The Harsh Truth of the Georgia Runoff Elections

Dustin Koski
4 min readNov 28, 2020

Electing Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are critical not only for the Democratic Party but also for the nation. The general narrative is that Kentucky has clearly given Senate Majority Leader McConnell a mandate through his effortless reelection to do whatever he wants as long as he keeps making liberals unhappy and pipes up about conservative plank like recriminalizing abortion. McConnell could stonewall whatever stimulus and bailout efforts he wants forever to wreck the US economy, and many people’s engagement with politics won’t really extend beyond the level of “Biden is president now, and he is a Democrat, so it means it’s his fault that the economy is bad!”

Standing between the US and deliberate economic ruin.

But here’s the thing about McConnell’s election: In 2019, as a result of an omnibus appropriations bill, he could credibly claim to have sent $914M to Kentucky, through projects and tax cuts. That’s the kind of real reason that he’s so unbeatable in the state: He brings the bread. Compared to that, his lack of charisma and political gridlocking are meaningless.

That’s the unpretty truth about American politics: Nothing matters more than putting money in your constituents’ pockets. And it’s exactly the kind of truth Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff are going to have to face. It might sound like a legal way to buy votes, but let’s face it: The voter will rationalize it any number of ways if they actually get the money.

Right now, the only chance of the majority of Georgians have of receiving another $1,200 and $600 weekly in unemployment is to get McConnell’s sabotage out of the way. THAT is the single most significant campaign point for the two candidates. Instead a worrying amount of time is being wasted by Jon Ossoff and others pointing out that their opponents are accused of insider trading and other corruption. There is one ugly truth about this:

Voters. Don’t. Care.

The American voter practically expects corruption from their candidates. Just to the south of Georgia, Rick Scott’s company was well known to have been responsible for huge medicare fraud. This so outraged voters that he was elected to the US senate in 2018. In Georgia itself Brian Kemp corruptly stayed secretary of state as he campaigned for and was elected governor, despite purging hundreds of thousands from rolls.

So the Republican candidates for US Senate can expect it not to matter one iota what they’re exposed for. The most certain way Warnock and Ossoff can defeat them is to point out how these two Republicans being elected and causing a Republican senate majority is a threat to their financial futures. Unfortunately, Ossoff and Warnock seem hesitant to campaign on that talking point. Ossoff in particular because he wants to win on being inspiring or charming, when his personality is irrelevant to the Georgian voter. Some misguided commentators act as if Jon Ossoff’s debate performance against his opponent will shift votes.

I’m sorry to say this, but in 2018, Andrew Gillum’s vastly better received debate performances against Ron DeSantis did not win him governorship of Florida, and there is little reason to believe they will win Ossoff Georgia. No matter how much Ossoff wants another debate with his opponent.

Warnock and Ossoff are also wasting a lot of money on TV ads. Understandable, but as demonstrated by the massive TV ad campaigns of Amy McGrath and other Dem candidates for senate, a losing strategy. However, we saw decisive boosts for Dem turnout in Minnesota and Michigan from canvassing organized under Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, two members of the much-publicized “Squad.” Their sorts of direct, pandemic safe canvassing is what demonstrably gets results in swing states, and it is the best possible approach for getting the word out about the material advantage of voting for Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff to deliver stimulus checks to the people.

Fortunately a way forward has already been found: Alexandria Occassio-Cortez performed a much-publicized fundraiser for direct canvassing groups. So if you’re one of the roughly three hundred million Americans that would benefit from stimulus payments, don’t send donations to Warnock and Ossoff’s already well-funded campaigns. Send them to groups including New Georgia Project and Fair Fight which understand the material realities of the campaign and now how to make sure people get the messages in person. Even a donation of $3 could help each of us get $1,200, plus more for families with dependents. Material realities are the ugly truth of politics, but that we can work together to save our country is its beautiful truth.

Thank you for your time! Keep Georgia Blue!

Dustin Koski is contributed to and edited Return of the Living, the first Bogleech novel. It’s a story of the first living being appearing centuries after all life on Earth has become ghosts.



Dustin Koski

Dustin Koski is a stagehand with IATSE Local 13 and a librarian who has written numerous articles and scripts with millions of views.