trump presidency to a crashing end.

Activists across the country are celebrating with the knowledge that the American people, in a period of two months, have ended the Trump presidency by electing the Biden-Harris ticket, retained control of the House, and ended years of right-wing, racist, and obstructive Republican rule in the Senate.

Ossoff held a 17,000 vote lead at 9 a.m. this morning with mainly strong Democratic areas the only significant votes outstanding, and his declaration of victory came only six hours after Democrat Raphael Warnock was declared the victor by the major networks.

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said. “Thank you for the confidence and trust you have placed in me.”

In true Trumpian style, neither Perdue nor Loeffler has conceded.

Warnock won in the special election runoff to serve the remainder of retired U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term.

“Tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work, and the people by our side, anything is possible,” Warnock said.

Loeffler is in Washington today for the certification of the Electoral College results, where she plans to join the Sedition Caucus trying to overturn the results of the presidential election.

The victories in Georgia and the subsequent takeover of the U.S. Senate by Democrats come because of a powerful mass movement of African Americans, Latinos, progressive whites, and labor and its many allies who have spent years battling voter suppression and Jim Crow racism in the Deep South state. Paramount among the leaders who have spearheaded that campaign has been former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who spent years preparing the ground for this victory against voter suppression.

The victories boost the chances of enactment of Joe Biden’s progressive agenda and increase the chances Americans will have to dig themselves out of the deep hole into which they have been thrown by Republican and Trump policies. The results give Georgians hope that they will be able to save their own lives in the coronavirus pandemic and that they will get the help from government they so sorely need. The victories give hope to all Americans that they too have a better space in which to fight for their needs.

It’s not just in Atlanta that Republicans had a hard time yesterday. In rural areas where the GOP needed to run up the score, Republican turnout was down more than Democratic turnout compared to the November general election.

The groundwork done by the progressive movements in Georgia was key.

Turnout was higher in Democratic-leaning areas. The chairman of the board of elections in Fulton County, which includes most of heavily Democratic Atlanta, told reporters that Election Day turnout surpassed the general election turnout.

To gain control of the Senate, Democrats needed to win both seats, which would now yields a 50-50 split with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. Had the Republicans won just one of the two seats last night they would have maintained control and would have been in a position to block much of the Biden agenda.

A record 3 million voted early in Georgia with about one million voting on Election Day. The voter turnout itself was a victory over vote suppression in Georgia.

Jon Ossoff becomes the youngest person ever to be voted into the US Senate from Georgia. | Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

President Donald Trump, who held a rally for the GOP ticket Monday night, continued to challenge his loss in Georgia as he campaigned there.  Republicans now playing the blame game say Trump’s focus only on his own needs is to blame for their losses in Georgia.

In the wake of the losses in Georgia the GOP Sedition caucuses in the House and the Senate who are challenging the Electoral College votes in Congress today are expected to have to wage their attacks on democracy with much of the wind taken out of their sails.

Three-quarters of Georgia Republicans think the 2020 presidential election was unfair, while 93 percent of Democrats say it was fair, according to NBC News exit polls. Apparently, for many Republicans, the only fair elections are elections they win.

Trump tweeted last night that this election, like his, was stolen.

Due to pressure from Trump, Perdue and Loeffler tried to strike an impossible balance, on one hand backing Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud while on the other encouraging their voters to participate in the runoffs. The results show the problems with following the advice of Donald Trump, a one-term disaster of a president.

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CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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