What you need to know from a long night ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

January 6, 2021

Understand more. Argue less.

Good morning. Aside from Slack being down for part of Monday, it's been a pretty quiet start to the New Year. Until yesterday that is, when the Georgia held two Senate runoff elections. Let's look at what happened and what it means for the next two years. 

For comprehensive background information on the elections, check out our previous newsletter.

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Georgia In The Limelight

Katherine Chuang

It was a back-and-forth evening. With control of the Senate hanging in the balance, over 4.2 million Georgians cast their votes in the two runoff elections. For a 51-50 majority, Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff needed to unseat Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. With over 98% of the total vote counted, AP News declared Warnock (50.6%) the winner early Wednesday morning. He will be the 11th Black Senator ever and first to represent the state. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger said that we’ll have a better idea of where the Ossoff-Perdue race stands later today.

Before we go any further, a quick disclaimer. We’ve used a New York Times model to project Ossoff as a slight favorite. We realize that the NYT tends to lean left, but it’s the most comprehensive model and our best source in the absence of concrete results.

Without further ado, here’s what else you need to know.

The Facts

  • How many votes remain? At the time of this writing, approximately 76,000 votes remain. Much of those 76,000 votes come from counties surrounding Atlanta, which typically skew Democratic.

  • Perdue v. Ossoff. Ossoff holds a lead of 12,806 votes. Of the 76,000 outstanding votes, Perdue must win approximately 58% of those votes to overtake Ossoff. The New York Times projects that he will win around 26%.

  • Not so fast. Early Wednesday morning, Perdue Tweeted a statement affirming he will not concede the election yet, “We will mobilize every available resource and exhaust every legal recourse to ensure all legally cast ballots are properly counted.” Loeffler echoed a similar sentiment, saying "we have a path to victory and we are staying on it."  (Twitter, Twitter)


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 the narrative from each side. 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

We are within spitting distance of the Senate win needed to avoid the gridlock that has plagued politics for years. At least for the next two years, (what should be) a Democratic government has a much better chance to pass the legislation Americans need in these incredibly difficult times. 

Headlines & Snippets

Raphael Warnock Makes History With His Senate Win In Georgia Election

Warnock is the first Black U.S. senator to represent the state. (HuffPost)

Joe Biden’s Democrats Are On The Verge Of A Trifecta. What Comes Next?

With tight runoffs in Georgia, the party is poised to win control of the Senate, but by the thinnest of margins. (HuffPost)

Taking Georgia As A Lesson In Mobilizing Young And African American Voters

The results could also play a role in dictating political strategy for both Democrats and Republicans in the future and across the country. Activists in Georgia are trying to build a case that the work they’re doing here will translate nationwide. (Slate)

Narrative from the Right

Regardless of what happens in Perdue’s race, it'll be improbable for Democrats to do much without bipartisan support. We need a full court press from Republicans and moderates to stop Biden’s radical agenda. How can he govern for the people if the whole country isn’t represented? 

Headlines & Snippets

Tucker Carlson: Democrats Are On The Verge Of Unchecked Power. Where Was The GOP?

Georgia Senate runoff elections on track to be the ultimate triumph of identity politics. (Fox News)

Trump Says Democratic Majority Will Turn The US Into A One-Party Country

"The Democrats will make Washington, DC, and other liberal places the 51st, 52nd, 53rd states of the union." (Breitbart)

President Trump Vows To Campaign Against Georgia Governor, Secretary Of State

“They say they’re Republicans, I really don’t think they are. They can’t be,” President Trump stated. “Like, if we want to have a special session because your legislature is excellent, they want to have us, why wouldn’t they let us have a special session?” (OAN)

But, It's Not All Bias 

Sometimes, the news gets it right. However, in elections as hotly contested as these, that sometimes doesn't happen. Both sides weren't able to be transparent enough to warrant featuring them in this section. It's painfully apparent that there's work to be done.


What Does It All Mean?

In an unwelcome bout of November déjà vu, the country once again went to sleep with the fate of the federal government unknown. Many will wake up to the news of Senator-elect Warnock, leaving us to await the results of the Perdue vs. Ossoff race. 

  • If your news outlets lean Left, you are relieved that the Democratic Party rose to the challenge after years of GOP control. Trump and the Right’s claims of voter fraud may still prove to be disruptive, but simultaneously aid in the splintering of the Republican Party. You may be excited about the massive voter mobilization effort this past year, which is indicative of shifting priorities in America.

  • If your news outlets lean Right, you are worried about the possibility of an unchecked Democrat-controlled government. You probably see yourself on one of two sides within your own party: either voter fraud is a key issue plaguing our electoral system, or you believe that Trumpism isn’t the solution to the GOP’s problems. You are hopeful that the GOP can make it through the next two years, regroup, and take back at least one branch of Congress

The Senate races aren’t over yet, but it’s certainly possible that the Democratic Party will preside over a unified government. While a Democratic Senate majority would help Joe Biden’s Cabinet and judicial appointments, its legislative impact has been overemphasized by both sides. A Senate majority doesn’t mean that Biden’s big-ticket priorities -- health care, tax reform, and environmental policy -- are a sure thing. Senate rules require 60 votes to pass any major legislation, an unlikely bipartisan feat.

What’s more, the party that controls the White House typically does not fare well in midterms. Since 1994, the sitting President’s party has lost seats in the House of Representatives all but once. In 2018, Democrats gained 41 seats in the House to take back the majority. Republicans could very well do the same in 2022, especially with only a 5 seat minority in the House, not to mention the still-undecided Senate.

No matter which party ends up controlling the Senate, a stark partisan divide will persist throughout Joe Biden’s presidency. There’s a lot more to come, and we’ll be here to break it down for you every step of the way.

Civility Reflection

Now that you understand what's really going on, you're ready to take the next step and reflect on your week.

How do you feel about the Georgia elections? Can you see where the other side is coming from?

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

Last Week's Winner

Question: Do you have a new years resolution about civility? If so, what does that look like?

"A friend and I have committed to talk about a political issue over coffee each week. Her views are very different than mine, but I'm really curious to figure out where she's coming from. I'm starting to realize that I can't live in my echo chamber forever. If this election season has taught me anything, it's that there are a lot of people who believe the exact opposite of what I do. It's easy to forget that sometimes."

Want to Learn More About Civil?

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