I've been boggled by nearly all the coverage of the Georgia 6th Special Election for Congress. Mind you, I completely understand why both sides want to win. And why the optics of winning are so especially important.
What I don't understand is why the coverage is focusing almost entirely on those optics rather than the underlying reality.
Make no mistake, winning is the point of any race, and the goal. But this isn't like the Senate where a single seat can make a huge difference towards changing the majority power. Republicans still hold a large lead in the House, and this one election won't change that.
The optics say -- "If Democrat Jon Ossoff wins, that shows that Republicans are in serious trouble because they can't hold onto a deeply Republican seat. But if Republican Karen Handel wins, it shows that the anger against Republicans because of Trump isn't that bad, and they're okay."
Horse-pucky. The Republicans have already lost this race, and it's VERY BAD for them.
The Georgia 6th District is not a toss-up district. It's a heavily Republican District. By all reason, this should be a shoe-in for Republicans. They've held the seat for almost 40 years. And not just held it but by landslide margins. Only seven months ago, they won this very seat by TWENTY-THREE POINTS!
Read that again -- 23 points. (Republican Tom Price got 61.6% and Democrat Rodney Stooksbury only received 38.4%. Out of the 310,000 votes cast, Republicans got 72,000 more than Democrats.)
And in the final polls, Democrat Jon Ossoff was ahead.
And analysts think that it matters if Democrats win this race??? A race that doesn't come even close to changing party leadership in the House??? The Democrats have cut the margin by by 23 points! That's the reality. All we're down to today is "Get Out the Vote." Nothing more.
If Republicans happen to do a better job today getting out the vote and take blessed comfort from that, then they are living in a Fool's Paradise, and they deserve being run over by the bulldozer headed their way as they whistle a happy tune strolling obliviously down the highway.
Before Trump took office, the Georgia 6th was never a race that Democrats were planning on targeting in 2018. They didn't stand a chance of winning it. Winning it?? Good heavens, they lost it only 220 days ago by 23 points. And now, that 23 point safety net is completely gone!
Yes, I know that results also show that Trump only won the district by a few percentage points. But as much as he is driving the reactions, Trump is not running in this election -- the voters of the Georgia 6 are deciding on who they want to represent them. Jon Ossoff or Karen Handel. Who they want to be responsible for their personal issues and concerns. Whose office they can call when they haven't received their Social Security check or have bad mail service. Republicans should be thrilled that Donald Trump isn't actually on the ballot -- given that the only squeaked in seven months ago -- if he wasn't, a tsunami would like wash over the land.
As it is, things are bad enough for Republicans in the Georgia 6th. They lost a TWENTY-THREE POINT cushion in only seven months. And whatever the final results are today, that cushion loss doesn't change. It's gone. And that is horrific news for the Republican Party all over. Whether they view the results that way or not.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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