Sweet Georgia on My Mind

Picking over the pit the Peach State spit out for the rest of America to choke on

By Dave Skinner

Wow, it’s been a crazy new year in Washington, D.C., even depressing if you’re a Republican. First came the Georgia runoff results, meaning two honestly socialist Democrats replaced two supposedly capitalist Republicans. The next day, January 6, President Donald Trump’s last (and epically huge) rally blew up first into a protest and then a riot that breached the Capitol security perimeter and disrupted the Electoral College confirmation proceedings. Wow, that’s something new…

As I write this, the new U.S. House voted to send articles of impeachment against outgoing Trump, with the new 50-50 Senate convening the 19th and Joe Biden being inaugurated the 20th. Hopefully, the inauguration will be boring.

I’m ready for boring, and aim to give you some boring, by picking over the pit the Peach State spit out for the rest of America to choke on. Georgia has a weird system. In both primaries and general elections, the winner has to score over 50% of votes cast. If nobody gets 50% plus one, there’s a special runoff of the top two held eight weeks later — and the top regular vote getter doesn’t always win the special. In really stacked districts, you’ll sometimes see two candidates from the same party advancing to the general election.

In the 2020 general election, Georgia cast about 4.998 million votes for president. In the Senate races, the David Perdue/Jon Ossoff race gathered 4.952 million votes. The special general election (called a “nonpartisan blanket primary”) for the other seat, opened by the health-driven resignation of Johnny Isakson? Well, there were 20 candidates fighting for 4.914 million votes!

The first item of note is the gap in votes cast for prez and Senate, 46,000 in the Perdue/Ossoff race. While there is always “falloff” in ballots from the “top” races to the bottom, keep in mind Trump lost Georgia by only 12,670 votes (after three recounts). Wouldn’t you love, love, love to know from where those 46,000 president-only ballots were cast, by whom, and how that specific chunk of votes tallied out? Oh, my, I sure would, but after the Capitol nightmare, nobody — ever — will.

The second notable item (actually a double) spills out of the “normal” Senate race, between Perdue and Ossoff. In the general election, Perdue beat Ossoff by 88,000 votes, but didn’t get a majority. Can you guess why? Yes, baby — see, there were three party candidates with the third being the good old Libertarians — who cast 115,000 votes for their guy! That left Perdue votes short of an outright majority. Even sweeter, in the presidential race, there were 62,000 votes for the Libertarian national candidate — the Green was write-in. Easy math, right? For a small-L sorta-libertarian like me, yes. I always vote for the most-libertarian Republican in primaries with a choice — and always, least-worst in the general. For big-L Libertarians, that’s apparently too complicated.

Finally, there’s the “special” November Senate race. No less than six GOP candidates combined for 2.59 million votes, a clear 52.9% majority of the total. The eight Democrats all told scored roughly 2.35 million votes – all this for the chance to go to the Senate for just two years.

Eventually, January winner Raphael Warnock managed to capture an impressive 98% “return” of Democratic November votes in January’s special, netting 2.287 million votes. In the other Senate race, Ossoff’s “return” was a nice 95%. The Republicans? Combined, the GOP “returned” only about 87% of their November voters in January. The lesson there? Democrats showed more of everything … more lust for power, more focus, more unity, more motivation, more stamina, clearly more organization and very likely more money.

I honestly resent having had to suffer eight long weeks of Georgia (and its nutty election system) on my mind. Georgia kept the entire country (or at least those Americans who pay attention) on edge, on top of all the other garbage spilling from this 2020 election like no other that itself was spawned by a disease like no other. 2020 should have been a prosperous yawner of a year, with a nice, boring boom, and a boring yawner of an election. Instead, it’s been the absolute pits — please, let Georgia’s pit be the last for a while.

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