If there’s one former Democratic presidential candidate that’s doing the most to help drive out the vote for Georgia’s key Senate runoff elections it has to be Andrew Yang.
When it became clear Republican or Democratic control of the Senate is going to hinge on the two runoff races to be held January 5, Yang announced he would be moving to Georgia to help give his party the best chance to sweep the critical seats.
“It looks like Democrats have an uphill climb in Georgia,” Yang told Yahoo Finance Live Tuesday. “It seems like it’s because Democratic voters actually need a little bit more awareness raising to the fact that there is a special election on January 5, and conservatives are more plugged in to voting in Georgia.”
Without President Trump at the top of the ballot, experts are wondering what kind of an impact it might have on voter turnout compared to the record turnout the state saw last week. Yang says Democrats won’t be able to afford to find out if they want to prevent Republicans from controlling the Senate.
“If everyone came out as they did in November, the Democrats could 100% win but that may not be the natural propensity in Georgia which is one reason why I’m heading there,” he said. “Without us making the case I don’t think that would take place naturally in many of these communities.”
Two other key Senate races that were lost by Democratic candidates in South Carolina and Kentucky would seem to support the fact it’s going to take a lot more than just money to win both runoffs in Georgia. Democrat Jamie Harrison lost his South Carolina race against incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham despite out fundraising his opponent with a record haul of more than $100 million. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also won re-election in Kentucky despite raising about $30 million less than his Democratic challenger Amy McGrath.
Without a referendum on a Trump presidency, the special election in Georgia becomes more of a referendum on Democratic power, which will be very difficult, according to Hoover Institution Fellow and former Mitt Romney policy adviser Lanhee Chen.
“It’s going to be, I think, a referendum on the question of do you want Joe Biden to move potentially all the way to the left or do you want him constrained? And I think if that’s the dynamic, if that’s the set up, I have a very difficult time seeing Georgia voters going for two Democrats in those races,” he said.
Yang, however, is hopeful Democrats might be able to channel voter frustrations over the inability of Republicans and Democrats to work together to get people to buy into President-elect Biden, and thus the country, getting more done with united government.
“The case to make in Georgia is exactly identical to the case that was just made with Joe at the top line,” Yang said, focusing on turning the page for the country and a more functional government agenda. “In this case, we need to deliver a Senate that will actually be looking to pass laws and not have a replay of Mitch McConnell being the obstructionist during the Obama years.”