On April 18, voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District will go to the polls to vote for a new Congressman to succeed Rep. Tom Price, who became the new Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Early voting is an option in Georgia and the Democrats have fielded an unexpectedly strong candidate in Jon Ossoff, a 30-year old former Congressional aide to Rep. Hank Johnson and Rep. John Lewis. He has translated resistance energy into a big early voting advantage. According to New York Times election analyst Nate Cohn, Democratic primary voters are outnumbering Republican primary voters by a two-to-one margin.
Of course, this doesn’t mean anything at this point. Projections about Georgia early voting numbers, unlike Nevada, have not yet been able to swing a state (or district) in favor of the Democratic Party, even though Democrats are fans of early voting. And this is a steep hill to climb: Trump won this district (albeit by one percentage point) and Tom Price won by over ten points. Ossoff would need fifty percent of the votes in the first round of voting to avoid a runoff where the odds would be stacked against him in a much greater way.
Granted, this won’t change the majority in Congress, but this is an important benchmark for the Democratic Party. The road back to relevancy, and dominance, goes through the South and West.
The most devastating political implication of Trump’s election night victory was that he was victorious in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. These long-time Democratic strongholds successfully flipped because of the choices of White voters. Trump’s rhetoric on women and minorities accomplished its goal.
I’m not sure what it would take to get these voters back to the Democratic Party. I’m not opposed to anyone becoming educated about the implications of race and class in this country. But I would never advocate for a platform where there was a place for racism, bigotry and intolerance within the party. Those views should not be entertained.