If America were truly colorblind, could it see whiteness?
Both races in Georgia’s heated Senate runoffs are essentially tied and many are wondering which metrics Georgia voters will use to cast the votes that will decide which political party controls America’s most exclusive legislative body. In case you haven’t noticed, Sens. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) are white. Conversely, Loeffler’s opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock is Black while Jon Ossoff, who is looking to unseat Perdue, is Jewish.
But does that matter?
For a world-class race-baiter like myself, it would be easy to lob accusations of white privilege and insist that Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue wouldn’t have a chance in hell of being elected into the legislature’s upper chamber if they were not white. Normally, I would eschew the trite commentary regurgitated by the punditry class and examine the racial aspects of the contest because it’s literally why The Root exists.
However, after hearing the incessant pleas to end my fascination with white supremacy, I finally decided to succumb to the wishes of white America. I’m hanging up my race-baiting rod and reel. No longer shall I point out the racism perpetuated by racists. Moving forward, I will not inject my racial biases into political coverage. Instead, I shall talk about...well, I haven’t quite figured that part out yet; perhaps you might be able to help me out.
Instead of focusing on this race through the prism of identity politics, perhaps we can examine the candidates as if America didn’t have an actual racist bone in its body. Will Georgia voters cast their ballots according to political ideology, economic factors or even conservative values?
Or is this race about whiteness?
Identity Politics: politics in which groups of people having a particular racial, religious, ethnic, social, or cultural identity tend to promote their own specific interests or concerns without regard to the interests or concerns of any larger political group
Black candidates have never had the privilege of playing this game. For a Black person to be successful in the arena of politics, an arcane concept called “democracy” means Black candidates must appeal to white voters.
I haven’t seen a survey, but I would guess that 99 percent of Georgia’s Black voters—regardless of party affiliation—have voted for a white person in an election. Meanwhile, Georgia’s white voters have never elected a Black senator, governor or presidential candidate.
Identity politics is one of the Republican Party’s oldest tools. Of course, when the GOP engages in this practice, it is euphemistically called “economic anxiety,” “appealing to the working class,” “populism” or “making America great again.” When politicians blame Obama for high taxes, the existence of racism and the Falcons blowing a 25-point fourth-quarter lead in the Super Bowl, you can rest assured they’re warming up for a heated game of “Amirite, white people?”
In the Georgia races, Loeffler has seized upon Warnock’s sermons to cast him as a “radical,” anti-white and a hater of Israel. Meanwhile, Perdue’s campaign has dog-whistled about Ossoff’s Jewish heritage in campaign ads and has once hinted that Perdue wished Barack Obama would die soon.
This is identity politics.
Ultimately, identity politicians are betting that voters of no color value whiteness more than policy, personal values or even experience.
But does it work?
While Warnock has never held an elected office, he gained prominence in Georgia’s political scene advocating for Medicare expansion and voting rights, including serving as the chairman of the nonpartisan New Georgia Project. Ossoff, on the other hand, has five years of experience as a national security congressional staffer and held a top-secret clearance.
Perdue has represented Georgia in the Senate since 2014. That’s it. He hasn’t passed a significant piece of legislation in six years (unless you count naming a Columbus, Ga., post office). Perdue chose to highlight his political positions by ducking the most recent Senate debate against Ossoff.
The fact that Loeffler was appointed to the Senate having never served in an elected position or in any capacity in public service has nothing to do with white privilege. Although Loeffler doesn’t technically have a political record, I’m sure there are examples of Black people who received political appointments after handing out more than $3 million in political donations to one political party. Hold up, let me find it.
Ossoff and Warnock support Medicaid expansion, common-sense gun reform, COVID stimulus and taxing the wealthy, which could concern Georgians who are worried about socialism and big government.
Small-government conservatives would probably reject a candidate whose family receives millions in welfare, as Loeffler’s has done for decades. Everyone knows that Georgians don’t appreciate government handouts like the tax break Perdue tried to deliver for his wealthy friends. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue both believe in the death penalty, fought against expanding healthcare to the poor and publicly support Trump’s efforts to give every American COVID-19 by refusing to wear masks at campaign events.
They call that “pro-life.”
There’s just one problem with the GOP’s warnings about Warnock and Perdue’s liberal agenda:
The vast majority of Georgians like these policies.
According to a Journal-Constitution poll, 71 percent of Georgia voters are in favor of Medicare expansion and 83 percent oppose open gun laws. Fifty-five percent of Georgians support Warnock and Ossoff’s pro-choice stance on abortion and 61 percent favor a tax increase on wealthy individuals. In fact, 8 out of 10 Georgians favor some form of a tax increase to specifically help children, rural communities and low-income families.
A large number of Georgians believe their votes should be counted.
Perhaps, instead of policy issues, Georgia voters are considering the candidates’ shared values. Georgia is a socially conservative state that touts Christian morals, including honesty and hard work.
Warnock, Perdue and Ossoff were born and raised in Georgia. While Kelly Loeffler insists she “worked in the fields,” she was born and raised on a multimillion-dollar farm that was passed down from her grandparents. Perdue went on to become a business mogul while Loeffler also became a business mogul, by marrying a business mogul, who made her CEO of a subsidiary of his company before financing her political career.
Aside from being two of the wealthiest members of the Senate, Loeffler and Perdue are considered two of the most brazenly corrupt politicians in America. Ossoff is a child of Jewish immigrants and dedicated his time to serving the public. In high school, he interned for Congressman John Lewis and worked as an investigative journalist exposing human rights violations around the world. Meanwhile, Warnock worked his way through college and has literally spent his life serving God.
Of course, Warnock and Ossoff’s religious values may not count because their Gods are not
If Kelly Loeffler or David Perdue’s campaigns are successful, it won’t be because Georgians support their political ideologies. If this race were about experience or moral values, it would be a runaway. If Georgia voters were choosing their next senator on the basis of hard work, education, accomplishments, faith, integrity, economic policy, social agenda, or relatability, the preacher and the journalist would triumph easily over the Real Housewife of King’s Landing and Sen. Ramsay Bolton
There is only one logical reason that could possibly explain why the Georgia race is so close and everyone knows what that reason is:
This is Obama’s fault.