Democrats Won the Senate, Now It’s Time to Save Democracy

Aaron Huertas
4 min readJan 6, 2021

Democrats really did it. They flipped the Senate. Now the party has control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency for the first time since 2009.

This victory is due to hard work from Georgia organizers who have been battling voter suppression for decades—and Trump’s wild conspiracy theories about election fraud for the past few months.

Democrats should view this victory as a mandate to save democracy. But in order to do so, they’ll need to get their own house in order on process and power, especially in the Senate.

Georgia’s newest Senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. (via Democrats.org)

Attacking democracy loses elections

Runoffs always have lower turnout than general elections, but we can see that Democratic turnout remained strong while Republican turnout fell off more significantly across Georgia. On the one hand, Trump was not on the ballot, which surely depressed turnout for Republicans, but turnout was also down in an area where Trump had recently campaigned.

More importantly for democracy, Republicans’ strategy of declaring all out war on the election results—including Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s promise to challenge today’s Electoral College certification—didn’t work. In fact, it may have backfired by undermining confidence in voting among their base.

It’s not enough to celebrate this win. Democrats should also make it clear that Republicans played with fire and voters burned them as a result. If that becomes conventional wisdom—and some conservatives are already heading there—Republicans may be less likely to embrace their worst anti-democratic instincts in the future.

Save democracy for a generation

Democrats campaigned on a few national-level priorities in Georgia, including civil rights and COVID relief, including $2k relief checks. More broadly, Stacey Abrams and a constellation of Georgia groups have built a multi-racial coalition of voters who have repeatedly overcome Republican voter suppression to…

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Aaron Huertas

Democracy is pretty cool. We should try it some time. Voting rights, science policy, political communication and grassroots activism.