top of page

Guest Post From Georgia: The Old Norms Don't Fit And Raphael Warnock Understands That

You may remember former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, one of the most extraordinary Senate candidates to have run in 2020. She never ceased to impress me-- whether online or when we met in person, but she was absolutely the best person I could think of to give us an on the ground assessment of the Georgia Senate races coming up in just over a month.

Ralpael Warnock Has Been In The Trenches And Has Lived The Hard Path Too Many Americans Travel-- He Has Survived It.

-by Teresa Tomlinson

On January 5, 2020, we have the opportunity to send two Democrats from Georgia to the United States Senate and destroy Mitch McConnell's stranglehold on this nation. Those two candidates are Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and we must elect them both.

I want to take a moment to talk with you about one of those candidates in particular, my friend and battle buddy, Raphael Warnock. Warnock bested a 21-person multi-party field in a Special Election held on November 3rd to replace retiring Republican Senator Johnny Isakson. Warnock finished first with 33% of the vote to the second place finisher, appointed newbee Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who finished with 26%. He beat her with a 344,000 vote margin in a state where Joe Biden beat Donald Trump with just 12,000 votes. Because Georgia is a "50 +1" state, Warnock, despite his first place finish, must face Loeffler in a January 5th run-off, and the Democrats of Georgia are ready for this fight.

For those of you new to Georgia political history, until 2002, Georgia was dominated by Democrats for a little over 140 years, and, yes, that history had its peaks-- like the election of Maynard Jackson, the first Black mayor of a major southern city-- and, its valleys-- like the proliferation of the segregationist "Dixiecrats" in the George Wallace era. But nevertheless, there is a new day in Georgia: buoyed by new residents brought to the state by Delta, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Aflac, and others; buoyed further by the voter population growth among people of color (inside and outside metro Atlanta); buoyed by the revolt of white suburban women from the Republican Party; and by the ancestral Democrats who well remember the good government of Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and former Governor Roy Barnes.

Fortunately, we have a candidate who can capitalize on this moment-- this tremendous political opportunity.

Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock is the real deal. He is progressive in the way that all human beings are progressive: that we get up every day ready to take a step forward. The so-called Godfather of Conservatism, William F. Buckley, once proclaimed that "Conservatism is standing athwart the train of history and yelling 'stop!'" Well, that may be the essence of "conservatism," it is not, however, the essence of humankind, and Raphael Warnock knows that and has lived that.

A product of the "housing projects" of the mid-1960s, a Black son of deep-south Savannah, Georgia, a graduate of the Historically Black College, Morehouse College in Atlanta, a human rights advocate, a warrior to put "justice" in our Criminal Justice System, and a faith-based leader in the nation's most hallowed pulpit of the Black Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Raphael Warnock is "all that and a bag of chips." He has been in the trenches. He has lived the hard path too many Americans travel. He has survived it. He has fought it with coalitions of unlikely partners, and he has won. And, that is precisely the patina of life experience we need in the U.S. Senate at this moment.

Raphael Warnock believes that healthcare is a right for every citizen, that it fundamentally affects our communities and our economic growth potential as a state and nation. He supports the unequivocal right of women to control their own bodies, specifically their reproductive system, free of government control or interference. He understands that respect and dignity for all people bring about the best policies, so he intends to legislate with those principles in mind and watch our future explode with sustainable growth as a result.

We have a Senate candidate here who is a progressive not just in election cycle word, but in deed and in ethos. Contrary to so many years of wrong-headed Democratic consulting advice, that ethos makes him more electable in Georgia, not less. It turns out that farmers hate our climate crisis, that rural Georgians want to partner with the federal and state government to have great public schools and community hospitals, that women who live outside of Atlanta need abortion services, too, that the local Chambers of Commerce want good paying jobs and livable wages in their communities, that people in Columbus, Georgia don't want to be shot while at Wal-mart any more than the people of Atlanta, and that bankers (and farmers) (and criminal justice advocates) want marijuana legalization. The old norms don't fit, and Raphael Warnock understands that. He sees the opportunities for Democrats and progressives, if only we can elect leaders with the vision and fortitude to grab those opportunities for us.

And, the choice we have in lieu of this eminently qualified and experienced man of character is Kelly Loeffler, a woman appointed on political gimmick in order to lure the "white woman vote" that Republicans just demonstrably lost in droves on November 3rd in the voter rich suburbs of North Atlanta. She provides no choice at all. She has served nothing but herself in her decades on this earth, and she took that ethos straight to Washington, D.C. where she immediately traded stock on inside knowledge obtained in a confidential Senate briefing regarding the coronavirus, while simultaneously misusing her bully pulpit to mislead all of us to our devastating loss. Kelly Loeffler has happily fought against healthcare for her constituents and has enabled at every turn the most destructive president in this nation's history. In short, she does not deserve to serve.

Politically speaking, she has helped tear apart the Georgia Republican faithful in her race against Congressman Doug Collins, whom she defeated in the November 3rd Special Election, and he has returned the animus. Now, she and her colleague in political crime, David Perdue, have attacked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a lack-luster public servant at best, a vote suppresser at worst, because he dared to suggest he would not toss-out mail-in ballots at Senator Lindsey Graham's phone call request, and further because he dared to state that Georgia did not have any "wide spread voter fraud" on November 3rd and that president-elect Joe Biden had won the State of Georgia. For that modicum of "statesmanship," Loeffler and Perdue have called for Raffensperger's resignation. In other words, Loeffler will have trouble energizing her base for a post-holiday vote on January 5th, particularly in a world where the Republican party has tried to convince their voters not to vote by mail-in ballot, but only show up in person, necessarily limiting their voting feasibility and convenience.

This is it. We can save the Senate, but first, we need your help in Georgia. We have a most worthy candidate in Democrat Raphael Warnock and a weakened opponent in Republican Kelly Loeffler. We have a renewed Blue State where the voters have just demonstrated they will indeed elect a Democrat. You can join me by making a "max out" contribution of $2,800 to Raphael Warnock, or otherwise making your most generous contribution, today: CONTRIBUTE TO WARNOCK FOR SENATE by clicking on the Blue America Senate thermometer on the right. You also may participate-- from anywhere in the country-- in postcard writing, texting or phone calling to get out the vote by signing up here: TAKE ACTION FOR WARNOCK.

Senate candidate Raphael Warnock is ready to get to work for all of us to build the nation we want to see, knowing that the ideals inscribed on our nation’s seal have informed the best of us from the very beginning-- e pluribus unum: out of many, one. Let's help him do that.

bottom of page