Georgia Senate election could hand Joe Biden real power to shape America

Joe Biden has a lot to be grateful for in the state of Georgia.

His victory there in November’s presidential election was one of the decisive moments in the country’s rejection of Donald Trump.

Having helped hand him the keys to the White House, Georgians could be about to give him all the power he needs to shape America for the next four years.

A run-off election sees Georgia’s two Republican senators facing Democrat challengers in a race that the polls suggest is extremely tight.

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If the Democrats do win both seats, it will leave the US Senate evenly divided between the two parties. In that scenario, the vice-president, Kamala Harris, would be called upon to cast any deciding votes.

With Democrats already in the majority in the lower House of Representatives, it would give the party decisive legislative power in Washington.

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If the Republicans hold just one of the two Georgia seats, Americans can probably write off the next four years to more partisan gridlock.

Republicans have possibly not been helped by the current president continuing to cast doubt on the electoral process. They worry it will dissuade voters from turning up.

Election officials in Georgia are still dealing with the fall-out from Mr Trump’s phone call asking them to “find” extra votes.

“I personally found it to be something that was not normal and out of place and nobody I know who would be president would do something like that,” Gabriel Sterling, the Republican voting chief, told Sky News this week.

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Trump call to Georgia official

Plenty of Republican voters are disillusioned enough at Mr Trump’s loss in November to skip this election, especially when his name is on the ballot.

Some others, officials worry, will be turned off voting when they keep hearing from the president that the process is “rigged”.

Joe Biden (R) campaigns for Senate candidates Raphael Warnock (C) and Jon Ossoff (L)
Image:Joe Biden (R) campaigns for Senate candidates Raphael Warnock (C) and Jon Ossoff (L)

Democrats hope the energy they engendered in November, especially among the younger and more diverse populations in big cities like Atlanta, will push their candidates to victory.

The Reverend Raphael Warnock, who occupies the pulpit that used to be Martin Luther King’s, and the film-maker Jon Ossoff are running incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue close.

In the car park of a school in an Atlanta suburb, Rev Warnock urged voters to “finish what they started” in November. Both sides know turnout is crucial.

The race is already one of the most expensive in history, with the campaigns spending not far short of a billion dollars.

It is illustrative of what is at stake in this state: how much of what Joe Biden promised he will actually be able to deliver and, consequently, what path America takes for the next four years.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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