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GOP Must Cut Infighting or Lose Winnable Georgia Seat

Posted on Friday, December 2, 2022
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by Daniel Berman
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AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

Georgia

There is one place where the 2022 midterm elections are not yet over. That is the state of Georgia, where Republican Herschel Walker will face off against incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock on Tuesday, December 6th in a runoff. With Senate control not on the line and much of the media having moved on to their new favorite story of “Republicans in disarray,” the election has received far less attention than might be expected.

While the January 2021 Georgia runoffs decided control of the Senate, and the runoffs this year will only decide whether Democrats hold 50 or 51 seats, the contest is still critically important. Under Senate rules, while Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote gives Democrats a voting majority in a 50-50 Senate, the Vice President is by definition not a member of the Senate and cannot sit on committees.

That means that when the Senate is split 50-50, so too are Committees. This is one reason many of Joe Biden’s nominations have moved so slowly. In order to move out of committee and onto the floor, nominees and legislation either need at least one Republican to vote in favor or abstain. The only alternative has been for Chuck Schumer to force a floor vote, using the Vice President, which requires every single Democratic senator to be present each time. While Schumer has been willing to do this for a few high-profile items, it is impractical for most nominations or legislation.

A 51-seat Democratic majority would allow Democrats to stack the Senate Judiciary Committee, rapidly expediting the process of judicial nominees reaching the Senate floor. Biden is already outpacing former President Trump’s rate of judicial confirmations, something which should deeply concern conservatives.

A 51-seat majority would also reduce the Democratic dependence on Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona. In the last Senate, Democrats required the support of both Senators to pass legislation. If Warnock wins reelection, Democrats would only need one of them. If this were not dangerous enough, both are up for reelection in 2024, with Sinema fearing a primary. It is hard to see her isolating herself when faced with that challenge, suggesting that she might be more willing to go with the rest of the party than she has been the past two years.

Finally, winning 51 seats would make Democrats’ difficult task of holding the Senate in 2024 slightly easier. The 2024 Senate map is brutal for Democrats, who have few viable opportunities for gains and are defending incumbents in Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia. Securing the Georgia seat until 2028 would mean they could hold the Senate by winning two of those three seats, rather than needing to hold all three. Still very hard, but much more doable.

Very little of this has been communicated to voters. Some of that is understandable; Senate control is easy to explain, while the different procedural elements of a 50 or 51 seat majority are much more complex. But matters have not been helped by infighting between different national Republican groups following the midterm results. The Senate Leadership Fund, headed by former staffers of Mitch McConnell, has partnered with Governor Brian Kemp’s get-out-the-vote operation to run a campaign separate from that of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by recent McConnell rival Rick Scott of Florida.

There have also been divisions over surrogates. While some national Republican figures, including Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, have campaigned with Walker, the effort has largely been left to Governor Kemp and state GOP figures. The explanation is again national politics. With the party divided between critics of former President Trump and his supporters, inviting any potential 2024 candidate to campaign for Walker would offend all others. The result is that rather than both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis being able to campaign for Walker, neither is expected to stump for him, instead planning speeches delivered remotely. Even Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who campaigned for Walker in September, may not return, lest it be confused with a presidential campaign stop. The divisions over the 2024 presidential race have therefore crippled the ability of any prominent figure from any faction to campaign for Walker.

Democrats have not suffered from these problems. Both Barack and Michelle Obama plan to hold rallies for Warnock, while Michelle has also cut an ad for the Democrat. Biden, who campaigned for Warnock in December of 2020, has kept away this time, leaving it to the Obamas. But with senior GOP figures paralyzed, Republicans are outgunned.

The same is true of spending. As of a week before the run-off, Democrats had outspent Republicans more than 2-1, $36.5 million to $15.3 million, indicating GOP donors are as paralyzed by the impending 2024 race as are GOP leaders.

Despite these drawbacks, the contest remains close. The two most recent polls, one by Philips Andover Academy, and the other by Frederick Polls, have Walker leading by one and the race tied, respectively. Both find Libertarian voters splitting overwhelmingly for Walker, and reduced Democratic margins among persuadable voters. Both, however, also projected older and whiter electorates than November. By contrast, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s poll a week earlier had Warnock leading by 4 with a sample with similar demographics to November.

Projecting the makeup of the electorate ahead of time is difficult. It is somewhat easier in Georgia, where as much as 70% of the vote is often cast early. While early voting for the runoff this year is restricted to a single week, already it is breaking single day records, with 310,688 votes cast on Wednesday, November 30th alone. In total, some 1,144,158 votes had been cast, of which 54% were listed as white, 33.3% as African American, and 9.4% as other. 56% were female, while 44% were male. 6.8% were between the ages of 18-29, 7.2% 30-39, 11% 40-49, 31.9% 50-64, and 42.9% 65+. Each day, the electorate has become whiter and older, with the African American percentage falling from 46% on Sunday night to 40% Monday night, 35.2% on Tuesday night, and finally 33.3% at the close of voting Wednesday.

Compared to the final figures for November, the African American figure is still well above the 29.2% they made up at the end of early voting last month. While we will have a better idea of where we stand on Friday night, the last day of early voting, indications are an electorate which may not be substantially whiter, but will be substantially older than in November. As Walker performed much better with older voters, this suggests that the polls showing a close race are likely correct, perhaps with a 1% or so edge to Warnock, understandable given the vastly greater resources he enjoys.

The disparity in organization is probably the greatest explanation for why the GOP is having so much trouble in Georgia.

GOP sources have stressed that rather than focusing on “turnout,” they are instead working on “persuasion,” in other words trying to convince voters who cast ballots for Kemp in November but not for Walker, or even for Warnock, to change their minds.

The best interpretation of this strategy is that it may be “something.” But in practice, it is hard to see many November Warnock voters switching to Walker when the “stakes” are seen as even lower. In reality, it seems bragging to the media about the focus on persuasion is an excuse for not undertaking the much more expensive and difficult work of organizing voters and bringing them to the polls. “Persuasion” can be done by commissioning ads and giving interviews to the media. Organizing would require actually traveling to Georgia and going door to door. Instead, there seems to be an effort to make up for that with negative ads attacking Warnock on issues such as women’s sports, where his position has long been known. While Walker is likely on the right side of the issue, the decision to make it his closing message reeks of Washington consultants who do not want to do get their hands dirty on the ground. 

Democrats’ success with “turnout” is not merely a matter of moral fortitude. It is also a consequence of money and organization, especially with a week-long Election Day. It is hardly surprising that if Democrats are outspending Republicans more than 2-1, they are able to get more of their voters to the polls early.

The GOP will have plenty of time for infighting later. In the meantime, they would be well-advised to put a hold on their sniping and focus on holding a Senate seat. If Warnock wins, he will have it for six years. The race is far from lost according to polls. If the GOP is losing, it is in large part because segments of the party have decided they aren’t interested in winning.

Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.  

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PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

The most important sentence in the entire article is “If the GOP is losing, it is in large part because segments of the party have decided they aren’t interested in winning.” This would be the RINO wing of the Republican Party headed up in the United States Senate by Mitch McConnell. His strategy for the entire midterm campaign cycle, aside from ZERO real messaging, was to only support candidates that would vote for him as Senate Majority Leader. That is if the GOP had actually won control of the Senate.

McConnell controlled well over $250 million dollars in campaign funds to make or break Senate candidate campaigns, depending on whether they aligned with supporting Mitch. Those that supported him got millions in campaign funding. Those that didn’t found their campaigns starved for cash against very well funded Democrat opposition. The results of such childish self sabotage by “The Turtle” helped deliver the kind of results one would expect.

For McConnell, he got selected once again as Senate Minority Leader. A position, which for him, works out just fine. He still calls all the shots regarding who in the GOP Senate minority sits on which committees in the Senate. Which means he controls the political careers of every Republican Senator. McConnell gets no direct responsibility or accountability for delivering any real results for the American people, because as minority leader he doesn’t really control the Senate’s overall legislative agenda. That will be set once again by Chuck Schumer, who takes orders from AOC. So it is a big win-win as Mitch might say. This of course frees up a lot of time for Mitch to focus on making money from his side hussles and family business. The only losers in this whole deal are the American people, who will get to witness more instances of Mitch leading his band of merry RINOs walk across the aisle to help the Democrats every chance they get. And to think some people still wonder how the United States has declined so much over the years. It is because of small minded, self-serving RINOs like McConnell who placed personal money and power over the oath of office they swore.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

GOP Must do these:
Rebrand
Reform
Reorganize
Dump RINOs
Dump DC RNC Estd
Or lose GA & 2024

J. Farley
J. Farley
1 year ago

I watched with great interest the low-life RINO Lieutenant Govenor of Georgia trashing Herchel Walker, I don’t know him, but a Box of Rock probably has a 10-point higher I. Q. than him, the Republican Party needs to take him to task and censure him and run him out of office. He sounds like a real racist!

Corbin L Douthitt
Corbin L Douthitt
1 year ago

Sad to see Herschel at the mercy of the GOP “leadership”. Warnock is a race monger. He needs to go.

Charlie
Charlie
1 year ago

Walker is not going to make it. Between the well oiled Dem machine and Repub end fighting, Herschel did not stand a chance.

William Hodge
William Hodge
1 year ago

Again an example of GOP taking a win and turning it into defeat. Not a good candidate, McConnell backstabbing, just a terrible effort all around.

Rhonda
Rhonda
1 year ago

It’s always about money. How bout the American people really look at the candidates and vote from their heart and not all the mud slinging. Walker is, in my opinion, the candidate to bring America back to normalcy. Let Warnock and his merry band spend their money

NewDay
NewDay
1 year ago

Republican party better get with it and defeat the democrats, if they don’t, they may never regain control of anything. The media, the elections, federal law enforcement are all polarized and it will get worse if the repubs fail to win some elections. They are starting to look like the party of last place.

Frank
Frank
1 year ago

All this infighting is caused by the Liberal Supporting Rhino Republicans so it will not be ending anytime soon. The Rhinos are intentionally doing this to keep a Donald Trump supported Republican from winning. Until all the Braindead Rhino supporting AHoles pull their heads out of their A$$E$ and vote the Rhinos out this will never end. The voters in Cheney’s state wised up so now the other voters in other Rhino states need to follow suit.

Grace
Grace
1 year ago

Divide and Conquer has always been the Democrats mantra. Republicans fall for it every time. Republicans have a good heart but a soft brain. Until they get rid of the RINOS and malcontents like Romney, Kinzinger and Chaney and demand some loyalty and discipline in the Republican organization they will never again be more than second string. In fact if the Globalists in the Democrat party succeed and take over the partyin 2024, there will be no more Republicans or Independents, ever.

Richard Hennessy
Richard Hennessy
1 year ago

Republicans must quit the infighting, but must also recognize that conservatives are the only strength of the Party. In the name of unity, conservatives must not bend to the RINOs. The RINOs have no core values that are acceptable to Republicans, are an embarrassment to the Party through their distortion of the conservative message, and must be removed from office.

George Washington's Admirer
George Washington's Admirer
1 year ago

Money directed where? Money directed by Marxists to the demonizing of conservatives. Talk to some people attending college institutions. They can tell you about the persona of the conservative. They can tell you how a capitalist system is evil and can not work. They can tell you that Republicans are all alike in their views. Yes, the Democrats have spent tons of money with their propaganda line. The ‘woke’ philosophy seems to be the arsenic seeds of the apple. Mainstream Media is focused today on politicians who are not ‘woke enough’ or hang around with political extremists. (They are careful not to use the ‘extremist’ label too much.) After all, they want you to believe that they have successfully splintered the conservatives. Casting doubt upon the water!

Marie Langley
Marie Langley
1 year ago

Let’s get real. We all know Herschel will not win. The fix is already in. The evil Demoncrats at it again. Sadly, I don’t believe we will ever have a fair election ever again. I’m really sad

TOMASD
TOMASD
1 year ago

There are some republicans that continue to cause issues within the party because they are the true SWAMP republicans. They appear to be on a different team but they are on the same team that only cares about power, money and control.

CHARLOTTE M JOHNSON
CHARLOTTE M JOHNSON
1 year ago

I am very tired of all the fighting in the Republican Party. They are their worse enemy – not the liberals. The republicans need to keep their differences private like the liberals.

Marc
Marc
1 year ago

How much money did Mitch give to Keri Lake? Oh ya, he funded her rival.

Dick Rohloff
Dick Rohloff
1 year ago

Once again, the Republicans appear on the verge of snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory!!!

William C Smith
William C Smith
1 year ago

Some GOP representatives and senators seem to avoid being connected to the team and tend to rush to the other side on certain issues. The primary endeavor appears to be focussed on perpetual fund-raising, one I no longer support. Time to sit back and watch the action. The next election is two years away. Meanwhile, take up knitting, or mow the grass.

Steve
Steve
1 year ago

Not only does the Party need to clamp it down, so do the voters, who, as you can read for yourself on many of these message boards, continue to harp about fraud, stealing, etc. when a lot of what goes on in completely legal in many States and the GOP and its voters continue to not understand this and continue to lose.

Gloria
Gloria
1 year ago

George Soros is again doing election interference. He has sent Warnock millions of $$$. That’s why they have so much more. Soros needs to be banned from the U.S. as he is from Russia and other places. Like Satan, his goal is to kill, steal and destroy. What this author says about Trump and DeSantis shouldn’t play a part in this important election. It’s stupid and childish, but so is our population anymore. Crybabies about all things.

Hal-
Hal-
1 year ago

In an election this close, the DemocRats will do just a little rigging to likely produce a win for the DemocRats.. It is still true that the DemocRats have not lost them their talent and opportunity to rig the voting system. Until the voting process is truly make not vulnerable the vote rigging will continue.

BACKWOODS
BACKWOODS
1 year ago

Brunson case going in front of SCOTUS Jan.6, 2023. Pray

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

Who releases all this early data on voters? Age, gender, white or African American should be private info on voters & not made public. Is this why some states make you designate a party to vote in Primary elections the last few years?

Max
Max
1 year ago

BOTTOM LINE: This election runoff has already been decided. The Dems will get the seat through their usual cheating way.

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace
1 year ago

We better get used to this. Since cheating is ok, we will lose from now on.
I’m sickened by the Republicans and how they do nothing.
We are all in the same sinking boat.

NewDay
NewDay
1 year ago

With all the problems we have because of democrat leadership the repubs should have had no problem putting dems to shame in this last election. If they didn’t know already it should now be clear to the Repub Party that they have a major message problem.

Sam
Sam
1 year ago

But will ‘they’ listen? Nah. That would involve effort, and no one wants to make that sacrifice.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 year ago

I’m really tired of these people… consider me an INDEPENDENT! Someones gonna have to buy my vote next election.

A. E.
A. E.
1 year ago

Here is an experiment that will make people think regarding the swing states election results.

To be clear this is just an opinion. I am not making any accusations or inferences.

Take the poll averages posted on “real clear politics” website on Nov. 6 and Nov.7 2022.
Compare with the election results of those states.
Check which of those states use dominion election machines.
Do the same for the 2020 elections.
Makes you think right?

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Herschel Walker is a good man. Is he perfect? Are any one of us? If the repubs fail to back him, this tells us a lot about the repub party (RNC). Just as the dems and “rock star” Obama support Warnock, this should tell us all that we need to know. Of course despite all of this, there is still the election fraud thing that the democrats have perfected to their advantage. Do we really have that many ignorant voters? Time will tell.

Fed Up
Fed Up
1 year ago

Laudable reasonings. But when the elections are rigged (I mean, c’mon) the fine tuning of the fickle GOP is energy wasted. Good article though.

Bob Acker
Bob Acker
1 year ago

Get real. This is over.

Rubewaddell
Rubewaddell
1 year ago

The reason the GOP is going to lost in Georgia is that the party selected a person who has no business being in the Senate. Even the GOP Lieutenant-Governor refused to vote for him.

Charles Ray
Charles Ray
1 year ago

Walker is a clearly disturbed person. Republicans can’t continue to be so arrogant that they think ANYONE they nominate will easily beat a “librul”.

Claudia Larson
Claudia Larson
1 year ago

Swampwork

stt
stt
1 year ago

Just in time for Sunday Service – Christian Georgia Vote Guides
commoncts.blogspot.com/2022/12/just-in-time-for-sunday-service.html

ExGOP Texas
ExGOP Texas
1 year ago

Even the GOP realizes that herschel walker has no qualifications to be in the Senate, that he cannot be allowed to vote in that body. The GOP has abandoned integrity in a quest to keep the trailer park crowd happy.

me myself
me myself
1 year ago

” The result is that rather than both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis being able to campaign for Walker,” In reality, Trump is not campaigning because if he did so it would guarantee Walker would loose. DeSantis is not campaigning because he’s afraid walker will loose anyways and being associated with that loss will cost him political capital. The resasons the author of this piece gave are deliberate and intentional lies.

NorthEastern
NorthEastern
1 year ago

Why anyone would want to elect an obvious imbecile to an august seat in the US Senate is beyond me. Walker is not fit to serve in the Senate. Vampires v. werewolves??? What nonsense on the campaign trail.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

The dims will run the Senate even if Walker wins. This vote means nothing

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

Too bad your message is ignored. Now that Biden has laid the knockout punch to the Repubs by
winning the GA senate race, the time for talk with no action is over. Who knows what the
Repub leadership has learned over the past 30 days. Possibilities: 1. nothing (very likely) 2.
Trump is the only leader the party has 3. They are too lazy to care (20% probability)
4.They will accomplish nothing next year (almost guaranteed). Gee, I wish there was a party
I could get behind but it won’t be this group of no-bodies

jocko
jocko
1 year ago

EVIDENTLY THE DUMB MF libs ENJOY TRIPLE FOOD PRICES AND HIGH GAS PRICES.

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