Op-Ed: What Georgia’s Runoffs Mean for Change

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Evan Michaeli, Writer

On the night of January 5, 2021, the nation’s eyes were set on Georgia. Two Senate seatsand the senate majoritywere on the line. Early the next morning, Democrat Reverend Rapahel Warnock defeated incumbent Kelly Loeffler for one of the seats. 

Wednesday afternoon, amid the chaos on Capitol Hill, the second race was called, with Democrat Jon Ossoff coming out victorious against incumbent Republican David Perdue.  

Ossoff’s win clinched a 5050 tie in the Senate, which leans Democratic since Vice PresidentElect Kamala Harris will be the tiebreakergiving the Democrats a majority of 51-50 in the Senate for the first time since the 113th CongressThis victory will have major impact on what President-Elect Joe Biden can accomplish on agenda over the next two years 

The Democrats now have more seats than Republicans in both the House and Senateas well as Biden in the White House. This is called a government trifecta, and gives Democrats the advantage in two of the three branches of government. Democrats hold a slim majority in the House and the aforementioned 50-50 tie in the Senate 

With majorities in the House and Senateplus Biden in officeDemocrats have the opportunity to pass legislation that was not enacted under President Donald Trump’s administration. These efforts include stronger COVID-19 regulations, stricter climate change protocols, taxes, and healthcare. 

As significant as these changes will be, it is also important to note the historic nature of these victoriesIn November, Georgia’s Senate seats were up for election. There is a law in Georgia that if ncandidate receives above 50 percent of the votes, there is runoff election at a later dateThe November 3 election did not see any candidate receive over 50%thus initiating the two runoffs.  

This election was historic as an African American man and a Jewish man won Georgia’s senate seats, both of whom are Democrats in what has been a traditionally Republican represented state. Warnock is the 11th African American in the Senate and Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from GeorgiaGeorgia has been considered a deep Republican state for the last 20 years. However, in part due to the diversity of individuals that voted in the runoffsGeorgia elected 2 Democratic senators. 

This election made clear that if you care about something, standing up for it can make a difference

For example, Stacey Abrams and other Democrats in Georgia started the Fair Fight program to help African Americans and other minorities cast ballots for changeThis election served to let America hear their voices