The stakes in Georgia

Scott writes below about today’s special election to replace HHS Secretary Tom Price in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. He observes, “If [Jon] Ossoff were to win today, Democrats and their media adjunct won’t let us stop hearing about it.” He is correct.

If Ossoff doesn’t win today, and doesn’t come close enough to 50 percent to suggest he will win a runoff, we won’t hear much about it. Yet, it will be news.

The left has poured more than $8 million into the race on Ossoff’s behalf. Hollywood is all-in. The GOP field is beyond fractured. President Trump’s approval rating is low. A president’s party typically struggles in off-year elections.

Special elections favor the side that’s energized and focused. In Georgia’s Sixth District, the Democrats fit that description; the Republicans are its antithesis, or were until very recently.

Under these circumstances, if Ossoff fails to get to 50, or within reasonable shouting distance, it will be remarkable. Whether the mainstream media remarks on such an outcome is another question.

How will Ossoff perform? Erick Erickson, who knows Georgia politics well, thinks the Democrats and their media allies are “engaging in wishful thinking.” He notes that “there hasn’t been any significant poll showing Jon Ossoff equaling or exceeding Hillary Clinton’s 46.8%” in the district.

Thus, the race probably comes down to turnout, as Scott says. One can imagine Ossoff polling at 45 percent but winning 50 percent of the vote due to low turnout by Republicans. That’s why Republicans in the Sixth District really should take the time to vote for one of the Republican candidates today.

Finally, a question. How did a 30 year-old documentary film maker (whose company has produced films for Al Jazeera) and ex-congressional staffer who doesn’t even live in the Sixth District become the vessel of hope for Democrats everywhere? Wouldn’t Democrats be better off, other things being equal, with a more conventional candidate?

Other things being equal, I think Democrats would be, although it can be argued that Ossoff’s youth works in his favor. But other things aren’t equal in Democratic politics.

Ossoff may be immature. He may not live in the Sixth District (his excuse is that he’s living outside the district to support his girlfriend while she finishes medical school). His views, which he is taking pains to conceal, may be far to the left of voters in a district represented by Tom Price and, years ago, Newt Gingrich.

But Ossoff is in tune with the Democratic/Hollywood left and quickly became the darling of left-wing blogs like the Daily Kos. Thus, he was able to attract the $8 million needed to make a strong run at wresting this district from Republican control. A more conventional candidate might not have generated that kind of “outside” support.

So today’s contest can be viewed more as a test of the left’s ability to game the political process in special circumstances than of Republican strength in the early days of the Trump administration.

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