The peach at the end of the tunnel ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

December 9, 2020

Understand more. Argue less.

Good morning. Yes, there are two elections in a state the majority of you probably don't live in. After an exhausting Presidential race, more elections may seem like a nagging inconvenience. We won’t blame you for not caring. However, these elections will quite literally decide the future of our country.

Here's a preview of the narratives from each side.

Left: Biden won Georgia once, Trump's rhetoric will help us do it again.
Right: We'll win because the Left's candidates aren't right for Georgia.

Let's dive in.


Georgia On Everyone's Mind

Katherine Chuang

The focus of the political world has once again shifted to Georgia, which will hold two special Senate elections on January 5th. Why you ask? State law requires a Congressional runoff election when neither candidate earns at least 50% of votes in the November general election.

While Democrats have already secured a House majority (albeit narrowed), Republicans currently have a 50-48 Senate margin. Democrats need to win both runoff elections in order to reach a 50-50 tie in the Senate, wherein Vice President-elect Harris would tip the majority to the Left. Republicans have a slightly easier time, only needing one seat.

Now, let's meet the candidates.

Kelly Loeffler, the co-owner of the Atlanta WNBA team, was appointed by former Senator Brian Kemp in December 2019. She was implicated in an insider trading scheme associated with companies harmed by the pandemic, but was later cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee. She’s facing off against Raphael Warnock, an ordained reverend since 2005. Some have criticized him for sermon excerpts like “nobody can serve God and the military,” or the US “must repent from its worship of whiteness.” (VOA + NYP)

Jon Ossoff is a 33-year old who ran for a GA House seat in 2017 and lost. He’s a vocal critic of President Trump, and is progressive on issues like health care and guns but moderate on the economy and national security. He’s facing off against 70-year old incumbent, David Perdue, the former Senior Vice President of Reebok and CEO of Dollar General. Perdue generally supports Trump’s policies, but does oppose him on tariffs. He was indicted and cleared in a similar insider trading scandal as Loeffler. (VOA)

Here’s what else you need to know.

The Facts

  • Rolling in it. Advertising spend on the two races is predicted to reach $500 million. The most expensive individual Senate race this November topped out at $238 million. (AP)

  • Fundraising advantage. Since the election, the two largest Republican fundraising organizations have raised over $146 million, compared to $42 million from the Democrats. (AP)

  • Coming of age. Around 23,000 teenagers will turn 18 after Election Day and are eligible to vote January 5th. How they’ll vote remains to be seen. (NPR

  • To vote or not to vote. Republicans are worried that Trump’s fraud claims may hurt their chances. Of the Georgians who voted for Trump but plan to stay home for the runoffs, 23% said they would do so because the elections would be rigged. (538)


How It's Being Spun

Katherine Chuang

Here are the narratives from both sides, along with supporting headlines and article snippets. These are not necessarily factual, but instead illustrate the news coverage that solidifies each narrative. The bias ratings refer to news outlets as a whole, not a specific article.

If you're reading on mobile, the Left narrative will appear above the Right's. Next week, we'll switch it up.

Narrative from the Left

After turning Georgia blue for the first time in nearly 30 years, Democratic voters in Georgia will carry the party to a Senate majority. By continuing to stand behind Trump’s baseless claims of fraud, the Republican Party will ensure that Georgia turns all the way blue.

Headlines & Snippets

Trump Blows A Hole In The GOP On His Way Out

Trump’s campaign to pressure GOP elected officials to support his baseless claims of a rigged election — and his success in convincing a majority of the party that widespread voter fraud occurred — is already showing signs of having far-reaching effects that will reshape the Republican Party for years to come. (Politico)

How Georgia’s Upcoming Senate Race Pits The Old South Against The New South

Black, Latino and Asian voters in the once-Republican Atlanta suburbs helped deliver the state for Joe Biden in November. In the Peach State — and soon, strategists argue, the rest of the South — demography is becoming destiny. (Politico)

Kelly Loeffler Serves Up Cold Trumpism Against Raphael Warnock

Where Trump furiously shouted fanciful warnings and accusations against his opponent, Loeffler delivered the same sort of nonsense in flat robot tones, an unmodulated voice programmed with terse attack lines from the Republican National Senatorial Committee. Nothing more, nothing less. (Slate)

Narrative from the Right

These runoffs are the last remaining firewalls between the country as you know it, and one destroyed by the radical Left. Fortunately, Perdue already beat Ossoff in November, and Loeffler is running against a socialist; not the kind of candidate who can win Georgia.

Headlines & Snippets

Sen. Perdue urges voters to reelect him and 'save America'

"We've got to make sure the people in Georgia turn out again," Perdue added. "If we do, we win, We've already beaten the Democrats, 52.5% of Georgia voters rejected this liberal-left move that the Democrats are trying to perpetrate, and I think that's a big sign that nobody is talking about." (Fox News)

Warnock Again Dodges Supreme Court Packing Question In Georgia Senate Runoff Race

When asked how he'd respond to pressure from other Democrats to vote to expand the court, Warnock instead spoke about police reform and said Georgians have not brought up the Supreme Court on the campaign trail. (Fox News)

Kelly Loeffler Is Right. Raphael Warnock Is A Radical Liberal

“With radical members of the Democratic party openly calling for defunding and deconstructing the United States military, Warnock’s position is arguably even more extreme. He clearly posits that serving your country and God are mutually exclusive, standing as a direct attack on the faith of countless active and past members of the military.” (Daily Wire)

But, It's Not All Bias 

Sometimes, the news gets it right. Here are two instances of biased outlets that reported with civility by conceding a point to the other side's narrative.

Trump’s ‘Mountains of Misinformation’ Hurting Republicans In Senate Runoff

By covering the Lieutenant Governor’s remarks about how Trump is hurting Republicans in the Senate races, Brietbart breaks from the GOP politicians who support the President’s message of election fraud.

Reverend Raphael Warnock Dodges Supreme Court Packing Question Twice

By covering Raphael Warnock dodging the court packing questions, Newsweek concedes a point to calls from the Right that say the Democratic candidates aren’t as sound as they seem.


What Does It All Mean?

2020 really is shaping up to be Georgia’s year. On one hand, Donald Trump and his legal team’s rhetoric on election fraud could drive down Republican voter turnout. On the other hand, both Democratic challengers must win their seats in order to flip the Senate. Neither obstacle will be overcome easily.

  • If your news outlets lean left, you’re excited that Trump’s conspiracies may finally be coming back to bite the GOP. While you are concerned about voter turnout and the Republican’s spending advantage, you feel cautiously hopeful that Georgia will turn blue once again. Even if that doesn’t happen, Biden winning was the prize you’ve wanted all along.

  • If your news outlets lean right, you're optimistic. You feel that the Republican’s chances of stopping a leftist agenda is comfortably within reach. David Perdue already won by about 2 points in November, and that can be repeated. Besides, Republicans only need one seat for a majority, while Democrats need both for a 50-50 split.

FiveThirtyEight’s current polling averages have Ossoff ahead by 0.3% and Warnock in front by 2.1%. That being said, we still have 27 days until the election and a lot could change. Those same polls predicted a narrow Ossoff win in November, even though Perdue actually won by 1.8%, a mere 13,000 votes shy of avoiding a runoff. What’s more, polling averages in Georgia were off by 1% in favor of Joe Biden. The polls could be right this time around, or they could be mistaken like before. Either way, take them with a grain of salt (538).

If one of the Democratic candidates lose, the next two (and possibly four) years will most likely be characterized by gridlock from a Republican-controlled Senate. Joe Biden frequently had to compromise in the Senate during his time as VP, but that was a different, less polarized time.

If both Ossoff and Warnock win, a Democratic-controlled House and Senate would be able to pass their legislation without too much trouble. However, their narrow margin would require that Democrats bring moderate Senators along for the ride too. For instance, if Democrats tried to pass a public-option healthcare system, it could easily be shot down by a moderate Democrat who may be more skeptical of government-run healthcare and favor reworking the Affordable Care Act instead. Issues like citizenship for undocumented immigrants, climate regulation, and foreign policy are also dependent on the results.

Georgia’s unique balance of suburban moderates, urban progressives, and a strong Trump base forces these candidates to pander to a variety of voters. At this point, even maintaining party lines is going to be a difficult task. Doing so has never been more important for both sides; the next two years (at least) quite literally depend on it.

Let's Argue Less

Now that you understand more about the Georgia Senate situation, you're ready to take the next step.

Weekly Civility Challenge

Are you tired of politics? If so, do you think it will make you more civil?

Reply to this email with your response and we’ll feature the winner next week!

Last Week's Winner

Here's the best response we received last week. Thank you to Jack from Miami, FL!

"Last Wednesday, my roommate and I started debating who was the greatest basketball player of all time: Jordan or LeBron (LeBron obviously). This conversation was, unsurprisingly, a lot more civil than our political discussions. 

That got us thinking about your civility challenge: Why are political conversations so much harder to have without fighting? Our views on politics are very different, just like with Jordan/LeBron. We talked for a bit, and realized it’s because our political beliefs are a much bigger part of our identity. But, if that’s true, shouldn’t we respect each other’s identity? We care about each other, and our political views shouldn’t change that. It was such a refreshing realization that I talked to my other roommate about it too. I guess our apartment got a little more civil this week."

Want to Learn More About Civil?

Until next Wednesday, that's all from us. Thank you!