If I hear from one talking head, from one political analyst, from one Democratic fan boy (or girl) that the race for the much-watched Georgia congressional district was “moral victory,” I’m going to scream. A loss is a loss is a loss. Moral victories don’t vote in Congress. They don’t stop an unthinkable gutting of our healthcare system. They certainly don’t stand up to the president.
Republican Karen Handel’s victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff simply reiterates the old Tip O’Neil axiom, “All politics is local.” Ossoff took in an ungodly amount of money, most of it from outside the state. In the one debate I watched online, it was clear Ossoff was an awful candidate in both word and circumstance—he struggled to string together coherent ideas, he lives outside the district and Handel successfully branded him a tool of Nancy Pelosi. All that is an insurmountable task.
We heard it after the races in Montana, Kansas and now Georgia (and South Carolina). They were Republican districts all carried by Trump to varying degrees so the Democrat in each race coming close is a good thing.
Wrong. At some point, you have to win something. Ossoff garnered 48-plus percent in the first round of voting earlier this year (if he had won 50-plus one, there would have been no runoff Tuesday). He got the same this time.
It some respects, Democrats had unrealistic expectations. In Montana, they couldn’t beat a guy who body slammed a reporter just hours before the polls opened but it was a state in which Trump trounced Hillary. Trump did the same in Kansas and South Carolina. In each race the Democrat mantra had been, in essence, “Trump’s approval ratings suck, so we can win.” Um, no.
As far as the local angle is concerned, Ossoff didn’t even live in the district he was running to represent. He couldn’t even vote for himself Tuesday. Further, he did nothing to try to position himself as independent from Pelosi. Those two things alone were enough to send Ossoff to defeat.
Republicans and the president himself will spin the Georgia win as evidence that the people of the country don’t care about his tax returns, his alleged Russia connections or his chaotic White House.
In fact, the latest result may very well embolden the president. Will he now think he can get away with firing special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein? Trump already thinks the rules don’t apply to him. Maybe they don’t.
Georgia may also embolden Republicans in both the House and Senate. The Republican-controlled Senate may now think there is no penalty to be paid for ramming through a catastrophic healthcare plan. Maybe they’re right.
As for Democrats, voters completely rejected candidates in the House for instance. If people rejected Nancy Pelosi’s leadership in 2016, why in the world are Democrats trying to make inroads with her still at the helm?
We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent not a smaller one. Focus on the future.
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 21, 2017
Young Democratic upstart US Rep. Seth Moulton is right. The party needs to regroup and start over.