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Last night, President Trump was in the Peach State rallying the GOP troops, acknowledging he might not be living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in February. Should that be so, then the results in the two Georgia Senate races hold the key to America’s future. That was the backdrop as Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and challenger Raphael Warnock locked horns in their debate.
These are two candidates who could scarcely be more dissimilar. Loeffler is a GOP stalwart, wealthy, white, a natural addition to the wave of women the Republican Party has sent to Congress in its red tide. Warnock is a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where in 1960 a man named Martin Luther King Jr. became copastor. Loeffler is accused of being too close to moneyed interests of the stock market, Warnock of being too close to the radical identity politics left. Each had some decisions to make about his or her own identity heading into the rumble.
Right off the bat, Loeffler was asked about Trump’s claim that he won Georgia. She wisely deflected to her own race. “It’s very clear there are issues,” she said. That’s the right path. And the one that Republicans are coming around to. It was an important question deftly handled.
Warnock’s first question was, as a pastor, how does religion affect his run for office. At least it wasn’t what his favorite flavor of ice cream is. He gave a vague answer — not one that defended the pro life position, by the way, which he publicly opposed later in the debate. Loeffler pushed back: she was a waitress in youth, just like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She understands the fight working-class Americans are fighting. Fair enough.
When Warnock was asked about defunding the police, he claimed to be an ally of theirs, but will hold them accountable. Loeffler pointed out correctly that he has called police “thugs.” His response was that this was why people turned off from politics. But he did not back off his comment that our police are thugs. That’s a heck of a thing.
Warnock tried to attack Loeffler for inside trading when she found out about the pandemic. But it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given that the stock market has just reached record highs. Loeffler correctly pointed out that the Trump administration has done much more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would to help Americans.
Loeffler asked Warnock if he would reject socialism. He refused to do so.
Loeffler kept her focus on Warnock’s radicalism that would raise taxes and maintain lockdowns. These are important issues. Time and again, he deflected. He does not seem to have an answer to it. Would he lock us down again? He didn’t quite answer, but we can guess.
On the question of stimulus, Warnock talked a fine game, but Pelosi has put her foot on the throat of stimulus until after the election. He made no effort to suggest he would get her off that hill. Loeffler is ready to send Americans relief.
Loeffler, who was a bit lifeless in the early part of the debate, did finally call out Warnock for his support of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whom President Obama had to throw under the bus, and Fidel Castro, who Warnock praised. He tried to throw that away, but the facts are the facts, and he did call on Americans to repent for whiteness, as Loeffler called out.
Warnock is a preacher. It showed. He’s a good debater. Loeffler is not. She didn’t move her arms one time. But she is right that everything is at stake in this election.
Warnock got the better of this debate in personality, but Loeffler’s win on the issues and loss in relatability is not an election loss. She’s a flawed candidate, but she stands for an important cause. Let’s hope this pathetic performance doesn’t give the socialists control of our government.
Warnock was asked if he would expand the Supreme Court. He did not answer. He said it’s just a question people in the beltway care about. He says he’s not focused on it. Is that a yes or a no? Nobody knows.
The people of Georgia aren’t idiots. The country is in their hands.