Georgia can seriously influence a high-stakes election_graphic

The 2020 general election was held on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. In the near future, the country will decide the 46th President of the U.S., two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia, and a host of state and local races. 

In 2018, Brian Kemp won the Governor’s race by 54,000 votes. But in un-American fashion he stole the election. It was easy for him to delete 1.4 million voters from the rolls in the largest purge in American history. According to the Intelligencer, the objective was to prevent “Black people, poor people, students, and others,” from voting. Otherwise, we would have a Black female Governor.

Traditionally, older voters have decided elections. Not because they are a larger portion of the electorate, but rather due to the fact that younger voters are alienated and don’t vote at rates which approach baby boomers and the silent generation. But this changed in 2018, when Democrats were elected to the House via the 18-29 vote, which almost doubled from 2014 with a 20% turnout to 2018 with a 36% turnout. However, it should be noted that this is still much lower than older voters — for example, 66% of those over 65 voted.

Due in large part to younger voters like UGA students getting out the vote, Biden resoundingly won the 2020 election, with more than 79 million votes to Trump’s near 73 million. Much more important is the electoral vote, which stands at 306 for Biden and 232 for Trump.

But our fight is not over. Trump seeks another recount, and Democrats actually lost House seats. Plus, the vast majority of state legislatures are currently controlled by conservatives who do not reflect the views of younger voters. Only by increasing the proportion of those voting aged 18-29, like UGA students, will this be reversed. Items of interest to these voters, like lowering tuition costs, women’s rights and the decriminalization of marijuana will not be accomplished unless young people get out and vote.

Furthermore, many Democrats whose policies are in line with younger voters were predicted to be elected to the Senate, but Democrats only picked up one seat; it now stands at 50 GOP and 48 Democrats.

According to Politico, Mitch McConnell stated in 2010 that the “single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” McConnell then blocked any and all progressive legislation for Obama’s terms, saying privately to GOP Senators “we can’t let [Obama] succeed.” If McConnell remains majority leader, we can expect more of the same under President Biden.

Senator Perdue is running against Jon Ossoff, and Senator Kelly Loeffler is running against Raphael Warnock. No Democrat has been elected to the Senate from Georgia in 20 years. However, unless both Ossoff and Warnock are elected, the Senate will remain in GOP hands.

What will this mean for UGA students? More than you might think.

Biden relies on the Senate to confirm his nominees. McConnell blocked Obama’s appointments to the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals and other federal courts. He will do the same for Biden, directly impacting many progressive social issues such as a woman’s right to choose and gun control.

McConnell will also refuse to confirm Biden’s key cabinet nominees and others requiring confirmation unless they are conservatives. These actions will cause tremendous problems for the nation, but McConnell has shown that he puts party before nation every time.

Biden has proposed extensive student loan forgiveness programs. They cannot be enacted without Senate approval. He wants to aggressively fight the COVID-19 pandemic using widespread testing and extensive contact tracing. These actions will not happen without funding from Congress. The same is true for efforts to help those who are unemployed due to the virus, aid businesses in danger of folding and assist state and local governments with budget balancing due to the coronavirus. This last point will directly affect college tuition, in that substantial increases can be expected unless states get financial aid.

Biden wants the U.S. to move toward renewable energy sources like wind and solar and away from oil, gas and coal. Even though he does not endorse Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s massive Green New Deal, Biden has put forth a $2 trillion “green infrastructure” proposal to fight climate change, global warming and pollution. Without Senate backing, this will not happen. Our environment will continue to rapidly deteriorate.

Biden wants to preserve and expand the Affordable Care Act, which currently permits families to keep their college students on their insurance plans up until age 26. The GOP Senate and Trump have been trying to do away with the ACA in court for the last four years. Biden wants to fund these initiatives with taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy. These taxes have been slashed during the Trump years.

One of the most negative effects of the Trump years is the division that it has sown in our nation. Without a unified Congress, we can expect more Congressional stalemates in general.

The only way progress can be made is for the Senate to be won by the Democrats. And that will not happen unless UGA students and other young voters get out on Jan. 5 and once again vote for change.