Biden 306
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Trump 232
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Dem 50
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GOP 50
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  • Strongly Dem (209)
  • Likely Dem (18)
  • Barely Dem (79)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (44)
  • Likely GOP (62)
  • Strongly GOP (126)
270 Electoral votes needed to win This date in 2017 2013 2009
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups vs. 2016: AZ GA MI PA WI
GOP pickups vs. 2016: (None)
Political Wire logo Biden Eyes Rahm Emanuel for Ambassadorship
Fees Blew Up Trump’s Legal Team
Biden Frees Up Billions in Delayed Puerto Rico Storm Aid
Trump Pollster’s Autopsy Paints Damning Picture
McConnell Calls Marjorie Taylor Greene a ‘Cancer’
McConnell Praises Liz Cheney’s ‘Deep Convictions’

Biden's First Actions Are Popular

Joe Biden promised to unite the country. But what does that actually mean? One definition is getting, say, 25 Republican senators to vote for his proposed legislation. If that is his goal, we predict he will fail at anything other than naming a post office for a former Republican president not named Donald Trump. On the other hand, if it means doing things that large numbers of Americans who are not in the Senate want, he's got a fighting chance. In fact, he is off to a good start. According to FiveThirtyEight's polling average, Biden has a 54.3% approval rating, with 34.6% disapproving. The latter no doubt consists primarily of hard-core Trumpists and nothing is ever going to win their hearts and minds, so he shouldn't waste any political capital trying.

Being nearly 20 points above water is pretty good. How has he done it? The main reason is undoubtedly that many of the actions he has taken so far are highly popular. From the polling, we get these numbers:

  Support Oppose
Biden's action All GOP All GOP
Prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity 83% 64% 16% 34%
Committing to a government-wide focus on racial equity 77% 52% 21% 45%
Requiring masks on federal property 75% 54% 19% 35%
Continuing suspension of federal student loan repayments 68% 46% 19% 38%
Continuing a ban on evictions 66% 49% 17% 31%
Restarting DACA program 65% 33% 33% 66%
Rejoining the World Health Organization 62% 29% 30% 61%
Recommitting to the Paris climate agreement 61% 27% 31% 63%
Reexamining Trump policies on public health and the environment 57% 24% 28% 56%
Allowing noncitizens to be counted in the U.S. Census 56% 17% 42% 81%
Ending new wall construction at the U.S.-Mexico border 53% 14% 40% 80%
Ending the ban on travel to the U.S. from some primarily Muslim/African nations 52% 16% 40% 75%
Enacting a moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 49% 21% 27% 53%
Revoking the permit for the Keystone pipeline 43% 15% 32% 60%

Of course, many people have become suspicious of polling, but it may well be that the unwillingness of Trump supporters to talk to pollsters applies only when Trump himself is on the ballot. The polling for the two Georgia runoffs was pretty good, with most of them showing the two Democrats with small leads. Also, there has been support for Democratic policy ideas for years even among people who don't support the Democratic politicians who would carry them out. Although it drives political scientists nuts, there are a lot of people who say, in effect: "I support a public option for Medicare, a $15/hr minimum wage, and allowing the Dreamers to stay, but I am voting a straight Republican ticket because Democrats are socialists." As one small example of this disconnect: In 2020, Donald Trump won Florida 51% to 48%, but a measure to raise the state's minimum wage to $15/hr passed with 61%. For a substantial number of voters, policy issues don't play much of a role when voting. It's that (D) or (R) that matters.

As to the specific numbers in the table above, what stands out like a sore thumb are the 81% of Republicans who don't want to count noncitizens in the census, the 80% who still want to build the Great Wall of Trump, and 75% who want to ban Muslims. It's pretty close to unadulterated racism and xenophobia. In contrast, on climate issues (drilling in the Arctic and the Keystone pipeline), Republican opposition is not as vehement.

It may well be that Biden's governing philosophy is "Do what the voters want." That is a different philosophy from "Do what the progressive wing of the Democratic Party wants." Sometimes the two overlap, but not always. If Biden continues to focus on what the voters want, and can get Congress to agree, he will be a popular president and the Democrats may not get hammered in 2022. Getting Senate Republicans to vote for things that will make Biden popular is not in the cards. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is too smart for that. But Biden can do quite a bit using the budget reconciliation process, especially economic items. If many people soon get an additional check for $1,400, Biden will be popular for at least a few weeks. The problem is: What can he do on issues that are popular (like fighting climate change or on making elections fair), but which Republican senators strongly oppose? As we have pointed out before, one option is to reintroduce the Jimmy-Stewart-type filibuster, adult diapers and all. Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) might go for this since it just brings the filibuster back to its roots—a senator cannot be interrupted while he is speaking. On key bills, a filibuster might last a few weeks, but that would be a small price to pay to pass major legislation like H.R. 1 (a new Voting Rights Act). (V)

Republican Senators Offer Biden a "Compromise" on COVID-19 Relief

Republican senators see the handwriting on the wall and it says that the Democrats will pass a $1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief bill using the budget reconciliation process unless the GOP does something fast to derail it. Yesterday, 10 Republican senators tried a hail Mary and wrote Biden a letter saying that they would be willing to back a plan appropriating slightly less than a third of what he wants if he will just give up his plan. They will unveil their plan today. Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, said that he received the letter and will soon read it. He might also be interested in the plan itself, although he knows it is going to leave out over a trillion dollars worth of stuff Biden wants.

This is a test of whether Biden thinks bipartisanship is more important than policy. Is getting a weak plan through Congress with Republican votes better than getting a strong plan through with only Democratic votes? That's the issue here.

The Republicans are not really offering a compromise because they are merely giving Biden something he can have (in terms of policy) without their help. In principle, Biden could say that he is willing to work with them if they add things to the bill that can't be done using budget reconciliation, like a $15/hr minimum wage or a public option to Medicare. However, it is unlikely Republicans would agree to these. In effect, they want to water down his plan substantially and what he gets in return is the ability to claim that the bill was bipartisan. Usually in a compromise, each side gets something in terms of policy or funding that it could not get without the compromise. In this "compromise" Biden doesn't get anything, policy-wise.

Now Biden has to decide if the voters would prefer a modest stimulus that a handful of Republicans voted for or a much bigger stimulus than was passed without Republican help. If Biden chooses the former, he's going to have to deal with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is now chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and who sees no point at all in dealing with the Republicans when Democrats can do this on their own.

Also in the mix is that many Democrats remember what happened in 2009 after Barack Obama took charge during another crisis. In an attempt to win a few Republican votes, they settled for an economic stimulus that was far smaller than economists said was needed. The tepid response hurt the Democrats in the 2010 midterms. Similarly, they spent half a year chasing Republican votes when designing the Affordable Care Act. In the end, they got no Republican votes and a much weaker bill than many Democrats wanted. The lesson here is that voters want results and don't care about how many votes from the opposition the bill got. Medicare is very popular now, but does anyone care how many Senate Republicans voted for the bill in 1965? For the record, it was only 13 and all of them jumped on the bandwagon at the last minute when it was clear it was going to pass. We should know this week whether Democrats have learned this lesson.

There is one aspect that is expected in the GOP plan that Biden might accept. It is less generous to people with high incomes. The Republicans argue that giving free money to rich people is not in the public interest. This is something of a reversal of what they actually did when they were in charge, from 2017 to 2019. If Biden were to accept that change, he could argue that his bill included important Republican ideas. (V)

Trump's Impeachment Lawyers Quit

With considerable difficulty, Donald Trump managed to acquire a legal team to defend him at his impeachment trial, which starts a week from today. This wasn't easy because no reputable attorneys wanted to defend a mercurial client who is obviously guilty before a jury (the 100 senators) who already know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the client is guilty, even if they don't want to admit it. Trump asked numerous lawyers to take the case and they all refused. The fact that Trump doesn't pay his legal (or other) bills probably didn't help him much in acquiring counsel. Eventually Trump signed up two South Carolina lawyers, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, to lead his team, on the suggestion of Trump's Chief Toady, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Both have experience defending crooked politicians. It is a bit of a niche calling, but under law, even crooked politicians are presumed innocent until proven guilty. They recruited two former prosecutors, Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser, also from South Carolina. To avoid an all-South Carolina team, Josh Howard of North Carolina was also hired. This weekend, all of a sudden, the whole legal team quit. They didn't get paid in advance and probably will never be paid.

According to an inside source, Trump wanted to make the defense team say there really was massive election fraud, so the people attacking the Capitol were patriots trying to defend the Constitution and thus fully justified in ransacking the building. The lawyers weren't buying. They wanted to make the case that the trial itself is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president and the purpose of an impeachment is to remove the accused party from office and that is now moot. Trump wouldn't agree to this strategy, so all the lawyers quit. Now Trump has a week to find a new legal team and get them up to speed. He could ask to delay the trial and it would be up to the Senate to decide on whether to do this. Given the need to get more appointees confirmed and a COVID-19 relief bill passed, the Democrats might just agree to an extension. On the other hand, given the desire to put Trump behind the eight ball, they might not.

The Senate asked Trump to respond to the House charges by tomorrow. He is unlikely to have a legal team in place by tomorrow. Of course, he could respond himself, but if he bases his response on the premise that the election was stolen, that will make his defense even harder. Reassembling his legal team from the first impeachment, including Jay Sekulow, Pat Cipollone, and Pat Philbin, probably won't work. In the worst case, Trump might call on Rudy Giuliani to be his lawyer. But that is problematic, and not only because Giuliani is completely incompetent as a defense lawyer (he was formerly a prosecutor). Giuliani could be called as a witness because he spoke to a rally of Trump supporters before the Capitol was attacked. Having your lawyer be a witness is a bit awkward, especially since Giuliani already announced that he knows it would be unethical.

On the other hand, it may not matter who Trump's lawyer is, since apparently only five Republican senators are going to vote for conviction, even if Trump is his own lawyer and uses the Twinkie defense. (V)

Why Did Democrats Win in Georgia and Lose in North Carolina?

After Virginia became a blue state, Democrats saw North Carolina as the next domino expected to fall. It didn't happen (yet). Instead they won Georgia, which wasn't really on the list. How come?

Democrats are wondering about that now. The first thing that comes to everyone's mind is Stacey Abrams. She did an enormous job registering voters and getting them to the polls. But nothing she did is magic. North Carolina also has hardworking Black women who could register voters. That may even happen in the upcoming cycle, since it is pretty clear now how that worked out in Georgia. An especially important point is that, unlike registration drives that normally take place in the 90 days before an election, Abrams spent 2 years registering voters. That is clearly a lesson for North Carolina Democrats.

But Abrams didn't do it alone. There was a big effort toward community outreach, much of it led by Black and brown people, who were known in their communities and thus were trusted. North Carolina didn't have that very much. The connections went both ways in Georgia. By listening to the voters in Georgia (not just talking to them), the Democrats learned what the voters actually cared about (as opposed to what the party leaders thought they should care about). That information guided the campaigns.

One thing Abrams did after her 2018 gubernatorial loss is an autopsy, to find out where her votes came from and where they didn't come from and most important, where they could have come from and didn't. That led to a plan of action.

However, one huge difference between the two states is the demographics. About 33% of the people in Georgia are Black. In North Carolina the number is closer to 23%. That matters a lot and means Democrats need to put more emphasis on winning young people and white suburbanites in North Carolina than they did in Georgia.

One thing that set Georgia apart is the quality of candidates for the Senate races. Both Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were different from the usual cookie-cutter-older-white-male candidates and energized Democrats nationally, leading to massive fundraising. Ossoff is very young (33) and Warnock is Black. North Carolina has an open Senate seat in 2022 and already there is a big debate among state Democrats about whether the party should run another older white guy or perhaps something different. Whomever they choose, they will be careful to weld that candidate's zipper shut for the duration of the campaign.

Another issue the Democrats need to work on in North Carolina is turnout. Voters over 65, who skew Republican, turned out at an 84% clip. Voters under 25, who skew Democratic, turned out at 60%, which is much higher than usual. Democrats need to do something to excite younger voters. It could be policy issues they care about, outreach, special candidates, or something else, but the old formula doesn't quite seem to do the job.

Given the lessons of Georgia and the open Senate seat in 2022, Democrats have a chance to make gains in North Carolina, but if they do the same things they have already done they will probably get the same results. (V)

Trump Raised $255 Million after the Election

After the election, Donald Trump raised a stunning $255 million, nominally for his "legal defense fund." In reality, about a quarter of it goes to the RNC and most of the rest goes to a giant slush fund Trump controls. He can use it to pay lawyers for his impeachment, if he can find any (see above). But he can also use it to pay himself and his family big salaries to manage the fund. He can use it for travel to hold rallies. Or he can save it for a 2024 presidential run. He can also donate to the campaigns of candidates he favors, such as a run by Ivanka Trump for senator from Florida. No doubt candidates running against the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him a second time can also expect some help.

From the FEC filing for WinRed, which was made public Saturday, Trump raised $208 million in the month after the election. However, once the Electoral College voted, apparently his supporters saw that it was a lost cause and donations dropped sharply. This suggests that even Trump's supporters follow the news a little bit. In any event, having a pot with nearly $200 million in it guarantees Trump that he can remain a force in Republican politics for years to come. (V)

Democrats Also Have Some Cash in the Bank

While Donald Trump may have $255 million in his slush fund, that is not the same as the RNC having that kind of money because Trump is likely to spend much of it trying to defeat Republicans he doesn't like rather than Democrats. In contrast, the DNC is in better financial shape heading into the 2022 cycle than ever before. It has $39 million in the bank and $3 million in debt. However, there is about $40 million in a joint account with the Biden campaign that is earmarked for the DNC. So when the debt is paid off, the DNC will have about $76 million in cash before even starting any fundraising for 2022.

As recently as 2019, the DNC was deep in a hole and had to borrow $1 million a month from banks just to pay its operational costs. In Sept. 2019, the DNC's net balance was less than $1 million, at a time when the RNC had $53 million in cash. Yesterday the RNC announced that it has $80.5 million in the bank, so the parties will start the 2022 cycle on an even footing.

The DNC is actually in better shape than the numbers would suggest because Joe Biden very much believes in the institutional Democratic Party and is prepared to do major fundraising for it. In contrast, Barack Obama didn't especially like the DNC and didn't help it much. As a consequence, the Democrats lost 1,000 seats in the state legislatures and numerous Senate seats and governorships during his time as president. Biden knows that and is going to make sure that doesn't happen on his watch. Specifically, his choice of Jaime Harrison to lead the DNC indicates that he wants a 50-state strategy. Even in red states there are House districts and local elections that Democrats can win if they get support from the national party. Winning in small and midsize cities in red states can provide a bench that can provide candidates for higher office. Harrison knows that sometimes Democrats can win in unexpected places if they have good candidates and national support. For example, the governors of Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina are all Democrats. (V)

Beware of the Gerrymander

We have brought up this topic a few times recently, but now the New York Times has caught up and put an article about it on the front page, so let's give it another go. Redistricting is very much inside baseball, but it matters a lot whether the boundary for state Senate district 42 runs along 18th Street or along 41st Street. Sometimes that can determine which party controls the state Senate. Likewise, high-quality gerrymandering can determine control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republicans have total control in 18 states, including four states that are growing and expected to gain seats in the new House in 2022: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. The governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, is a Democrat, but has no veto power over redistricting bills.

Gerrymandering is a game of inches. Already Republicans are working on redrawing two suburban Atlanta districts in order to add some Republican precincts and thus be able to defeat the Democratic incumbents in 2022. In Texas, Republicans are working on a map that would remove Democratic precincts from a Houston district that Democrats snagged in 2018. In Ohio, which will probably lose a seat, the Republicans want to carve up a district in the northeast that Democrats have held since 1985.

Sam Wang, of the Princeton Election Consortium, and an expert on political maps, said that reapportionment could net the Republicans three seats in the House and gerrymandering Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, could give them another five seats. Democrats currently hold a 222-211 edge in the House. We'll give our staff mathematician a rest and let you do the math here.

Democrats can try to fight back in New York, Illinois, and Maryland, but the first two will probably lose a House seat and all three are already maximally gerrymandered for the blue team so there is nothing left to squeeze out. The Democrats' biggest potential target, California, is off the table because its maps are drawn by an independent commission. However, so are Arizona's, which prevents Republicans from gerrymandering there when the state gets another House seat.

Mapmaking is only part of the process. Every new map is likely to be followed by lawsuits. Both parties are ready for that. Adam Kincaid, the executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, the Party's main mapmaking organization, said: "If it weren't for the lawsuits that were brought in Pennsylvania and North Carolina and Florida, Republicans would be in the majority today." He is raring to go fighting Democratic lawsuits. On the other hand, Kelly Ward Burton, his counterpart at the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said: "If the map plays out fairly, we will end up with more competitive seats than we have now." She's ready to fight back where needed. Relying on the courts to ban gerrymandering seems unlikely though. The Supreme Court has already made it clear that mapmaking is up to the state legislatures, and unless they are doing it to minimize the power of racial minorities, the legislatures are pretty much free to do whatever they want since if the people don't like what they are doing, they can boot the legislators out at the next election.

In some states, local peculiarities matter. In Texas, for example, which will probably get three new House seats, almost all the population growth is in the triangle whose corners are Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, and the new Texans are disproportionately people of color. There are too many of them to drop them into one or two districts.

Another problem all the Republican mapmakers have is what to do about the suburbs. In 2010, they were heavily Republican, so a simple strategy was to create districts that were 55% suburban and 45% urban, making it easy for Republicans to win them. But if those suburban housewives keep moving toward the Democrats in the next few years, that formula could backfire spectacularly, giving all those ever-so-carefully-gerrymandered districts to the Democrats. So the Republicans have to decide how greedy they want to be. Maximizing the number of potential red districts means drawing a lot of districts with small Republican majorities. Playing it safe means drawing districts with 60% Republicans instead of 55%, but that will result in fewer districts where Republicans have the edge. So no matter how sophisticated the mapmaking software is, Republicans (and Democrats where they have the power) have to make guesses on how fast the suburbs are turning blue and how they will vote when Donald Trump is not on the ballot. This known unknown makes gerrymandering a lot less certain than it was in 2010, when the gerrymanderers could pretty much count on the 2012 electorate looking the same as the 2010 electorate. That's not true now.

One final complication is the calendar. The Census Bureau is probably not going to produce definitive numbers on reapportionment before July. This means the maps cannot be finalized until August at the very earliest. This means that incumbents and candidates for the state and federal legislatures can't decide where they want to run until the fall. This compresses the calendar greatly. Of course, Texas Republicans can make three maps, one for +2 seats, one for +3 seats, and one for +4 seats, with the middle one the odds-on favorite, but individual candidates who bet on the +3-seat map could be in for a big surprise if Texas ends up with either two or four more seats instead of three.

In any event, while redistricting tends to happen below the radar, it is hugely important because it could affect control of the House for 10 years and affect two presidential elections. Keep an eye on it. (V)

McDaniel Is in a Bind

Ronna Romney McDaniel wasn't originally a huge fan of Donald Trump. She was more aligned with Uncle Mitt and Grandpa George. But as Trump took over the Republican Party, she became Trumpier and Trumpier over time. That said, her job as chair of the RNC is not to stroke Trump's ego, but to help Republicans win elections. Doing both is going to give her headaches.

When she took over, the Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House. They lost all of them on her watch. Furthermore, the party leadership is split over its future. On some things, she is crystal clear. For example, she really, really does not want Trump to start another right-wing party. She understands perfectly well that would result in Democrats easily winning all national elections except in extremely red House districts and in Senate races in states with runoffs. She has tried to talk him out of it, but he refused to commit to not doing it. On the other hand, she has refused to stand up to him when he makes incendiary comments on race, the media, and putting children in cages.

The biggest question on her plate is what role Trump will play in Republican politics going forward. Related to that is whether to conduct another autopsy report on the election. In particular, she wants to know how to keep the Trump supporters happy while also winning back suburban women. But she is afraid that such a report would be used against her by Trump allies who don't want a report and think the proper course for the party is to do whatever Trump tells them to do.

She also has to deal with Nikki Haley, who has (mildly) criticized Trump. McDaniel told her to tone it down, but Haley refused. After all, Haley envisions herself as the GOP's 2024 presidential nominee and has no interest in helping Trump, although she has to be careful not to anger too many of his supporters.

On the subject of the Capitol riot, McDaniel is very careful with her words. The strongest criticism she has of Trump is that once the riot began, he could have done more to tamp it down. That's all. She also made a point of inviting a number of 2024 presidential wannabees to the most recent RNC meeting. But permitting Republican governors and senators to attend a Party meeting is not exactly a bold step away from Trump. She even found the nerve to invite Mike Pence to the meeting, but he didn't come. Probably nervous that McDaniel would invite him to dinner.

The real test for her will come when primary season rolls around. Normally, the RNC, NRSC, and NRCC support incumbent Republicans running for reelection. But what will happen when Trump actively and vociferously supports a challenger to one of the House Republicans who voted for impeachment, or to one of the senators who vote for conviction (assuming there are any). The most likely conflict will be over Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is up in 2022 and is also the most likely to vote for conviction. What will McDaniel do if Trump strongly supports a primary opponent running against her? Even McDaniel doesn't know the answer to that, would be our guess. (V)

Town of Palm Beach Is Reviewing the Legality of Trump's Living at Mar-a-Lago

In 1993, Donald Trump asked the town of Palm Beach, FL, for permission to convert Mar-a-Lago into a private club for paying guests. His intention was to run it as a profit-making business, which has zoning, parking, tax, and other implications. The town agreed, subject to several conditions, one of which was that he not live there. In particular, neither he, nor anyone else, could stay there more than seven consecutive nights nor more than 3 weeks in total in any calendar year. Now Trump wants to live there full time, in clear violation of the agreement.

The Palm Beach town attorney, John Randolph, is now looking into the matter. Up until now, the town has looked the other way. In fact, just a month ago, town manager Kirk Blouin told The Miami Herald that he was not aware that Trump was planning to move there full time. Maintaining that position is untenable now since Trump's move there is so public. Also, there are a number of town residents who definitely do not want him there and have lobbied the town council to enforce the agreement. Some are lawyers and may sue the town if it gives in to Trump.

One option Trump definitely has is to sell the place and let someone else either live there or run it as a business. Or he could buy another place in Florida to live in and run Mar-a-Lago as a business, as he said he would in the 1993 agreement, which Trump personally signed. That might not work so well, as members are leaving, saying it is a dispirited place where everyone is 100 and the food is no good. But apparently he would prefer to have his cake and eat it, both living there and running it as a club as well.

The town council is next scheduled to meet on Feb. 9 at 9:30 a.m. If you want to Zoom on in, here is the link. (V)

Democrats Are More Popular Than Republicans in Georgia

Joe Biden won Georgia and Democrats won both Senate seats there. Is Georgia going purple or was this a one-off fluke? A new poll from the University of Georgia conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests that the move toward the Democrats may be real.

Let's look at the numbers. Only 40% of Georgians approve of Donald Trump's performance in the White House vs. 57% who disapprove. Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) is barely more popular, with 42% approval and 51% disapproval. Even among Republicans, he isn't that popular, with 36% disapproving of him (compared to 8% in a Jan. 2020 poll). Kemp is up for reelection next year and Trump has threatened to support a primary opponent against him. If that happens, whoever wins will emerge badly bruised, which may give the Democratic candidate a serious chance. It is an open secret that Stacey Abrams is going to run again. She almost won in 2018 and now that the state is slightly more favorable to Democrats, she might be able to pull it off in 2022.

Needless to say, the Democratic Party owes her big time. New DNC chairman Jaime Harrison, who is from neighboring South Carolina, knows that. He is going to give her all the support he can to make her the first Black governor in the Deep South since P.B.S. Pinchback, who was elevated to governor of Louisiana for 36 days, from Dec. 1872 to Jan. 1873. If Abrams wins, she will be the first elected Black governor in the Deep South ever. (Doug Wilder was elected governor of Virginia in 1990, but Virginia is not really Deep South.)

Now back to the AJC poll. Joe Biden has a 52% approval rating and a 41% disapproval rating in Georgia. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) is way above water, with an approval rating of 54% and a disapproval rating of 37%. Having a net +17-point approval rating is very important because Warnock is merely filling out the rest of the term to which Johnny Isakson was elected in 2016. Warnock will have to stand for reelection in 2022. Of course, then he will be an incumbent rather than a challenger, as he was in 2020.

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) has a 50% approval and a 40% disapproval. Ossoff doesn't have to be as nervous as Warnock since he was elected to a full term and won't face the voters again until 2026, so he has plenty of time to establish himself.

Putting it all together, Democrats won three key statewide elections in 2020 and all three of them still have net positive approval ratings while Trump and Kemp are both way under water. The Georgia legislature is going to do its best to disenfranchise as many Democrats as possible in 2022, but their plans are not exactly secret, giving the Democrats plenty of warning. If Abrams wins in 2022, then Georgia will be universally regarded as a purple state. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jan31 Sunday Mailbag
Jan30 Saturday Q&A
Jan29 McCarthy Goes to Florida to Kiss the Ring
Jan29 A House Divided against Itself Cannot Stand
Jan29 Senate News, Part I: Jordan Out
Jan29 Senate News, Part II: Rubio May Be Bulletproof
Jan29 Question Answered: It Was Trump
Jan29 Another Question Answered: It Was a Hacky Decision
Jan29 Bird Isn't the Word
Jan28 Some Democrats Are Working on Plan B
Jan28 Trump's Targets
Jan28 The Pentagon Wants Its Money Back
Jan28 Democrats Need to Move Fast
Jan28 The Art of the Presidency
Jan28 Biden Has Created a Commission to Study the Judiciary
Jan28 Tens of Thousands of Voters Have Ceased to Be Republicans
Jan28 Federal Judges Are Starting to Retire
Jan28 North Carolina Senate Race Heats Up
Jan28 Senate Republicans Worry about More Retirements
Jan28 Scott Will Back Rubio for Reelection
Jan27 Trump Looks to Be Impeachy Keen
Jan27 Biden Administration Clears Up Vaccine Promises...
Jan27 ...And Otherwise Remains Busy...
Jan27 ...But Life Is About to Get Harder
Jan27 Murkowski Won't Switch Parties
Jan27 Democrats' Ace in the Hole?
Jan27 About that Trump Presidential Library...
Jan26 Biden's Been Busy...
Jan26 ...And So Has the Senate...
Jan26 ...and the Supreme Court, Too
Jan26 Portman Is Out...
Jan26 ...And Sarah Sanders Is In
Jan26 Hawley Takes His Heel Turn
Jan26 Dominion Sues Giuliani
Jan25 Second Impeachment Trial Could Be Different from First One
Jan25 Durbin Is Open to Scrapping the Filibuster
Jan25 Biden's Cabinet Does Not Look Like Cabinets Past
Jan25 State Election Officials Are Taking Guidance from the 2020 Election
Jan25 The Rio Grande Valley Will Be a Battleground in 2022
Jan25 Business Sucks: The Sequel
Jan25 You Can't Please All of the People All of the Time
Jan25 Election Action is in Louisiana
Jan25 Republicans Who Voted to Impeach Trump Are Already Facing Primary Opponents
Jan25 Trump Wants to Start a New Party
Jan24 Sunday Mailbag
Jan23 Saturday Q&A
Jan22 Biden Declares War
Jan22 Biden Slowly Staffs Up
Jan22 About that Unity...
Jan22 The Impeachment Dance Continues