Georgia U.S. Senate Runoff Endorsement
The Centrist Independent Voter endorsed Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) in the general election. I have been asked whether that endorsement applies to the runoff election. It is not a trivial question. The situation has changed. The Republicans have secured a slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Democrats have secured at least 50 votes in the U.S. Senate. Nevertheless, the outcome of today’s runoff election in Georgia matters. With 51 votes in the U.S. Senate, the Democrats will have complete control of committee assignments and a majority vote on those committees. The Democrats will also have the ability to appoint judicial nominees without Republican consent. Those things matter. If the Republican Party was a center-right party and if Herschel Walker was a reasonable candidate, we might endorse the Republican candidate in the runoff in order to force the Senate to operate in the most bi-partisan way possible. Sadly, neither of those things is true.
The inability of Republicans, generally, to speak out and condemn Donald Trump for his threats to the U.S. Constitution and his association with a white-nationalist, anti-semite suggests that the Republican Party needs to experience another major setback to give them a little spine. The power of the “Freedom” Caucus in the U.S. House also illustrates that the Republican Party is far to the right of center-right and needs to step back before they can step forward again.
If the Republicans in Georgia had nominated a reasonable center-right candidate with a background and temperament that suggested he would be able to fulfill the responsibilities of a U.S. Senator competently and speak out against the far right elements of the Republican Party including Donald Trump, we might reconsider. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Herschel Walker is the handpicked candidate of Donald Trump. But for Trump, Walker would not be on the ballot. That alone is sufficient reason to oppose his election to the U.S. Senate. Beyond that, he is totally unqualified. His rambling incoherent answers to questions about the issues should give anyone pause in imagining him in the Senate.
What About Warnock and the Democrats?
You might respond by saying: yes, all of that is true, but do you really want to increase the power of the far-left by handing the Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate. There are two major things to fear from the far left: first, eliminating the filibuster rule in the Senate and second, packing the Supreme Court. The first concern is unlikely since the Democrats would not be able to pass any legislation without consent of the Republican controlled House. Eliminating the filibuster rule creates an enormous downside for Democrats, should they lose control of the legislature and the Presidency in 2024, without any upside. The second concern, packing the court, is impossible with a Republican controlled House.
It is true that we can expect a Democratically controlled Senate to add some left-of-center federal judges. With the U.S. Supreme Court now solidly right of center, there seems little to fear from a leftward tilt in the lower courts.
And what about Sen. Raphael Warnock? Warnock is no centrist. He is a solidly left-of-center Democrat, but he represents a purple state. If he wants to remain in the Senate, he knows he cannot drift too far to the left. Brian Kemp’s solid defeat of Stacy Abrams illustrates the point. Whatever you think of Warnock’s policy positions, he is intellectually and temperamentally suited for the U.S. Senate. Sadly, that cannot be said of his opponent, Herschel Walker.