Democrats’ lack of action causes worry for future elections in Georgia

In November, Joe Biden won the presidential election over Donald Trump, and one of the most pivotal states in that election for Biden was the state of Georgia. It had not been won by a Democrat on the national level in nearly thirty years, and was forecasted to be a close race. The next January, the Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won both senate seats, giving the party the majority in the U.S. Senate. One of the primary reasons for the Democrat victory in both races was the promise of the 2,000 dollar stimulus relief check, an overwhelmingly popular position among voters. Polling at the time in Georgia showed as many as 78% of Georgia residents supported the proposal, and the Democratic adoption of them certainly helped Warnock and Ossoff get the votes of many swing or undecided voters, giving them the victory. Another important policy that led to the Democratic victory in Georgia was the adoption of support for the $15 minimum wage, a very popular position, as evidenced by the ballot initiative victory in Florida in 2020, that succeeded just as Trump won the state. A final overwhelmingly popular proposal in the 2020 general election was the public option in healthcare, which Biden endorsed as the moderate alternative to single-payer. Georgia polls have shown over 60% approval for the public option proposal.


However, the proposals that catapulted Biden, Ossoff, and Warnock to power in Washington D.C. are now leading to problems in getting implemented. The stimulus checks promised during the campaign trail were issued in Late March, rather than the “immediate” release promised. In addition, the $15 dollar minimum wage increase was proposed as part of the Covid stimulus, but it has been blocked by the unelected Senate Parliamentarian. The Parliamentarian is an official who issues informal rulings on whether certain Senate actions are constitutional. However, these decisions are not legally binding and can be ignored without repercussion, they are solely advisory.


Despite the ability of Biden’s administration to ignore the Parliamentarian, they have expressed a willingness to abide by the decision of a government official unaccountable to the ballot box. In addition, Ossoff and Warnock have not spoken up about the issue, preferring to speak broadly about the need for change, rather than directly speaking out against Biden’s lack of action. Finally, Biden has backed off on his public option proposal entirely, with him now advocating for government bailouts for private health insurance companies, and not having mentioned a government public option since January, before his inauguration. Instead, Biden has spent the first half of the year expanding the military budget and issuing sanctions against Cuba and Russia, furthering the new cold war that began under Trump.


Warnock will be up for reelection in 2022, Biden in 2024, and Ossoff in 2026, and the action or lack thereof taken by each of them during their respective terms will be a major decider of whether they are reelected or not. The fact that popular programs such as $2000 relief checks, a $15 dollar minimum wage, or a public option for healthcare may not be approved amid Democratic control of the Presidency, House, and Senate doesn’t spell a great electoral success for the Democrats in elections to come. Warnock and Ossoff were primarily elected to the Senate with the promise of action, and that is a difficult message to defeat; however, when speeches about change on the campaign trail lead to little change in office, constituents are unlikely to give officials a second chance.