By Jacob Vito
The average American household income is $56,516. Throughout the course of a year, that money will go to cover food, rent, gas and whatever is needed to survive. However, if that average American household somehow found a way never to spend another dime, they could work for a little over 2,200 years and finally earn around 125 million dollars.
That is the same amount of money that has been spent on the Georgia senatorial runoff election in the last two weeks.
According to the New York Times, the two remaining senatorial runoff elections in Georgia have seemingly drawn the rest of the country’s attention and money, with both Democrats and Republicans hoping to clinch a majority in the senate from the races.
Though senate races usually don’t bring in such funds, the stakes for both parties in this election are massive. If the Republicans win (and come on, it’s Georgia), a hostile senate will shut down large swaths of President-elect Biden’s future plans. How well this country recovers from Trump, and whether it can recover at all, may well be on the line here.
Many high-ranking Republicans seem to have recognized this potentiality. Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have each received tens of millions of dollars in campaign advertising, as well as direct support from politicians like Marco Rubio and Mike Pence.
With such effort being put in by Republicans in a state they practically own, it would be very easy to chalk this up as another cause for Democratic Party despair in 2020. Between COVID-19 and Trump, there are more than enough reasons to react to such
a potentially damaging situation with distress.
However, the fact that such ludicrous levels of money are entering this race at all means that a Republican victory is far from certain. During the presidential election, Joe Biden did the unthinkable and won the state. And even though Democrats may once again lose the senate, they have the opportunity to win it as well.
The most talked-about possibility of these senatorial runoff elections is the first Democratic-controlled Senate in a decade. If both races give victory to Democrats John Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senate would be split 50-50, with Democratic Vice President-elect Kamala Harris ultimately making any deadlocked decisions.
This change alone will have a massive impact: the senate acts as one half of the legislature and is the sole group allowed to approve appointments such as federal judges. A Harris and Schumer led senate could rebalance the scales so heavily tilted by Trump’s slew of court nominees.
But a Democratic victory would also rebalance the power that individual senators hold as well. Mitch McConnell would no longer be the Senate Majority Leader, likely being replaced by Chuck Schumer.
But the most intriguing of the potential changes would be this: Bernie Sanders would become the head of the Senate Committee on the Budget, the group overseeing congressional legislation on spending and revenue.
There is the potential for something far better in the Senate in these two seats than the political deadlock seen in Obama’s last years and the malice for the average American seen under Trump. Even if it’s just for two years, this could be the start of something better.
Yet make no mistake, the odds are still long.
At this point, both sides of the aisle have dumped more money into Georgia than most Americans will ever see in their lifetimes. Such a reality can feel daunting to anyone, especially the millions of Georgians expected to vote in January. It can very easily be another piece in a year full of distress.
However, such despair is not a healthy fuel to burn. It’s a largely defensive response, ultimately based around sheltering from the inciting incident of one’s harm until it goes away. Because of this, sadness does nothing in politics. But there is a better course of action: Get mad.
While sadness is a defensive response, anger is very much an aggressive one. So use it, and get mad about the fact that a Super PAC has more spending money than your entire family put together. Go to protests and scream at your legislators and make sure everyone knows there’s more rage left to spare. Vote, please vote, but do not let that be the end of this cycle’s politics.
During what can feel like the end of the world, it’s so easy to give in to resignation. But now more than ever, please get angry that the world has not yet become a place that genuinely cares about human life, and then do something about it. That’s the only way things are going to get better.
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