Red Blue & You: Embracing Victories
Democrats have a platform of success, one which Georgia candidates can and should embrace.
For much of the 2022 campaign season, many Democratic candidates across Georgia put as much distance between themselves and President Joe Biden as possible. As economic conditions worsened in the first half of the year, so too did his approval rating, bottoming out at 34% of registered voters, according to polling from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In a state with some of the most competitive and expensive elections in the country, candidates had to be careful not to alienate voters who were unhappy with the president’s performance and that of his party.
There was initially little for Democrats to celebrate this year. Congress was mired in its usual malaise, with Republicans holding up every single piece of meaningful legislation. The Supreme Court handed down devastating rulings that fundamentally altered people’s lives for the worse, most notably in striking down the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade. Although there were historic successes early in Biden’s presidency, including passing the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, even otherwise supportive voters had little to point to more recently.
Then came August 2022. If gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and other statewide Democratic candidates emerge victorious in their races, there is no doubt that this past August will be hailed as the month their fortunes changed. Most significantly, there was a shocking breakthrough on a package of legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, which delivered on many of the president’s campaign promises.
The bill makes a historic down payment on deficit reduction to fight inflation, invests in domestic energy production and manufacturing and provides funding to reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40% by 2030. It also finally allows Medicare to negotiate for prescription drug prices and it extends the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies, which will lead to more affordable treatments for the people who need it most. The legislation represents a massive victory for the American people and the future of this country, a victory that was only possible with Biden’s continued leadership and newfound unity in the Democratic Party.
That was not his only victory, however. In the span of just two months Biden presided over significant wins, both foreign and domestic. The CHIPS and Science Act, which boosts American production of critical semiconductor chips that go into everyday household items from cell phones to cars, passed with bipartisan support in both chambers. The bill marks a historic investment that will lower costs for those goods, create new jobs and make the country more resilient and more competitive against China, where many of these chips are produced today.
These bills will fundamentally alter the course of the country for the better and are only possible thanks to the voters of Georgia and the two Democratic senators we elected, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. They worked with Biden to do what is best for our state but have also shown a willingness to chart their own course when necessary.
Less than a week after Senate passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, Biden notched a major victory abroad with the killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, the biggest blow to the militant group since Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. While Biden’s administration has certainly been more careful than the previous president’s in how to leverage the American war machine, Biden has continued to demonstrate how precise, targeted strikes can be a game-changer.
At the end of the day, though, elections are ultimately decided on one thing – pocketbooks. If voters think the economy is going well, they support incumbents. If they don’t, they support the opposing party. With inflation rampant in the first half of 2022, Democrats lost support as the party in charge.
Things look a little different now, though. Inflation is down from historic highs and jobs have continued to bounce back from the depths of the pandemic, with jobs reports putting unemployment in the low single digits.
In short, Biden is winning, which means Democrats should be winning too. We collectively have a platform of success, one which Georgia candidates can and should embrace as they make their closing arguments on the campaign trail. For the first time in a long time, this country is heading in the right direction – but there is still a lot of work to do, especially here. President Biden has done his job, and now it is our turn to do ours.