Today (Tuesday, June 20th) the voters in Georgia’s 6th congressional district go to the polls in a special election to choose their new representative in the US House. This election is incredibly important for many reasons:
1. This is a traditionally conservative district in a conservative state.
Georgia’s 6th congressional district, just north of Atlanta, was Newt Gingrich’s home district from 1979 to 1999.
In 2016, the Republican incumbent won this district with 61.7%. In 2014, it was 66.04%. In 2012, Price won with 64.5%. This trend can be traced all the way back to 1978 when Newt Gingrich won the seat for the GOP by 7,500 votes. (https://ballotpedia.org/Georgia%27s_6th_Congressional_District_election,_2016)
The current polling between Democratic candidate Ossoff and Republican candidate Handel is within the margin of error. That means they are in a statistical tie. Come rain or shine, turn out will determine the outcome of the election.
The simple fact that the race is in a statistical tie is, to quote Joe Biden, “a big f***in’ deal”. This seat has been a guaranteed Republican seat since 1979. If guaranteed conservative seats are up for grabs in 2018, this will send a shockwave through all members of the Republican controlled House of Representatives.
2. If this district swings from being a GOP stronghold to being a Democrat-held seat, it will concern all members of congress up for election in 2018.
Certain congressional seats are considered guaranteed Republican holdings. These seats often breed the most conservative members of the House of Representatives as they have no need to be moderate, Democrats will simply never win.
Georgia’s 6th isn’t the only seat like this. Texas-26, the seat held by Michael Burgess, is another inherited Republican “guaranteed” seat. Michael Burgess is the author of the disastrous AHCA and a vocal advocate for big Pharma. From places like Georgia’s 6th and Texas’s 26th we find the most partisan, divisive rhetoric. They can say what they want about women and their bodies, about African Americans, about LGBTQ without reproach because the Democrats in their districts will never get loud enough to say “THIS IS NOT AMERICA.”
If Ossoff wins, every red district will be considered a toss-up for 2018. The rhetoric will become less extreme. The Democrats will nominate stronger candidates. The people will have a choice across the country that isn’t based on identity politics, but instead, based on issues and trust.
This means, the Republicans in congress will be afraid to push far right-wing agendas from now until election day in 2018. They will back peddle on the AHCA. They will avoid tax breaks for the rich. They will be more inclined to investigate into the cyber war propagated by the Russian Government. They will hold town halls. They will listen to our phone calls. They have to or, for the first time in many years, they could lose the House Majority.
3. If Ossoff wins, conservatives will blame Trump.
In mid-term elections where the President has an approval rating over 50%, his party loses an average of 14 seats in the House. In mid-term elections where the President has an approval rating below 50%, they lose an average of 38. That is a massive gulf.
The investigation into collusion with Russia has been stalled by Republican members of the House (remember Devin Nunes) in an effort to wait it out and hope it goes away. If Ossoff wins, it will show the GOP that the public not only supports an investigation into Trump Team’s collusion with Russia, but that defending Trump is a dangerous political decision.
97% of voters who strongly disapprove of Trump say they’re voting for Ossoff. If he wins, that will indicate that the public disapproval of Trump is so strong that it will harm Republicans in 2018 mid-terms. The coat-tails will be bad.
4. Dark posts are back.
The same team (Giles-Parscale) that engineered the dark posts in the November 2016 election are back to disenfranchise African American voters. They have sent out ads mis-quoting President Obama yesterday morning. On Sunday, Handel’s husband shared this post on Facebook:
The goal is to get the 13.4% of Georgia’s 6th that is African American to stay home. If you are in the 6th district and see an ad on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram today that is disparaging about African Americans regarding Democrats, Obama or Ossoff – SAY SOMETHING. This type of advertising is not intended to help democracy, its intended to dissuade voters from going to the polls.
Statistically, Democrats vote earlier than Republicans. That means all information that comes out in the next 12 hours will affect Republican turnout more than Democratic. Expect extreme rhetoric. Expect lines. Expect disenfranchisement. Stand up against it.
In conclusion, if Georgia’s 6th is won by the Republicans, nothing changes. We continue on with the division in our country and with no check or balance against the Obstructionist policies of the House and Executive Branch. Trump is emboldened. House Republicans feel safe to spew extremist rhetoric. Strong Democratic candidates will stay out of “red district” races. We get more of the same for the next year and a half. Maybe longer.
But, if Ossoff wins tonight, it changes everything.
Micah Crittenden is a Senior Writer for American Research and is available on Twitter at @thatgingerish