Saturday, November 26, 2022

I'm Surprised It's Not Even More Lopsided

The Democrat-to-Republican spending ratio in the Georgia US Senate runoff between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, that is.

According to Newsweek as of last Wednesday, Democrats were in for $36 million on Warnock while Republicans were putting $20 million into Walker.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago (when I was still just four for five on my Senate predictions; my record has since improved to perfect):

If Cortez Masto does win Nevada, I don't expect big GOP funding for Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff. Even if he wins, that won't get the Republicans a Senate majority, and there are big down sides to giving the Democrats six years of great scandal/mockery opportunities vis a vis US Senator Herschel Walker.

Cortez Masto did win Nevada, and on net there's nothing the Republicans could get out of a Georgia runoff victory that seems worth much spending or effort.

The only real up side for Republicans would be slowing down some committee approvals on e.g. judicial appointments -- appointments that the Democrats will still have enough votes to confirm on.

As long as the Republicans have 40+ votes in the Senate, they can still block passage of actual bills by voting against cloture to keep them from coming to the floor for votes. Walker in that seat wouldn't really do anything for them.

And the Republicans have a tiny House majority, too. So no bills are going to Joe Biden's desk for signature or veto without at least some Republican support.

The down side to having Walker in that seat is that he spends six years making Republicans look like idiots both nationally and in Georgia.

Looking like idiots in Georgia is proving costly for Republicans in presidential elections.  After going GOP six times in a row (Dole, Bush the Younger twice, McCain, Romney, Trump), the state returned to the Democratic fold with Biden in 2020. Those six GOP victories are six of the total of ten time Republican presidential candidates have ever carried Georgia. The other four are Goldwater in 1964, Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1984, and Bush the Elder in 1988. Prior to that, the Democrats carried the state 24 presidential elections in a row going back to 1868, and another six of nine elections prior to the Civil War going back to Andrew Jackson in 1828 (it went Whig three times during that period). It even went for segregationist Democrat/Dixiecrat George Wallace, running on the "American Independent Party" ticket, rather than for Nixon (or Humphrey) in 1968.

It might be a little much to expect the GOP to overtly throw this runoff, but they have good reasons to not be that interested in winning it. Walker antics in the Senate could quite conceivably keep Georgia in the Democratic presidential column, which seems to be its natural home anyway, in 2024.

What do the Democrats get out of winning the runoff? Well, they get that slight amelioration of inconvenience when it comes to confirming appointees by getting committee majorities rather than tied committees. They protect an incumbent. And that one additional vote in pocket makes it just a little bit harder for e.g. Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to game a single "balance of power" vote for special favors or hometown political points.

The Senate seat just seems like it should be worth a lot more to the Democrats than to the Republicans.

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