Friday, April 16, 2021

Guest Blogger: “The importance of the Georgia Runoff Senate Election”

Georgia was BLUE, yes, it was BLUE during a long period.

Up until 2003 Georgia Governors were Democrats, President Jimmy Carter was among them (1971 – 1975). It voted for presidential democratic candidates up until 1960 with John F. Kennedy, then again in 1976 and 1980 with Jimmy Carter, for Bill Clinton in 1992, and finally again in 2020 for President-Elect Joe Biden.

In the Senate, Democrats lost their first seat in 1980, by 2005 Republicans had control of both Senate seats and with this special runoff Senate election, Democrats can flip them blue.

By doing this, Georgians will help President-Elect Joe Biden and VP Elect Kamala Harris deliver on their campaign promises. Let’s remember that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he will block every legislation possible that comes from Democrats, just like he blocked quick passage of a bill to increase coronavirus stimulus payments to $2,000, arguing the measure has “no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.”

According to the 2019 Census Bureau, Georgia’s population was 51.8% White, 31.5% Black, 9.8% Latino, 4.1% Asian, 2.1% Some Other Race, 0.2% Native American and Alaskan Native, 0.1% Pacific Islander and 2.1% from two or more races.

And even if more than 31.5% of the population is Black, no one from this group has been elected Governor or a United States Senator. Stacey Abrams lost the 2018 Gubernatorial election, due to many voter suppression activities in the state. Abrams would have been the first black woman as Governor of the state of Georgia. What this election generated was a motivation of many Black people to participate, because it gave them hope that Georgia can change.

According to a study done by NBC news between November 4 and December 7, there were 67,135 new registered voters in Georgia. The most interesting findings in the study are the demographics of these new voters. A total of 29,850 (44%), are affiliated with Democrats, 27,455 (41%), are affiliated with Republicans and 9,830 (15%) are independent or affiliated with another party. Another interesting part of the study shows that white voters make up 52% (35,021), Black makeup 34%, Latino voters make up 5% and Asian Americans make up 4%.

Even though Latinos make up over 9.8% of the population, the participation in 2018 was 3.6% and in the November 2020 General election, the participation was a little over 7%. Latino participation doubled in two years due to Register to Vote campaigns and GOTV campaigns promoted by organizations such as Latino Victory or Poder Latinx.

During the Senate Runoff Election, Latino Victory has had an active campaign called “Vamos Georgia” where Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Kate del Castillo, Frankie Negroni, Henry Muñoz, Kyle Ferrari, Mayra Macias, and Elsa Collins (She Se Puede) toured several counties in Georgia with high Latino population.

Many other organizations are working on grassroots campaigns such as The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), Battleground Canvassing, or Working America (the political organizing arm of the AFL-CIO), that are knocking on doors and explaining to Georgians that this election is not about Georgia, it is about the path of the country will take in the next decade.

As of Sunday, January 3, 2021, a total of 3,032,066 Georgians had voted during early voting or vote by mail. But, today if Democrats want to win, then Georgia voters, Black, Latinos, progressives, undecided voters, men, women, young voters, senior citizens who believe in democracy and integrity need to vote.

Voting for Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff means defending issues important to Latinos, Black,  women, the working-class, LGBTQ community, minority groups, among others. Some of the key issues are finding a way to citizenship for DACA students, stimulus checks to help working-class families get through the covid-19 pandemic, strategy to get those vaccines for Covid-19 on everyone’s arms during 2021, for this to happen states need resources and money, among many other issues. But most importantly, the country needs healing, and at least in the next two years, a Democratic Senate will help accomplish this.

Enrique Davis-Mazlum, is a political analyst on Mexican & US elections, author of the book “Grassroots: The Sleeping Giant”, he has an Honoris Causa Doctorate and Ph.D. candidate in Politics with Gender Focus.