The Most Important Senator…

In a recent post about a potential Republican majority House of Representatives, I’d written:

“Before I delve into the potential horror that may await us, I’m going out on a twig-thin limb with a prediction: the Democrats will retain their majorities and possibly pick up a Senate seat or two.”

It’s getting a bit challenging to hang on to the House portion of my prediction.

At this point, I’m focused on the Senate. Although it’s a huge relief to know that the Democrats have the majority, I was a bit too glib in suggesting that the Republicans might lose interest as a result. They’re fully engaged and sparing no expense to make Herschel Walker into a United States Senator.

So here’s my shorthand for all that I’ve learned about the importance of ensuring Senator Raphael Warnock’s reelection:

Fifty-one Senators is much more than one more than fifty.

Of course in any reality removed from today’s Republican party and its base, the contest between Senator Warnock and Herschel Walker would be ridiculous. I’m assuming you know the mammoth disparity in qualifications, intellect, experience, and temperament between these two men.

Unfortunately, although Warnock was leading, he didn’t receive fifty percent of the vote; the result is the runoff election on December 6th.

In addition to his merits as a Senator, Warnock’s status as the fifty-first Democrat would mean the following:

—In contrast to the present 50-50 Senate, the Democrats won’t have to share committee assignments equally with the Republicans: they can have a majority of members on the various committees. They’ll be able to move bills out of committee and issue subpoenas without Republican approval. The result will be greater control over both legislation and confirmation of the President’s nominees, as well as fewer delays.

—The power of Senators Manchin and Sinema, who stymied the President’s plans on a number of occasions, will be diluted. (In truth, I think that Sinema is a wild card anyway. I heard Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego express dismay that she’s been nowhere in evidence during this very difficult period for the Arizona Democrats running for office. Her interests appear entirely Sinema-centric to me.)

—The 2024 election will be very challenging for Democrats: of the thirty-three Senatorial positions up in two years, twenty-three are held by Democrats. A Warnock win in December will mean one less seat to worry about.

—“The Senate is a gerontocracy,” tweeted Dante Atkins, who describes himself as a “progressive communicator and strategist.” “…We could have a death in a state with a Republican governor. a lot of things could happen. 51-49 versus 50-50 means you can have up to 2 absences/noes” [and still be able to conduct the Senate’s business].

—Atkins also pointed out that Vice President Harris would no longer have to be moored to Washington as backup to break a legislative tie. She can be “deployed for both policy and campaigning”—more productive use of her time.

—Of great importance, Democrats would be able to confirm judicial nominations with a simple majority vote. We all have heightened awareness of the urgent need for qualified judges throughout the country. McConnell and the former guy did their best Johnny Appleseed efforts to get young, ultra-conservative, and not always stellar individuals sprinkled throughout the land.

Robert Hubbell points out that there are presently 89 vacant federal judgeships—ten percent of the total positions. President Biden has been moving rapidly to fill judgeships with admirable and diverse individuals. The simple majority vote will expedite this effort.

—If the Republicans gain a majority in the House of Representatives, the Democratic Senators can reject bills that the House passes. As Hubbell puts it, “One additional vote substantially lessens the ability of Republicans to act as legislative terrorists.”

As you can see, there’s much at stake in this runoff election. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the highly touted Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, though he gained respect for standing up to Trump’s entreaties that he “find 11,780 votes” in 2020, has demonstrated his willingness to put his thumb on the election scale.

He didn’t protest the comprehensive overhaul of Georgia’s election law passed in 2021, which has been called the state’s “Anti-Voter Law.” That’s the law that criminalized bringing a glass of water to a voter on a long line, among other voter suppression tactics. It also has a strongly suppressive impact on runoff elections–shortening all the periods for voters to get and return mail-in ballots and to vote early in person.

When the runoff became clear, Raffensperger ruled that Georgia law prohibits early in-person voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. According to Marc Elias’s Democracy Docket, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is publicly disagreeing with Raffensperger’s interpretation of a 2016 law, which it calls “a plain misreading…”

The DSCC’s lawyers—that would be the Elias Law Group—sent a letter to various Georgia county election boards encouraging them to begin early in-person voting as soon as possible; the letter provided a sample schedule to help the county boards satisfy all their required notices and testing.

Kudos to the indefatigable Marc Elias and his colleagues!

If you’d like to help and you’re thinking of sending a donation, no matter how small, please don’t hesitate. You can use this link. The Republicans are pouring money into Walker’s campaign. (At some point, we have to get all this money out of politics, but we can’t now.)

My husband and I had written postcards to voters in behalf of Warnock and Stacey Abrams in October, and we’ve now resumed this effort for Warnock. The organization is Postcards to Voters. Other options and organizations are listed in this publication.

Everyone’s tired. We all need a rest. But I think the November 8th election has shown us that democracy is worth fighting for—and we need to keep at it.


27 thoughts on “The Most Important Senator…

  1. Thanks for this analysis. My local team of letter/postcard writers (which grew in numbers as we got closer to the midterms) is about to do another wave of cards to potential Georgia voters. I agree. Let’s keep our activity and activism rolling along!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You’re welcome, my fellow post-carder—and thank you! I am so excited about the activation of GenZ! These are young people who really believe in the ideals of America. There’s a “Young Voters for Warnock” group busy in Georgia.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Will, I responded to you, but it didn’t go through. I asked if you thought your niece and/or nephew might be interested in getting involved in politics. If so, do you know about “Run for Something,” an organization that helps young people get started?


      2. I give the Run4Something $5 every month. Also Rural Democrat organizing groups. I’m gonna re-focus my giving during the next year on “get-out-the-vote” organizations in swing states. And I do not think my niece or nephew has an desire to run for office, although my nephew is a great listener and doesn’t talk much; so he may have lots of ideas brewing of which I know nothing…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Annie, well said. Warnock is a far better candidate than his opposition. Being a talented football player does not make you a talented legislator. Congressman Jack Kemp (R) and Senator Bill Bradley (D) were talented legislators as both were very studious on economic matters, with Bradley being a Rhodes Scholar. Kemp was a NFL Quarterback while Bradley was a NBA basketball player. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Keith. I was sorry that “Dollar Bill” didn’t go farther; he was a solid and brilliant leader with broad appeal.

      Kemp was a decent guy, but we now know—and many economists have long said—that supply side economics was bad for all but the wealthiest.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks. Me too on Bill Bradley. He was a learned and talented leader. As for Kemp, true he went down the Republican path of supply side economics. I am not a fan of his position on this. But, there are very few politicians I agree with on every issue, at least in time. My point is he and Bradley took the time to be students of their craft, unlike Walker and too many others. Long ago, when more serious-minded people roamed the halls of Congress (not all mind you), I had much greater respect for the folks. Now, with a number of folks who truly do not belong there with their overt untruthfulness, mean-spiritedness and incompetence, I no longer feel that way. And, that makes me sad. Keith

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I hear ya, Keith. I don’t want to belabor this. It’s just that Kemp was such an outsized figure that he commanded much respect—and supply side economics has been a huge factor in creating the vast income inequality that’s not only unjust, but also has contributed to our political instability.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Americans just don’t do nuance. The significance of a marginal majority is foreign to our thinking. That leads me to think that Herschel is toast. Only an idiot would spend money to elect a brain damaged running back to the Senate. But then a “true genius” spent 44 bil to send unfiltered tweets which the day before he was sending free. I mentioned that the physics makes everything we see upside down and backwards. The brain turns it into reality. I had always thought this universal. Mr Senator?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find it impossible to believe that anybody who actually cares about the future of the country … not only the country, but the world … could cast a vote for the “don’t we already have enough trees” Herschel Walker. I’ll have more to say later, but suffice it to say that I don’t use the word ‘stupid’ lightly, for I was told throughout my childhood how ‘stupid’ I was and came to despise the word, but where Herschel Walker is concerned, the word ‘stupid’ is a perfect fit, and it fits any who support or vote for him as well. Full stop.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jill: I cut some of what I’d written about Walker because I wanted to focus on the importance of Warnock as Senator 51.

      I don’t think “stupid” is quite apt. Walker is head-injured, and the disgrace lies with the people who are propping him up for their own power play, namely the odious former President. Walker is the white supremacists’ stereotype of a Black man: big, athletic, incoherent, amoral, brutish, and happily led around by white folks who lavish attention on him. He’s the polar opposite of Senator Warnock, who’s their greatest fear: a highly intelligent, thoughtful, ethical, measured man who has already earned a stellar reputation as a leader in the Senate.

      And by cynically running one Black man against another, these dreadful people think they’re appealing to Black voters and giving white people “cover” to vote for this badly damaged candidate.

      Many lies about Warnock from the right may have muddied some people’s thinking, but it appears that most of those who voted for Walker—including large numbers of white Evangelicals—saw giving power to the Democrats as the greatest evil of all. And they’re pleased that Walker is running as someone seeking grace for his sins—though he seems to have bypassed the redemption part.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you! I’ve been uncomfortable with what the Republicans are doing with Mr. Walker, but could not come up with the words to say what I think I keep seeing with that, without saying something stupid-white-girl. You, Annie-you did it. Thank you again!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, ali! I find the entire Warnock-Walker contest so terribly wrong and painful. It just shouldn’t be. I’m glad Rev Warnock is a man of faith because it’s gotta take the patience of Job to go through this again. I don’t know how he can bear it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I fully understand about wanting to highlight the positive (Warnock) rather than dwell on the negative.

        I stand by my assessment of Walker, though. He’s told so many outrageous lies … lies that are easily proven false, such as about his education, his career in law enforcement that never even happened … and he pulled a gun on his wife, and again on a member of her family. No, that’s not just too many hits on the head. But you are right that the blame lies with those who are willing to accept and lift his candidacy despite all the reasons not to. And the voters who are voting for a football ‘hero’, not a Senator. The people of this nation place entirely too much emphasis on athletes and celebrities and not nearly enough on intelligence and qualifications. My Black friend and neighbor said about Walker, “He’s the dumbest piece of sh*t.”

        I think that Warnock will win in December. At least I hope my faith in sanity is not misplaced. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. People can be stupid without doing all the awful things Walker’s done. And the Republicans could have found a Black athlete who can speak in complete sentences and not be so blatantly unsuitable for the role. But we agree that the larger onus lies on those who chose him. It’s a disgraceful decision that reeks of racism.

        Warnock has to win! But again, the Republicans are making it as difficult as they can for Warnock’s Black supporters to cast their ballots.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. I completely agree. We’ve had Margie Greene, Lauren Boebert, and even Madison Cawthorne in the House, and they have a collective IQ of somewhere around 100, but a) they’re still more intelligent than Walker, and b) the House, being the lower chamber, they cannot wreak quite the havoc there that Walker could in the Senate. And even the Republicans have tired of some of their antics, for Cawthorn couldn’t win his primary and Boebert is struggling mightily still to hold her seat. You’d think people would learn, wouldn’t you?


  5. Research is showing that the damage begins at the first hit. Hershel as been used his entire life. He has been kept in a special bubble since Jr High. How would it even be possible for him to see it? My oldest son has a hip placement anomaly that should be painful and no doubt would be except he has never spent a day in atmosphere without it so he is not in pain.
    Hershel is the victim and will end with the value of a used tissue to those using him. We need not pile on.


    1. I’m irate about those using Walker without feeling much sympathy for him as a victim, Richard. He’s done too much damage to those who trusted him personally. He just should not have been placed in this position.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He is being used. Just a Judas goat. Rolling Stone mag had an interesting take on feature or bug Hershel.


    1. I wasn’t either. And I should note that although it was the guy I cited from Twitter who got me started, I subsequently got a link from Infidel with the same information cited by another source. I’m grateful to him as well.


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