Opinion: What’s happening in the 6th shouldn’t be happening

(AJC)

“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”

— Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Star Wars”

What’s happening in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District should not be happening.

People are excited, even passionate about a close congressional race. Voters in both major parties are animated by the idea that politics matters, that they themselves might matter, that they can play a meaningful role in their own governance. Something approaching democracy has broken out in the 6th, contentious and splendid, but in the eyes of the political establishment it should not be happening. The structure that they’ve erected to squelch such outbursts has failed, at least temporarily.

Look at the map. Look at prior election results. The boundaries of the 6th were drawn to ensure that only Republicans could compete and win there, just as other districts have been drawn as reservations for Democrats. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried the 6th District by a margin of 23.3 percentage points. In the 2016 general election, Tom Price won re-election by almost 37 points. In ordinary times, and by conscious design, there is no way a Democrat could even hope to compete there.

And yet Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old political neophyte with no name recognition, may yet pull it off.  As Ossoff himself would tell you, he doesn’t deserve the credit for that accomplishment. Instead, the man most responsible for making the 6th competitive is Donald J. Trump. His surprise victory last November has energized Democrats and independents not just in the 6th but around the country. It has also forced at least some Republicans to question whether a party increasingly defined by Trumpian obsessions and behavior is still worthy of their automatic support.

That’s particularly true in the well-educated and affluent 6th, which has a median household income of $83,833, well above the Georgia average of $50,768. These are professional people with good jobs in corporate America, in companies where the sexist, chauvinist antics of our new president would never be tolerated. They operate in a business environment in which diversity, global engagement and transparency are welcome, not treated as threats, in which facts are treated with respect and the notion of a verifiable reality still holds sway.

Under these far from ordinary circumstances, in a special election with no incumbent in the race, the 6th has become somewhat competitive. And yes, that’s in part because of the money contributed to Ossoff in small amounts by Democrats all over the country. “Only $1 in every $20 raised for Democrat Jon Ossoff came from people inside GA-6,” as a tweet last week from the Republican National Committee in Washington reminded us.

Such statements make me smile and shake my head. Washington Republicans, including the RNC, are fully engaged in the 6th, where millions of dollars are being spent on attack ads against Ossoff. How much of that money was raised from people within the district? Shoot, how much came from people of any kind, anywhere? The answer is probably very little, but we cannot know for sure because again, the political establishment has made it almost impossible to discern funding sources for such campaigns. If you, as a citizen, want to give $200 to a candidate, your contribution must be publicly reported. If you’re a billionaire or a corporation wanting to invest $2 million in a particular political cause, the system gives you ways to do so with complete anonymity.

In fact, it’s important to note how rare this outburst of democracy in the 6th really is. Georgia has 14 congressional districts. In five of those districts, the chance of incumbents losing was so abysmally low that nobody of the opposing party even filed to run in last November’s election. Voters in those districts literally had no choice in who was going to represent them in Congress.

In the remaining nine districts, including the 6th, the concept of choice was illusory at best.¹ None of the nine “contested” races was decided by fewer than 20 points; in a state that Trump won by just 5 percentage points, the average margin of victory in “contested” congressional races was 35.5 points. The system is so weighted that even if Ossoff were to pull off the victory, the chances that he could buck the system and win the seat again in 2018 would be pretty slim.

So yes, given all that, what is happening in the 6th District is indeed bordering on the extraordinary. You can take that as a sign of a healthy republic but in fact it’s the opposite. It shouldn’t take the extraordinary to give people a voice, an actual choice. It shouldn’t require a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of unusual events and personalities to render democracy viable again in this one district, in this one election cycle.

But it has.

 

 

 

——————

¹ The situation is even worse in the state Legislature. In the 180-member Georgia House, for example, 149 candidates faced no general-election competition last fall from the supposedly “opposing” party.  Think about that: We like to tell ourselves that we live in a representative democracy, a republic, yet the truth is that almost 83 percent of Georgians did not get to choose who would represent them in Atlanta. It was chosen for them.

Reader Comments 0

1324 comments
bal_pro
bal_pro

I'm actually from New Hampshire but, can I run too?


betterday
betterday

 Does anybody really care that he's been lying his Ossoff about his "credentials"?  Example:   A college internship in a lawmaking body (state or federal) does not equate to "high level security clearance" for ann-ny-body.  Those are the guys you see sitting on the floor on C-Span, commonly known as "runners."  (Some folks call them gophers)

Fl0ydLiberal
Fl0ydLiberal

I guess using a public office for blatant self enrichment like the Trump family is now a tradition worth maintaining to Republicans.

Infinite Hope
Infinite Hope

"Hillary was a flawed candidate."


Understatement of the year.

rimsky
rimsky

The world economy seems to be gaining momentum, according the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

Writing in the IMF's new World Economic Outlook, Maurice Obstfeldt said "we could be at a turning point".

The report forecasts global growth this year of 3.5%, up from 3.1% predicted in 2016.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39629000

++++

I hope it helps our export.

KUTGF
KUTGF

Got to love how our RWers stand tall for their foolish stupidity.  They "posit" lies and buffoonery and when they are proven right they say "nevermind but look at this new stupidity I am posting as if it were true."

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Surelyyoujest No I am not just hearing about the emolument clause and Trump's violations.  Joe Scarborough had the American University professor (Allan Lichtman) on who predicted Trump's win that is now predicting that he will be impeached either because of Russia or using the emolument clause.    Any more questions?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Surelyyoujest @StraightNoChaser Well anymore implications?  You always imply that I am late with news or current events.  Just because I am not here discussing every day does not mean that I am not fully aware of what is going on.  Understand?  

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Hillary was a flawed candidate. Mostly due to the years of being in the political spotlight.


She had to fight misogyny and plenty of swift boat type fake scandals. Benghazi, the emails, notice how none of that matters anymore. LOCK HER UP !!! went away pretty fast after she lost.


But make no mistake. She was immensely more qualified to be President than this buffoon.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Hedley_Lammar 
Plus, unlimited resources to investigate her.

Republicans mouth off about being fiscally responsible, but when it comes to investigating the Clintons, the sky's the limit.

teddymonds
teddymonds

@Infinite Hope @Surelyyoujest @Hedley_Lammar not a good candidate, but not a crook, either. she's had a GOP scope up her butt for more than 25 years looking for any excuse to prosecute but they came up with nothing ... although they did seem to convince a bunch of gullible fools.

rimsky
rimsky

I hope Jared is the Nuclear code care taker.  

Please do not let him even touch that sucker.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Hillary herself may not have, but the DNC did on her behalf.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

It was a posit, not declarative.

One of many potential explanations for her bizarre behavior.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@Philo_Farnsworth You are an expert on Russian propaganda Philo, you were the main one pushing the fake Russian story that Hillary had Parkinson.  How many times did you post that fake story?  Now back to my question, please see above.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@StraightNoChaser @Philo_Farnsworth I had forgotten about that one


Remember Hillary was dying and would be dead in 6 months. Think that influenced a few votes ?


At the time of this writing Hillary is alive and in good health.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@StraightNoChaser Yes and the fake news facebook stuff mostly directed at Hillary hurt immensly.


And we know where most of that came from. Overseas.

OldJacketFan
OldJacketFan

@FIGMO2

Unfortunately you were right. Rarely had I seen such a poorly run campaign

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@FIGMO2 That and the press never shut up about the emails. Which was a non story.


While covering every Trump rally from start to finish.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@OldJacketFan @FIGMO2

Though I had pledged not to support another Bush or Clinton, I didn't dislike her personally. 

Likability is overrated in my opinion.

I saw her as the Dem's worst possible candidate, much like Romney was the GOP's worst possible.

Timing and circumstances dictate a political win for presidential candidates.

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

You have a good idea what is in those tax returns if Trump decides that it does less damage not to release them.


Just like you don't ask for immunity if you are not guilty, you don't keep tax returns secret if there is nothing to hide.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

Lenin-boy's "big picture message".

Crisis.

Peril.

It's not complicated.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

Is it true that the GOP is sending limos around North Cobb and taking voters to the polls with a bottle of Dom Perigon and a real Cuban cigar?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@StraightNoChaser

The Easter Bunny comes bearing the gifts of spring. Trump has sprung into action.

Huge difference!

Paul42
Paul42

@StraightNoChaser Did you see the part where Melania elbowed him so he'd put his hand over his heart during the anthem?

Just one more example of the Right not going apoplectic because the guy's name isn't Obama.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

@Paul42 Kind of late with this "breaking news", aren't you?  That story is so yesterday...

KUTGF
KUTGF

@FIGMO2 @StraightNoChaser I know that on a visit from either...both will leave unpleasant droppings everywhere for others to clean up