Who decides about fate

Georgia will determine the fate of Joe Biden's government

What puzzles observers is not least the timing of the blackmail attempt so shortly before two Senate elections in Georgia. After all, this will decide whether the future President Joe Biden will push through his agenda in Congress or whether the opposition will slow him down.

Trump is beating the drum for Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the two Republicans who defend their mandate in the smaller of the two US parliamentary chambers. But if he sows doubts about the correct flow of the presidential vote in Georgia, this could lead some of his fans to boycott the upcoming polls.

Trump's last riot?

Of course, it remains to be seen whether this will happen, whether the boomerang effect will actually take place for the Republicans. There are also commentators who see the two runoff elections as something like a final referendum on Trump's four years in the Oval Office. According to this reading, the supporters of the billionaire could mobilize all their energy to help their idol to a final triumph.

The Republican duo will be challenged by Raphael Warnock (51), a cleric who is politically on the left, and Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old who has previously produced documentaries. He became known to a larger audience when he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives in a formerly more conservative constituency in the suburbs of Atlanta in 2017. At that time he lost just under - three years later he still started the race for the Senate.

Since no candidate received at least half of the votes in the original vote on November 3rd, a second round now has to decide according to the laws of Georgia. At that time, the Republican Perdue was almost two percentage points ahead of Ossoff - while Warnok landed in a colorful field of several Democrats and Republicans with 32.9 percent around seven points ahead of Loeffler.

If both Warnock and Ossoff win this time, the Senate Democrats would have 50 seats. In fact, it would be a majority, because if there was a stalemate, the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris would make the difference. In that case, the Biden government could enforce much of what it has set out to do. This not only applies to legislative projects, but also to the nomination of personnel. Both Biden's ministers and possible candidates for court posts must ultimately be confirmed by a majority in the Senate.

Pay for the legwork

Just three or four months ago, hardly anyone had thought it possible that the party with the donkey crest would actually provide both Senators from Georgia. But there weren't many who trusted Biden to win in a state where the Republicans were always ahead in the White House race from 1996 to 2016.

The fact that the series was broken was partly due to residents of the classic middle-class milieu in the suburbs around Atlanta, who turned away from Trump because of the conservatives - just as many voters in other states in the suburbs of the big cities did.

But it was, and Georgia is special, that the Democrats succeeded in mobilizing their supporters, especially black voters, and registering them as voters.

Warnock, like activist Stacey Abrams, did the necessary detailed work. The New Georgia Project, which he led for a time, helped some 400,000 new voters register. It is already becoming apparent that the turnout could be well above what is usual in run-off elections that take place so shortly after the exhausting marathon of a presidential campaign. No wonder Georgia is experiencing the most expensive Senate election campaigns that have ever been fought in the United States. Over $ 400 million was spent on election advertising alone.

Memories of MLK

The first numbers that have already become known are encouraging for the Democrats. The percentage of black voters in the votes cast in advance is slightly higher than it was in November. Of 112,000 people who have already voted this time, but who did not vote in November, 40 percent are black and 30 percent are under 29 - each more than the proportion of these groups in the total population. Admittedly, the Republicans usually only go to the polls on election day. And it is very possible that they can then make up for this advantage of the Democrats.

The eyes are, however, mainly on Warnock. If he moves into the US Senate, he makes history. It would be the first time a black politician represented Georgia, one of the heavyweights of the Southern Confederation of the American Civil War, in the chamber. In addition, there is the symbolism of his previous office: At the Ebenezer Baptist Church, whose pastor he has been since 2005, Martin Luther King, the legendary civil rights activist, once preached. Loeffler, a once rather liberal businesswoman who has now grown massively closer to Trump, tries to fight Warnock by bringing him closer to Cuba and Venezuela with sometimes grotesque arguments. (Frank Herrmann from Washington, 5.1.2021)

An overview of the candidates for the Senate election:

The 71 year old Republican David Perdue In his first Senate election campaign in 2014, he still relied fully on his international experience. The longtime economic advisor and former vice president of the sporting goods giant Reebok turned around during his time in the Senate and is now playing the "America First" card that President Donald Trump has shuffled into his deck.

Perdue also supports the incumbent in his insubstantial allegations of electoral fraud in Georgia. Perdue's cousin Sonny was governor of the state from 2003 to 2011 and became Secretary of Agriculture under Trump in 2017.

The 33 year old Democrat Jon Ossoff has never held a political office. During his school days he did an internship with civil rights activist John Lewis. Ossoff runs a documentary film production company based in London. For example, she published research by the BBC in connection with ISIS war crimes and death squads in East Africa.

As early as 2017, Ossoff gained campaign experience and only had to admit defeat by a few percentage points in a conservative congress district. For the 33-year-old, the focus in the Senate election was now clearly on health, business and above all on promoting small businesses.

The Republican Senator had an election Kelly Loeffler not win yet. The now 40-year-old was appointed to the seat last year after Senator Johnny Isakson resigned from health. Loeffler is an entrepreneur and financially supported other Republican election campaigns up to her political office. For example Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012. Her husband donated a million dollars to the re-election of Donald Trump.

Loeffler is considered to be Trump-loyal and, according to the data journalism and statistics portal "FiveThirtyEight", the only senator whose political positions completely agree with those of the incumbent.

The African American Baptist Pastor Raphael Warnock is Senator Loeffler's democratic challenger. He was born the son of two Pentecostal pastors and has been a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church since 2005 - the church where civil rights icon Martin Luther King was co-pastor.

His candidacy was supported by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, among others. Warnock has already been temporarily arrested twice for political protests: once in 2012 when he demonstrated for Obamacare and once in 2017 when he took to the streets against cuts in the social program. (bbl, 5.1.2020)