Warnock win in Georgia would be far more than just a bonus
A win for Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Sen. Raphael Warnock will not just be a bonus for Dems; his victory would change the whole dynamic of the Senate in a divided government. | Brynn Anderson / AP

Some of the best news during the coverage of the midterm elections came Saturday night when the Nevada senatorial race was called for incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a victory ensuring the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

The House, it seems, will be run by Republicans by something close to the slimmest of all possible margins. The Republican majority will be so miniscule that they will end up with severe restrictions on the amount of damage they can do.

This makes the Democratic Senate victory a truly good reason to celebrate, considering they went into the election with a 50-50 standing and believing they had to beat down the historical pattern that said they should lose even that slim margin of control.

Analysts have correctly pointed out that winning Senate control will allow Biden to continue appointing judges and filling government positions of all types. While this is true, holding onto the 50-50 balance with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie is not enough. It doesn’t provide the people of the United States the ability to tear down some of the barriers that have prevented them from making all the progress they could have made thus far in the Biden administration. Nor will it be enough to tear down the barriers that will prevent them from making important gains going forward.

In short, transforming the Democratic victory in the Senate into a bigger victory for all the people of the U.S. will require the election in the coming Georgia runoff of Raphael Warnock.

After Cortez Masto’s win, there were comments on social media saying that Georgia was just a nice form of dressing that would add to the win that had already happened.

To begin with, that notion is a very crass and racist one. The people of Georgia, particularly the masses of African Americans who have shed blood, sweat, and tears to get to the point where their former slave state is represented in the U.S. Senate by an African American is not a victory that anyone should ever consider allowing to slip away.

All Georgians, Black and white, deserve an honorable progressive leader, which Warnock has been, as their senator. And the needs of voters beyond Georgia are very much at issue, too. Warnock has been a leader fighting for the interests of all working people and their allies across the entire country.

Beyond that issue—and the common-sense issues that include factors like at least two members of the Senate caucusing with the Dems being in their 80s, making it possible that Democrats could lose their majority at almost any point—there are compelling reasons why a Warnock victory is essential to protecting the interests of workers and their allies going forward.

We cannot ignore the fact that two of the Democrats in the Senate, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, have shown time and again that they are ready to sabotage the interests of workers and their allies when it translates to their own political gain.

An important cushion

A win by Warnock in Georgia would give Democrats an essential cushion against possible defections on key issues by either or both Manchin and Sinema.

His victory will allow Dems to lose Manchin or Sinema on any given confirmation vote.

But if Warnock loses, it gives Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (or whichever GOP Senator might depose him) more incentive to pressure Manchin to switch parties. We don’t know whether he would do it, but facing his need to be re-elected in West Virginia, who knows what he would do? Senators have switched parties before.

Even if Manchin and Sinema are never pushed to defect, a Warnock re-election would clearly diminish their power. Manchin would no longer singlehandedly have a veto on the entire Democratic agenda.

A Warnock victory will also make Sinema less likely to buck the Democratic Party majority. She sees how Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly was re-elected with nearly 52% of the vote. He ran as a Democrat backing his party.

Sinema also has to worry about 2024, when she will face a primary from a progressive Democrat. Already boasting her progressive credentials, she is offering to head up a Democratic effort to get same sex marriage rights enshrined into law.

So, while it cannot be said for certain, it is quite possible a Warnock victory will create a larger and less problematic Senate caucus when it comes to passage of progressive measures.

With 51 Senate seats, Biden can push through many more judges, and this is far more than just an issue of numbers. The pace of appointments would increase tremendously with no more Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocks that force Democrats to spend hours and days on floor votes for discharge petitions.

More important, a 51-vote majority helps Biden weaken control of courts by people put in position during Trump’s stacking of the federal judiciary.

The importance of the judicial appointments cannot be overestimated for working people and their allies. Right-wing Trump judges have already stymied Biden on student debt, mask mandates, immigration issues, and voting rights. Ending GOP rule over the courts is one of the most important parts of the fight to save democracy in the U.S.

But again, even without all of these reasons to re-elect him, Warnock is an excellent candidate and a superb senator. He is an incredibly effective African American representing a new Georgia shedding its past as a bastion of slavery. He is a progressive fighter everyone in America can and should get behind.

His opponent, Herschel Walker, is an unapologetic Trumpite with a history of violence against women. Despite paying for abortions, he hypocritically opposes abortion rights.

Warnock’s re-election will be a victory for justice and a huge win in the fight to preserve democracy in the United States.


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 and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. 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.