In a year that provided provocative civil unrest plus unexpected twists and turns, 2020 A.D. is proving to be the most consequential year in America’s recent history. This year’s general election is no different.
Currently, President Donald J. Trump has an 8.9 percentage point deficit based on the averaging of each top poll, according to RealClearPolitics.
The president continues to play down the ramifications of the Coronavirus pandemic, insisting that America has “turned the corner” with respect to testing, is fed up with media coverage he believes is an agent of opposition toward his agenda; he believes that anyone who goes against his dogmatic views is his enemy.
On the other side of the aisle, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has told his supporters, they cannot be complacent because of the leads they see in the polls.
In the state of Georgia, Trump leads Biden by a single percentage margin, 48-47, according to polling conducted by Emerson between Oct. 17-19. In the most recent Siena/New York Times poll, the presidential race is tied.
According to the data, Biden has strong support within younger voters aged 18-29, who break for him 55 percent to 38 percent, and with college-educated voters who break for Biden at 55 percent as well. Trump’s strength is with white voters where he leads 64 percent to 30 percent and with less-educated voters where he leads 52 percent to 42 percent.
Joe Biden’s favorability rating is 10 points higher than Hillary Clinton at this stage of the election four years ago.
“The very searing truth is that Donald Trump can still win this race, and every indication we have shows that this thing is going to come down to the wire,” Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon wrote in a memo to supporters on Saturday.
“The reality is that this race is far closer than some of the punditry we’re seeing on Twitter and on TV would suggest,” O’Malley Dillon wrote. “In the key battleground states where this election will be decided, we remain neck and neck with Donald Trump.”
In the early stages of the pandemic, many observers believed Georgia was not a battleground state. Conversely, Stacey Abrams steadfastly believed the Peach State was in play.
“We know that Georgia is not simply a battleground state, but we are the battleground state,” said Stacey Abrams in a June 29 virtual press conference. “The numbers tell the story. The numbers tell us that in 2016, we had a pretty strong turnout in our Democratic primary, but the numbers in 2020 were up 61 percent.
“We have had more than 750,000 new people register to vote in the state of Georgia—new registrants—since 2018 and, if you at the breakdown, 45% of them are under the age of 30 and 49% are people of color and these are populations that tend towards Democrats,” she added.
According to responses in the Emerson poll, the economy is the most important issue of the 2020 election at 36 percent, followed by the COVID-19 response at 18 percent, social justice at 15 percent, and healthcare at 14 percent.
Among Trump voters, 64 percent say the economy, while Biden voters are split between healthcare (25 percent), the COVID-19 response (24 percent), and social justice (22 percent) on what issue is the most important in deciding their vote.
However, a plurality of Georgia voters, 48 percent, believe COVID-19 is a major threat to public health.
The likeliest Trump electoral path to victory involves winning the battlegrounds of North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and either Michigan or Pennsylvania.
According to the Georgia Department of Health, there are 341,310 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia and 30,388 people have been hospitalized. 7,657 people have succumbed to COVID-19.
The Jungle Primary: Collins vs. Loeffler vs. Ossoff
This Senate race features Senator Kelly Loeffler, U.S. Representative Doug Collins, and Senior Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock as the three leading contestants in a primary with twenty-one people on the ballot.
In the past month, Warnock surged past Collins and Loeffler as the conservatives are fighting amongst each other in a quest to determine who’s the biggest Trump supporter. In order to discuss how the race ended up here, one must revisit how this unique race originated.
On Aug. 29, 2019, then-U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson announced he would retire from Congress. A few weeks later, Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp rolled out an online application with the goal of conducting a transparent search that would yield a replacement.
However, Loeffler rose to the top of Kemp’s list because she proved to be the Republicans’ best candidate to stave off advances by Democrats in Atlanta’s suburbs that almost prevented Kemp from winning the 2018 Governor’s race.
Before being named to the U.S. Senate, Loeffler served as the CEO of Bakkt (a subsidiary of the International Exchange) and owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. She is also married to Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
Loeffler is a dilettante, compared to Collins; yet was rapidly embraced by state Republicans and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. However, the one conservative that did not support the decision was the only person Loeffler (and Kemp) needed to impress the most: President Trump.
Trump wanted the U.S. Representative from Gainesville, Collins, in Isakson’s seat. Collins vociferously defended Trump in the impeachment proceedings. Trump also believed Loeffler wasn’t a strong-enough conservative for his taste.
The populists and President love Collins because he is an attorney, a pastor, and more than most spoke the language of the blue-collar Georgian. But, Loeffler remained steadfast to the belief that she can pull more of the GOP vote by virtue of her wealth, indifference, and hostility to Black Democrats. However, Trump has not formally endorsed either Loeffler or Collins.
On Jan. 30, Warnock entered the race. His first major endorsement came from Stacey Abrams, who pledged to back Warnock. Warnock benefitted from the apparatus that Abrams built in 2018 while being mentored by the late Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis and it goes without mentioning, he is the senior pastor of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church.
If no one wins the jungle primary with more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff in January. However, if there is a winner above the 50 percent threshold, that person will be seated in the U.S. Senate immediately.
Senate Battle: Jon Ossoff vs. Sen. David Perdue
Republican Senator David Perdue entered 2020 as a strong incumbent, not expecting a strong challenge from anyone. However, Democrat Jon Ossoff beat a strong primary field that featured former Columbus mayor, Teresa Tomlinson. Ossoff served as an intern for the late John Lewis and is married to Alicia Kramer, a nurse at Emory University.
This race is a statistical dead heat. Ossoff has sought to define Senator Perdue on his decision-making with respect to selling off stocks prior to the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Meanwhile, Perdue has attempted to paint Ossoff as a socialist who is nothing more than a potential change-agent for the U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in liberals’ quest to enact the Green New Deal.
Georgia’s 6th Congressional District: Karen Handel vs U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath
In 2017, Karen Handel defeated opponent Jon Ossoff in the race for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District that proved to be the most expensive election campaign in Georgia’s history.
At the time, the belief was this battle would be a “referendum” on the first year of the Trump Administration. Less than 24 months later, Handel was defeated by McBath. Currently, the rematch is classified as a toss-up.
McBath continues to campaign on gun reform, protecting Planned Parenthood and the expansion of health care. McBath has accused Handel of obstructing voter rights during the Republican’s time as Georgia Secretary of State.
Conversely, Handel said she’s against abortion, is against the Affordable Care Act—colloquially known as “Obamacare” —and has painted McBath as someone who is for “packing” or adding seats to the United States Supreme Court.
Georgia’s 7th Congressional District: Carolyn Bourdeaux (D) vs Rich McCormick (R)
Georgia’s 7th Congressional District is located north of Atlanta. The district includes portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties. This race became a race to watch as soon as incumbent Republican Rob Woodall did not run for re-election. He served the 7th since 2010.
However, according to previous polling results, Woodall’s time in Congress was coming to a close as support for Trump is becoming untenable as the 7th’s racial demographic rapidly shifts.
Bourdeaux is a professor at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University. She took on Woodall in 2018 and lost the election by 433 votes—50.1 percent to 49.9 percent. In 2016 and 2014, Woodall had won re-election by 20.8 and 30.8 percentage points.
Meanwhile, McCormick is a first-time political candidate who is currently an emergency room doctor and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Georgia’s 5th Congressional District: Nikema Williams (D) vs Angela Stanton-King (R)
Nikema Williams currently represents District 39 in the Georgia State Senate, is the current chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, and was named by Democratic insiders to the ballot to replace former Congressman John Lewis, who passed away July 17. She is facing off against Angela Stanton-King, who is a staunch supporter of President Trump and is against LGBTQ rights.
Williams is heavily favored to beat Stanton-King in the District 5 race, which encompasses most of Atlanta, Buckhead, Decatur, and East Point.