An­other ‘moral vic­tory’ for the Democrats

The smart money nev­er­the­less says the Repub­li­cans will win the real thing in Ge­or­gia

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Our earthquakes and land­slides just ain’t what they used to be. The Democrats, like all po­lit­i­cal par­ties on the outs with vot­ers, are en­ti­tled to look for hope and so­lace where they can find it, but the pickings in spe­cial con­gres­sional elec­tions are so far pretty skimpy.

Democrats lost the first such con­test in Kansas early this month, and came up short this week of what The Wash­ing­ton Post, one of the keep­ers of the party’s wishes and dreams, calls “out­right vic­tory.” Un­less we’re count­ing moral vic­to­ries as ac­tual vic­to­ries, the Demo­cratic can­di­date in Ge­or­gia’s Sixth Con­gres­sional District came up far short of out­right.

He led the ticket, by a con­sid­er­able but mis­lead­ing mar­gin, and now there’s the run-off on June 20 to de­ter­mine the win­ner of a ma­jor­ity. The smart money is on Karen Han­del, 46, the for­mer Ge­or­gia sec­re­tary of state and a vet­eran of run-offs. A run-off, as Democrats and Repub­li­cans in states with run-offs know, is only the cru­cial sec­ond half of the elec­tion.

The coverage of these two spe­cial elec­tions, first in Kansas and then in Ge­or­gia to plug open­ings left when Pres­i­dent Trump re­cruited con­gress­men to fill open­ings in his Cabi­net, re­flects how skilled some po­lit­i­cal re­porters are in find­ing the sil­ver lin­ings to as­suage the pain of Demo­cratic losers.

Jon Os­soff, the first round leader in Ge­or­gia, “cap­tured the most votes with a groundswell of grass­roots ac­tivism and mil­lions in dona­tions fu­eled largely by an­tipa­thy to Pres­i­dent Trump,” as de­scribed by The Post. Mr. Os­soff, for his part, cel­e­brated what he says “is al­ready a re­mark­able vic­tory. We de­fied the odds, shat­tered ex­pec­ta­tions and now are ready to fight on and win in June.” One of his cam­paign chiefs calls it “a vic­tory for the ages.”

Mr. Os­soff won 48.3 per­cent of the first-round vote, need­ing a min­i­mum of 50 per­cent plus one to wrap it up with­out a run-off. With Karen Han­del win­ning just 20 per­cent, that sounds like an in­sur­mount­able mar­gin. But the re­sult mis­leads, be­cause it’s Mr. Os­soff who has the mar­gin that is likely in­sur­mount­able.

This was what the po­lit­i­cal writ­ers called a “jun­gle pri­mary,” no racism in­tended, with 18 can­di­dates, all but four of them Repub­li­cans, with the top two can­di­dates duk­ing it out in a run-off if nec­es­sary re­gard­less of party.

The district, drawn over parts of three sub­ur­ban coun­ties just north of At­lanta, has been re­li­ably Repub­li­can for many years, and is ex­pected to re­main so this year. It’s also one of the best-ed­u­cated con­stituen­cies any­where, with lots of col­lege grad­u­ates with high­pay­ing jobs, and Democrats are puz­zled that such folk would be Repub­li­cans. The district went handily for Don­ald Trump, and aren’t his de­plorables sup­posed to be the dumb ones?

Now the seek­ers af­ter tea leaves that might re­veal clues to how to de­stroy Mr. Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion move on to Mon­tana and the next spe­cial elec­tion next month. Af­ter that, it’s on to South Carolina.

Moral vic­to­ries aren’t much, as any moral but los­ing can­di­date would tell you. Some­times a moral vic­tory is not even bet­ter than noth­ing. But hope is hard to kill, which is what makes pol­i­tics such an invit­ing game. Any num­ber can play, as we saw this week in Ge­or­gia.

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