48 votes

In Georgia Runoff Elections, (D) Warnock wins vs (R) Loeffler, (D) Ossof very likely wins vs (R) Purdue

Text post because the big news companies are cowards playing it safe and not calling Ossof yet, though it's basically over

Warnock makes history with Senate win as Dems near majority (AP News)

My takes below:

What does this mean?

This gives Democrats a thin majority in the senate. Does it mean they have free reign? No, the party is not that unified. In particular, as you probably have heard his name many many times now, Manchin, the "conservative Democrat" from WV is likely to be the kingmaker in votes. So it's not like just anything can get passed, and Manchin will not eliminate the filibuster easily.

So is it pointless?

ABSOLUTELY NOT

It's a huge victory nonetheless for Democrats. Remember, with control of the Senate, Chuck Schumer will be Senate Majority Leader, who controls what legislation the senate votes on. Even bipartisan bills were consistently torpedoed by McConnell who would refuse to even have a vote on it. Now, there is politics that can be done - deals, compromise, whatever. If you can't vote on something, nothing can be done. Things that are overall popular like increased stimulus are also going to pass.

Additionally, perhaps an even bigger deal, Biden can get his nominations through for cabinet and judges. There's an insane amount of unfilled heads of state departments right now, and the rest are filled with people absolutely unfit for the job. Having a real human being be the head of the EPA, or Department of Education, or the Department of Energy, and so forth is a big deal.

It also means that Justice Breyer can safely retire and have another "liberal" Justice take his place.

It's not sweeping control over the government, but it's a immensely superior political situation to McConnell stone walling anything he doesn't want, and Biden having to haggle with McConnell over how incompetent his cabinet needs to be.

19 comments

  1. [11]
    Amarok
    (edited )
    Link
    Welcome back, dixiecrats. Let's hope y'all do a better job this time around. It's been a while. <3 Georgia really came through for this country at the last minute. The checks are a shoo-in now,...

    Welcome back, dixiecrats. Let's hope y'all do a better job this time around. It's been a while. <3

    Georgia really came through for this country at the last minute. The checks are a shoo-in now, and likely so is legalization of cannabis at the federal level (which the house has already passed). M4A's chances just improved. Kamala's tiebreaker powers just became much more relevant. Federal aid to the states that are hurting just became possible, too.

    Chuck is one of my senators. I remember meeting him at the Corning Glass museum when I was like 15, still in high school. He's no angel but he's better than Mitch any day of the week and twice as good on Sunday. He won't stonewall a vote on the floor just to be an obstructionist asshole. This has a very real chance of turning the senate back into a functional, able-to-vote legal body again.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I know you don't mean anything by it, but "Dixiecrats" isn't just Democrats in the South. It refers to segregationists. There was even a short-lived political party called the Dixiecrats.

      I know you don't mean anything by it, but "Dixiecrats" isn't just Democrats in the South. It refers to segregationists. There was even a short-lived political party called the Dixiecrats.

      10 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        I know, and the irony of a black senator from Georgia in this context is delightful.

        I know, and the irony of a black senator from Georgia in this context is delightful.

        5 votes
    2. [3]
      Micycle_the_Bichael
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Unless something has changed I really have a hard time believing that. The most recent statements from Biden that I can find say he supports decriminalization but not legalization. Here's what I...

      and likely so is legalization of cannabis at the federal level

      Unless something has changed I really have a hard time believing that. The most recent statements from Biden that I can find say he supports decriminalization but not legalization. Here's what I have as his recent statements from ontheissues

      • 1980s drugs bill, passed by all 100 Senators, was a mistake. (Oct 2020)
      • Trump is for more in jail; I am for drug rehab, not jail. (Oct 2020)
      • Mental illness causes drug abuse, not other way around. (Oct 2020)
      • Rehab but no jail time for drug use; decriminalize marijuana. (Oct 2020)
      • No one should be going to jail because they're drug addicts. (Aug 2020)
      • Will fight for policy of decriminalizing marijuana. (Aug 2020)
      • Not nearly enough evidence on marijuana as gateway drug. (Nov 2019)
      • Addicts should go to rehab & expunge records, not prison. (Sep 2019)
      • People arrested for drugs should go to rehab, not prison. (Jul 2019)
      • Nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana. (May 2019)
      • 2000s: mandatory minimum for marijuana; 2019: decriminalize. (May 2019)
      • Supports marijuana decriminalization, not legalization. (Apr 2019)
      • Harsh sentences for crack were a mistake; worked to rectify. (Mar 2019)
      • Long record of opposing marijuana legalization. (Feb 2019)
      • Forbid government study of legalization. (Feb 2019)

      Harris is more supportive, and who knows maybe the popular opinion will be enough to push Biden for legalization. Another problem here is that as was noted Joe Machin is going to be a critical vote and his stance on legalization is not well known but uhhhhhhh based on the past statements we DO have it doesn't look great, and Machin has proved he is completely fine not toeing the party line if he disagrees:

      • Eradicate marijuana plants statewide. (Jul 2010)
      • $1M more for crackdown on drugs. (Jun 2006)
      • Declare war on meth & dangerous make-shift labs. (Feb 2005)
      • Criminalize imports of opioid precursors. (Feb 2017)

      Maybe I'm wrong! I'd sure love for you to be right! Legalization would be great! I think it is infinitely more likely we get decriminalization, and maybe if we REALLY get lucky we can get Machin to agree to voting in favor of expunging criminal records for MJ offenses and not sending drug addicts to jail like Biden's platform suggests.

      Edit: I couldn't figure out how to do multi-line quotes with bullet points in them so I just removed it. Just know anything in a bullet point list is directly pulled from the linked sources.

      8 votes
      1. Amarok
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        One thing covid has done is leave every government agency in desperate need of money - local, state, and federal. Cannabis and hemp products are a guaranteed revenue boost (in the low billions)...

        One thing covid has done is leave every government agency in desperate need of money - local, state, and federal. Cannabis and hemp products are a guaranteed revenue boost (in the low billions) for every state that has the arable farmland for it. They will all be looking at it, not from a nasty-drugs perspective, but from a we're-broke perspective. That's what gives me the most hope - and if they want to stop it, they'll be fighting many state legislatures that are not going to wait, or give two fucks about what the federal government thinks or does.

        So, conflict and bankruptcy vs unity and tax revenues. In that equation politicians usually follow the money, rather than the ideology.

        I think a lot of Machin's anti-drug stance comes from other issues, like the meth and heroin epidemics. He hasn't been pressed on cannabis specifically in some time. I wholeheartedly agree with him on the harder drugs. I hope he has the brains to realize that cannabis is both medicine and a gargantuan bumper crop of hemp and hemp products.

        I'm more worried about Kamala. She gleefully jailed cannabis users in california where it was legal and laughed about it. I'm less worried about Biden - he'll probably go for it rather than fight it, if it makes it through the senate.

        The jury's back on cannabis. It's going to be legal, and if the fed wants to be the last holdout, they'll be looking at 40+ states that are laughing at them and refusing to charge or prosecute cannabis. It just makes the fed into more of a laughing stock when they buck the state government trends.

        We've got a lot of idle farmland in NY, and it's some of the best in the entire country, and will only get better as the climate changes. We're going pro-cannabis this year, that's a fact. Albany is broke, and the MRTA is on the docket for this session. Cuomo already said he would sign it (and he's been quite the obstructionist on this issue until recently). NY will legalize because hemp, once upon a time before the world wars, was one of this state's chief bumper crops and a major moneymaker. Our climate is perfect for it.

        I can promise that Schumer is going to go for cannabis and hemp full steam ahead. He's been pretty clear on it. This is between $2-5 billion dollars in yearly tax revenue for the state and that's enough to dig us out of the covid hole in less than a decade all on its own. ;)

        Best part of the MRTA, and they had to fight tooth and nail for this...

        The need to repair the harms wrought on communities of color by the war on drugs requires a definitive framework, in statute, for reinvestment. This legislation directs 50% of the tax revenue to establish the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, aimed at giving back to the communities that have been the most disproportionately affected by current marihuana laws.

        The text on this thing is a bit crunchy - necessary to integrate it with NY's existing laws governing tobacco and alcohol (which we do as a unit). It's been in committee since like 2002, and has been through every committee in NY at least four times per, some much more. That's how Albany does their stonewalling, but I must admit that the benefit is it gets a hell of a lot of revision and the laws do come out pretty well built by the time they are up for a vote.

        I have five acres here, and it's up very high on a hill with a nice southern-facing slope. I am definitely applying for a grower's license once they are available. Need to get my soil tested so I know what I'm working with. ;)

        Edit: Cuomo's briefing this morning, he pointed out that increasing our taxes beyond California levels and expanding taxes to everyone with a million dollar income is only going to get us to $1.7b in new revenue and burn bone to do it. Cannabis is far more profitable than that even without the hemp. Albany has no choice now. They have to legalize.

        I'll link you to the time code. You'll notice a definite change (into attack mode) from the democrats and Cuomo has wasted no time taking shots. If Trump sets foot in NY again he'll spend the entire time looking over his shoulder - he's public enemy number one here now.

        Sports betting and cannabis both came up in the questions, and both are clearly a go!

        11 votes
      2. vord
        Link Parent
        In theory decriminalization should be the goal. Removing from Schedule 2 is the answer. This means it will be as "illegal" as the tomato plants in my garden.

        In theory decriminalization should be the goal.

        Removing from Schedule 2 is the answer. This means it will be as "illegal" as the tomato plants in my garden.

        4 votes
    3. Flashynuff
      Link Parent
      Federally legalizing weed would be the most basic thing the Dems could do to bolster their chances in 2022. Everybody loves weed now.

      Federally legalizing weed would be the most basic thing the Dems could do to bolster their chances in 2022. Everybody loves weed now.

      7 votes
    4. [2]
      babypuncher
      Link Parent
      I don't think M4A is happening in the next 2 years. All Republicans are staunchly opposed, and Manchin will probably vote with them on that. A public option for the ACA might be in the cards though.

      I don't think M4A is happening in the next 2 years. All Republicans are staunchly opposed, and Manchin will probably vote with them on that. A public option for the ACA might be in the cards though.

      5 votes
      1. Micycle_the_Bichael
        Link Parent
        Yeah part of the disappointment I have from this election is that Joe Machin is an important vote and I trust him about 14.9% more than I trust the Republican party. Especially given that abortion...

        Yeah part of the disappointment I have from this election is that Joe Machin is an important vote and I trust him about 14.9% more than I trust the Republican party. Especially given that abortion is going to be an important issue and Machin is incredibly pro-life. Any abortion access bill is already dead.

        4 votes
    5. [2]
      arghdos
      Link Parent
      They would actually have to pass it again I believe, as it occurred during the last Congress, and bills don’t carry over

      which the house has already passed

      They would actually have to pass it again I believe, as it occurred during the last Congress, and bills don’t carry over

      5 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        Rats, you're right. Count on NY's 27 representatives, even (especially) the Republicans for that one. It's money in their own local communities and they know it. They are loathe to cross NY's farmers.

        Rats, you're right. Count on NY's 27 representatives, even (especially) the Republicans for that one. It's money in their own local communities and they know it. They are loathe to cross NY's farmers.

        3 votes
  2. streblo
    Link
    Big victory for the big tent. Somewhat of an own-goal for Trump but who is surprised about that? I know there are lots of people who vote Democrat who cringe when there is any talk of compromise...

    Big victory for the big tent. Somewhat of an own-goal for Trump but who is surprised about that?

    I know there are lots of people who vote Democrat who cringe when there is any talk of compromise but I think it's worth trying this time around and in a much better position than 2008:

    • Unless Manchin is onboard with getting rid of the filibuster, you can't pass anything substantial anyways
    • The GOP is splintering hard right now. Two narratives emerging about the loss in Georgia -- was it Trump's fault or McConnell's fault?
    • Republican moderates have just witnessed the final destination the last 12 years of stamping your feet and plugging your ears -- I doubt they want a repeat.

    Not saying compromise will work, but it's worth trying IMO and not directly comparable to 2008-2016.

    7 votes
  3. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    One consequence might be that $2000 stimulus checks happen after all

    One consequence might be that $2000 stimulus checks happen after all

    5 votes
    1. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      That won't be an issue at all. That was so popular that it had enough votes to pass in the current senate... if McConnell let the senate vote on it. Which he didn't, of course.

      That won't be an issue at all. That was so popular that it had enough votes to pass in the current senate... if McConnell let the senate vote on it.

      Which he didn't, of course.

      13 votes
  4. [5]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    So, what do we do to increase our margins in 2022 or at least avoid midterm backlash? The general consensus in places like this is implement sweeping progressive reform so society improves and the...

    So, what do we do to increase our margins in 2022 or at least avoid midterm backlash?

    The general consensus in places like this is implement sweeping progressive reform so society improves and the Democrats can say they did that or sweeping electoral reform so voting can be easy and it doesn't take the greatest of threats to get good Democratic turnout and we're likely not getting those with Manchin. So what do we do (or, outside get-out-the-vote efforts, hope for the Democratic congresspeople to do)? Focus on the pandemic because Manchin is more likely to go along with pandemic stuff because it's temporary? Try to negotiate with him to vote more progressive?

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      nukeman
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Focus on bread and butter economic issues: higher minimum wage, Medicare/Medicaid expansion, stimulus checks, some student loan forgiveness. Carefully navigate/avoid most social issues (especially...

      Focus on bread and butter economic issues: higher minimum wage, Medicare/Medicaid expansion, stimulus checks, some student loan forgiveness. Carefully navigate/avoid most social issues (especially guns and abortion). Work on voting rights. Infrastructure week (for real this time). Pass climate change legislation (carbon fee and dividend, nuclear power funding (a lot, mostly for coal state GOP plus Manchin), and funding for wind, solar, storage, and CCS). Probably a few others I’m forgetting.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Do you think this includes avoiding dealing with right-wing websites, TV channels, etc.? (I began writing this before Trump got banned from most social media and parler got thrown out of the app...

        Carefully navigate/avoid most social issues (especially guns and abortion).

        Do you think this includes avoiding dealing with right-wing websites, TV channels, etc.?

        (I began writing this before Trump got banned from most social media and parler got thrown out of the app and play store.)

        Infrastructure week (for real this time).

        Did Obama promise this and failed to deliver or something? Also, I wonder if building infrastructure might be harmful to the environment due to resource consumption, even if probably necessary.

        Pass climate change legislation (carbon fee and dividend, nuclear power funding (a lot, mostly for coal state GOP plus Manchin)

        Does Manchin support climate change legislation? Or is the stuff you put in parentheses supposed to be encouragement for Manchin to vote for such a bill?

        Also, do you think Biden should do stuff for rural America given rural areas are very Republican and that would fit in with all his talk about uniting the nation?

        1. nukeman
          Link Parent
          First point: No, but it is difficult to deal with them in ways that don't run afoul of the First Amendment. Likely methods include Biden putting political pressure on site hosts, registrars,...

          First point: No, but it is difficult to deal with them in ways that don't run afoul of the First Amendment. Likely methods include Biden putting political pressure on site hosts, registrars, Cloudflare, etc to discontinue providing their services. That runs into its own issues, though.

          Second point: Trump and Congress promised infrastructure investment repeatedly (Infrastructure week) that never came about. The term became a bit of a meme.

          Third point: Manchin is from West Virginia, one of the big coal-producing states. So far, he has been opposed to climate change legislation or restrictions affecting coal, but no coal plants have been built since 2011, and coal mining continues to decline. Nuclear provides a lot of jobs, is very visible, and jibes well with conservative views. I think the bill could pass as long as it doesn't mandate a coal phaseout. A carbon tax would help speed things along, but wouldn't been a third rail so long as there's investment and jobs going to West Virginia.

          Fourth point: For rural areas, there will be a big focus on bread and butter issues like I said. Biden will likely work to stop rural hospital closures, deal with the opioid crisis, expanding broadband, etc. He will also probably stay away from guns (at most, a background check bill, maybe a red-flag law).

          1 vote
    2. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      Yeah all that sweeping <anything> isn't going to happen. Well, probably. But first and foremost, it's all about COVID - COVID, and the economic aftermath of COVID is going to dominate the first at...

      Yeah all that sweeping <anything> isn't going to happen. Well, probably. But first and foremost, it's all about COVID - COVID, and the economic aftermath of COVID is going to dominate the first at least year, but likely 1.5 - 2 years of the administration. And Biden has the tools to handle the executive side of that now.

      With just a simple majority in Senate, apart from staffing a executive branch with competent human beings and nominate judges across the federal circuits, the main area is going to be budget reconciliation bills. Some examples I grabbed from Yglesias's article on it

      Biden wants to quadruple federal spending on low-income housing assistance.

      He is proposing to triple federal spending on low-income K-12 schools.

      He wants to double Pell Grants and make community college free.

      Separately from the housing assistance money, he’s calling for a $100 billion investment in an affordable housing trust fund.

      Those are all things that you can't filibuster.

      In terms of the filibuster, I don't think D's will overturn it? But it's possible if Manchin gets sick of Republican fillibusters. One example is that Manchin heavily supports a higher minimum wage, so if Rs hardcore fillibuster a $15 federal minimum wage maybe he'll just say fuck it.

      Another thing to remember is that the reality is that this site is way to the left of the country. Many democrats represent pretty "moderate" constituents, and the fillibuster shields them from having to make votes that look bad to those "moderate" constituents. So with a razor thin margin in both chambers, idk, seems unlikely without a greater tailwind from 2022 but who knows.

      On 2022, I think the runoffs are good sign, but it may ironically depend on how large a figure Trump looms and how much nonsense he's doing out of office. Traditionally parties that win in a general election have their voters lose interest in the midterm and lose at least one chamber. But maybe not this time if Biden does a good job with COVID and Trumpist are still scaring suburbanites. COVID is a huge opportunity for rally-around-the-flag effects for executive leaders and Trump has left a godawful mess so it's not hard to look competent.

      I think it's easy to underestimate just how much of the political news cycle will continue to be locked onto how the country is doing with COVID19.

      4 votes