My Favorite 2020 “Dark Horse” State

Washington Post / YouTube Stacey Abrams celebrates victory in Georgia...
Washington Post / YouTube

No, it’s not what you think. Thanks to current polling, and the historic unpopularity of Trump, many Democrats are once again indulging themselves in the dream of turning Texas at least purple, if not blue. And I’m right there with them. Jon Cornyn isn’t sleeping so well these nights, and most polls show the Trump-Biden race in a dead heat. If it comes true, believe me, I’ll be the first one to raise a glass and holler Sliante! But I’m not betting the rent on it.

Actually, I have a different favorite dark horse state to look to for surprises on November 3rd. And I’ve actually had this state on my radar for several months now. And it’s not just s twitch between my shoulder blades, or a hunch brought on by years of following this shit. There is actually a statistical, math based reason why I think this state could be the state everybody is talking about on election night.

And that state is Georgia. And there’s a whole lot of reasons for that. For one, there is the polling. Trump won Georgia comfortably in 2016, but this year is anything but a walkover. Most polls show Trump in a dead heat with Biden in Georgia, which has to be a flashing red light for the campaign, taking into account his earlier success. Also, Senate candidate Perdue is in a dead heat with Ossof, showing that it isn’t just Trump that is unpopular in Georgia this year, it’s the GOP writ large. And then there’s Kelly Loeffler.

Let’s be clear, Loeffler’s seat will not be decided on election night, or any other time before January. Loeffler was appointed by the GOP Governor to replace the suddenly retired Jonny Isakson. As such, Loeffler’s November election is actually a jungle primary with several other Democratic, Republican, and third party candidates on the ballot. If no one gets 50% on election day, there will be a runoff election between the top two in January. The last poll I saw showed Loeffler up by about 5 points, with two Democrats nipping at her heels. Right now that would lead to a January runoff with the top Democrat finisher, but the way things are going, if Georgia continues to sour on the GOP, there is an outside chance that Loeffler could slide down to third, and not even be in a January runoff between two Democrats.

Likewise, because there is a third party candidate running in the Perdue-Ossof race, it is possible that if neither gets to 50% on election night, they too would be forced to a January runoff for the seat. This raises the specter of leaving the November election without a confirmed Georgia Senator ready to be seated when congress resumes in its new session in January.

But enough of that theoretical bullshit, here’s why I’m so strong on Georgia being an election night surprise. Back in 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams ran for Governor against GOP Secretary of State Brian Kemp. It was an absolutely filthy election, especially on the part of the GOP. Late in the game, with the race a toss up, Kemp used his position as the Secretary of State, the arbiter of elections in the state, to expunge more than 600,000 voters from the Georgia rolls before polling started. On election night, Abrams lost by far less than the 600,000 votes that Kemp had purged.

But here’s the 2020 McGuffin. After being robbed blind, Stacey Abrams didn’t just fold up her tent and go home. Instead, she established a tent city and went to work. Her organization hit the streets, with a laser focus on registering new voters. And she did it with a vengeance. Remember this, in 2018, Kemp purged more than 600,000 voters from the rolls. According to the last chart I saw, in the last two years, Stacey Abrams and her activists have registered more than 750,000 to vote in 2020.

And this is critical. It is critical because the criteria that Kemp used in 2018 was to purge the rolls of all voters who had not voted in at least the last 2 general election cycles. Which means that none of the 750,000 voters that Abrams and her group have registered are subject for removal from the rolls, since they haven’t even had one cycle to vote in, much less than two. Abrams has not only negated Kemp’s chicanery in 2018, she has expanded on it!

The key of course, is activism. It’s one thing to get out and register people to vote. It’s another thing entirely to keep getting back to them, over and over again, to ensure that they are motivated to come 0out and vote. If Abrams and her activists can put the pedal to the metal for the last 40 days, and rally the majority of these new voters to the polls, then there are more than enough new voters out there to ensure that Georgia will not be a part of Trump’s southern firewall on November 4rd. Here endeth the lesson.

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