Georgia Democrats showed up in full force Tuesday to elect Jon Ossoff to represent the 6th Congressional District. The 30-year-old former Congressional aide barely missed the 50% vote threshold to avoid a run-off election on June 20. Thus, the young Democrat will face off in a few months against Republican Karen Handel, who won 19.8% of last night's vote.
Georgia's 6th Congressional District is notorious for its conservative leanings, which means the swing to the left in last night's vote is important. After the election of Donald Trump last November, Democrats quickly tried to rally together to make sure special elections swing in their favor, especially leading up to the 2018 midterm Congressional elections. Democrats have recently suffered tough losses, however, both in a Kansas special election on April 11 and last night in Georgia. While the ability to secure Democratic wins in these two races was challenging in deeply red areas, the Democrats almost pulled it off. Thankfully for Ossoff, redemption could still be won on June 20.
These special election results from this red Georgia district signal three key things for the Democratic party:
Democrats have the power to flip traditionally Republican districts.
With President Trump's approval ratings at an all time low, Democrats have a strong chance to connect to voters for both special elections and 2018 midterms. Special elections and midterms have traditionally low turnouts, but increasing voter turnout could help these districts flip from red to blue. If Democrats are able to get their message out to more and more voters, special elections such as the upcoming Connecticut and Montana races, have the ability to turn blue.
Democrats need a clear vision to unite party members in order to win.
Between the dedicated Hillary Clinton supporters and die-hard Bernie Sanders fans, Democrats have been broken into factions ever since the beginning of 2016. These separations didn't go away after Trump's election, as some Democrats might claim, but now the divide is more apparent than ever before. With the ability to flip Congress blue on the line, Democrats need to unite around a solid, persuasive party vision to garner votes. Splitting votes is not something the Democrats can afford at this time in history, and if they hope to win special elections and midterms, they need to unite party members towards common goals right away.
Democrats have a strong chance to win back Congress in 2018.
If Democrats are in fact able to unite the party towards common liberal goals and choose strong candidates to challenge Republicans in the midterm elections, then they will have a strong chance to take back the majority in Congress in 2018. Multiple organizations such as Swing Left or Indivisible are working hard to make sure Democrats are elected to the House and Senate. There are plenty of opportunities for college students to get involved in organizations such as this, or even just getting the word out about voting via social media is effective.
With stories such as Ossoff's in mind, it is clear that our political system in the U.S. is increasingly unpredictable. The current instability is threatening to Republican power, because Democrats might be able to win back districts such as Georgia's 6th Congressional District in order to win back the majority in the House and Senate.
Lead Image Credit: MSNBC