News that major news-media outlets had called Democrat Jon Ossoff’s victory over David Perdue in the Georgia Senate runoff — giving Democrats control of the upper chamber and a governing trifecta — arrived just as a shocked nation was observing the violence and chaos in the Capitol that President Trump and his Republican enablers have done so much to incite in recent months. On multiple fronts it became apparent that the irresponsible words that are the president’s signature do indeed have consequences.
For the rioters and the MAGA hordes they represented, of course, the Democratic wins in Georgia were just two more “stolen elections,” despite assurances from Republican election officials in the state that the balloting and counting were entirely clean and mostly efficient. (Raphael Warnock’s win over Kelly Loeffler was sealed late the night before, earlier than expected.) It’s increasingly clear that Trump regards any election he does not win as “stolen,” which is one of the deadliest signs of un-American authoritarianism. But no matter how long Republicans in Georgia and Washington take to concede their defeats, the Georgia runoffs will be remembered as an important part of the national transition away from the dangerous 45th presidency.
While it will take a while to sort through the numbers and determine exactly what happened, it appears the Democratic win was attributable to a combination of Warnock and Ossoff improving on Biden’s vote share in big Democratic counties and Republicans being unable to match their Election Day turnout in their base areas. This latter GOP disappointment occurred despite Trump’s own last-minute efforts to convince the MAGA faithful to turn out to avenge the theft of the presidency he alleges to have occurred (even as he refuses to concede).
Trump richly earned another loss by trampling the potentially winning Republican message of keeping the Senate in GOP hands to rein in Biden and his party from abuses of power and excessive liberalism. He forced Loeffler and Perdue to bend their knees — and their campaigns — to his doomed effort to steal the presidential election. But then he couldn’t deliver the votes to make this hijacking of Georgia’s election an object lesson to those hoping to build a post-Trump party. He will suffer the coup de grâce hours from now when Congress brushes aside his last-gasp bid to overturn Biden’s Electoral College majority once it reconvenes after the attempted sack of the Capitol by Trump’s vandals.
The Georgia voters who elected Warnock and Ossoff to the Senate in a dramatic general-election runoff on Tuesday had no way of knowing what would happen the very next day. But there’s rough justice in the rebuke they administered to Trump and his party. Having lost the power to systematically obstruct Biden’s appointments and legislative agenda, Trump’s divided and defeated party will suffer for quite some time after he finally leaves the White House.