Warnock’s Narrow Victory Underscores Ongoing Threat of Voter Suppression

Senator Raphael Warnock makes historical past defeating Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia’s intently watched Senate runoff, changing into the primary Black senator to be elected to a six-year time period in Georgia. His victory in Tuesday’s particular election will give Democrats management of 51 seats within the Senate. It additionally marks a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, who had handpicked Walker, a former soccer star who had no political expertise, to be the standard-bearer in Georgia. Walker is the eighth Trump-backed Senate candidate to lose this yr, regardless of earlier predictions that Republicans would regain management of the Senate. Warnock acquired 51.4% of the vote in comparison with Walker’s 48.6%. LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, says intense on-the-ground organizing was capable of put Warnock excessive, however she warns that the tight result’s a “pink flag” signaling the continued risk from Trump. “We’re nonetheless combating voter suppression. We’re nonetheless combating fascism,” says Brown.


This can be a rush transcript. Copy is probably not in its last kind.

AMY GOODMAN: Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock has made historical past by defeating Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia’s intently watched Senate runoff. Warnock’s victory offers the Democrats management of 51 seats within the subsequent Senate. Warnock turns into the primary Black senator to be elected to a full six-year time period in Georgia. He acquired 51.4% of the vote to Walkers 48.6%. Senator Raphael Warnock addressed supporters in Atlanta final evening.

SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK: Now, there are those that will have a look at the end result of this race —


SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK: — and say that — sure, you’re proper: We gained. However there are those that would have a look at the end result of this race and say that there is no such thing as a voter suppression in Georgia. Let me be clear: Simply because individuals endured lengthy traces that wrapped round buildings, some blocks lengthy, simply because they endured the rain and the chilly and every kind of methods so as to vote doesn’t imply that voter suppression doesn’t exist. It merely implies that you, the individuals, have determined that your voices is not going to be silenced.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Raphael Warnock, talking after defeating Republican NFL star Herschel Walker in Georgia’s intently watched Senate runoff.

Senator Warnock was raised in public housing in Savannah, Georgia. He was the eleventh of 12 youngsters, the primary in his household to go to school. He first rose to nationwide prominence because the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, which was the non secular residence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When Reverend Warnock was first elected in 2021, he grew to become the primary Black Democrat ever to signify a Southern state, in addition to the primary Black senator from Georgia and simply the eleventh Black senator in U.S. historical past.

Warnock’s victory marked a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, who had handpicked Herschel Walker, a former soccer star who had no political expertise. Walker grew to become the eighth Trump-backed Senate candidate to lose this yr, a yr during which the Republicans had anticipated to regain management of the Senate.

Herschel Walker conceded to Raphael Warnock final evening.

HERSCHEL WALKER: I would like you to imagine in America and proceed to imagine within the Structure and imagine in our elected officers, most of all. Proceed to wish for them, as a result of all of the prayers you’ve given me, I’ve felt these prayers.

AMY GOODMAN: We go now to Atlanta, Georgia, the place we’re joined by LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund.

LaTosha, thanks a lot for rejoining us on Democracy Now! Should you can speak in regards to the significance of Senator Raphael Warnock, Reverend Raphael Warnock’s victory final evening, and the teachings realized?

LATOSHA BROWN: You realize, I feel that there’s — I’m nonetheless truly in — I’m so excited and pleased in regards to the end result of that election. I feel there are a selection of issues. One, I feel simply traditionally that right here it’s, a full — he has a full six-year time period to serve within the Senate, an African American male from a state that what we — that we all know traditionally that Black women and men have truly been killed only for attempting to register to vote, a state that has been on the forefront of actually main voter suppression in a myriad of the way, and even intensifying that in the previous few years. So I feel that it has a historic significance across the battle to vote, notably within the African American neighborhood.

I additionally suppose that it has a significance as a result of it has nationwide political implications, that what we all know is now the Democrats have 51 seats, which implies that now they really have freedom round — way more freedom and house when it comes to the committee appointments, to have the ability to truly get judges by way of, to have the ability to get appointments by way of, and, I feel, even put stress on of us like Sinema and Manchin, who’ve truly stood in the best way of sure laws, notably like voting rights laws, to get by way of. And so, I feel that that has a — that may have a major impression, you realize, on the nationwide coverage that goes ahead that the Democrats truly pushing.

The third factor that it does is I feel that it reaffirms a selected mannequin of what we’ve been saying all of the whereas, you realize, that what we noticed is we noticed voter suppression. I would like individuals perceive that, sure, whereas we noticed file turnout, we additionally noticed lengthy traces. And whereas it was an indicator that individuals had been voting, the very fact of the matter is individuals had been standing in line for 2 and three hours. That shouldn’t be the case. However that could be a results of the voter suppression, that once we have a look at what has occurred from the 2021 election, the place Warnock was — Senator Warnock was first elected from that particular election, what we all know is that, actually, you realize, there have been eight — we had eight-and-a-half, nearly 9 weeks of early voting. That bought truncated into 4 weeks. So that you solely had 4 weeks of early voting, which truly intensified what teams on the bottom needed to do to verify individuals had info.

After which, so as to add insult to damage, within the state of Georgia, the place you’ve bought the constitutional officer who is meant to be the — is meant to handle the electoral course of, the secretary of state, his accountability is to really give info to voters to have the ability to interact in a course of and actually encourage voters, residents to take part within the political course of — he truly sued, not eager to — tried to actually not wish to have a Saturday voting alternative for the voters within the state. So, as a substitute of actually taking the job of actually increasing the chance and ensuring that voters would truly take part, as a substitute, he needed us to look at a Accomplice vacation in order that voters wouldn’t come out. And it was as a result of — I imply, wouldn’t have the chance to vote. And it was due to the Warnock marketing campaign and a number of other different plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit that actually the choose dominated of their favor, that opened up Saturday voting. And that weekend wound up being one of many largest voting turnout weekends within the historical past — in a runoff election within the historical past of Georgia, as a result of there was a real want.

So, these are simply a number of the issues that I feel that occurred traditionally on this marketing campaign, that what you additionally see — and I feel that is probably the most important piece. A part of what individuals ought to actually acknowledge is that Warnock was capable of get the LGBTQ neighborhood, he was capable of get progressive whites, he was capable of get independents, he was capable of get AAPI, the Latinos, African People, the Indigenous individuals. He had a broad-based coalition and, in some ways, a nuanced message to every of these constituencies. That’s the way forward for Georgia. That’s what — the America that we want, we deserve. That’s the America — that’s what America appears like. And I feel it offers a message that, when it comes to going ahead, the Democratic Occasion goes to need to actually, like, simply hunker down and have the ability to converse to these totally different constituency teams in a means that we’re transferring ahead with coalition politics.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, LaTosha Brown, I needed to ask you — this was actually a victory towards voter suppression, however on the similar time it was additionally one of the crucial costly Senate races in U.S. historical past, the estimates by OpenSecrets that greater than $380 million was spent between the campaigns and that Warnock had a major lead within the spending. So, is the message right here additionally — may you speak in regards to the affect of cash nonetheless in our electoral course of? And can all candidates in search of to beat again voter suppression need to provide you with this type of cash to have the ability to win?

LATOSHA BROWN: You realize, that’s simply not sustainable. The underside line is, on this explicit case, sure. You realize, what we all know is Warnock did have a big conflict chest, proper? And whereas that was — I feel that that has had a — went to play and made a distinction. You realize, early on within the marketing campaign, early on within the midterms, teams like mine and others, grassroots organizations that additionally did an incredible a part of the heavy raise on this election, had been saying that the sources weren’t on the bottom, that whereas we wanted to really have an air conflict, there wanted to be a floor conflict. And I do suppose that that’s one thing that, as we mirror, and going ahead, and because the Democrats mirror, going ahead, I feel that’s an actual consideration, that finally it’s going to bump up towards, bump up towards some points round ensuring that totally different communities are engaged.

The second factor is, to your level, it’s simply unrealistic and unsustainable. It’s obnoxious, the quantity of sources which might be being spent on these political campaigns. That’s why I feel we’d like — we’d like marketing campaign reform — proper? — in order that we are able to actually — that it shouldn’t be who wins who has probably the most cash. It’s who actually is participating the most individuals, who has the center and the thoughts to really form coverage and are going to actually have the ability to converse to the individuals.

On this explicit case, sure, he was capable of have cash, and I actually suppose that the cash helped. I actually suppose that it truly helped to push him over the sting. However I might additionally say that, actually, it was the individuals, that, finally, on this explicit case, he had one of the best of a number of worlds. He had the standard type of monetary backing that you’d have as a — and extra so than most Democratic candidates would have, proper? After which, what he additionally had is he truly had this infrastructure, that was actually outdoors of his marketing campaign, that needed to see him win badly and that we used and leveraged our sources, our time and our power to guarantee that we truly pushed to get voters out, in order that voters may have — make a selection. And we thought that the selection could be clear, that when they bought to the polls, individuals knew precisely what to do, and so they knew the type of management. However it is a bigger query round, as we go ahead, the necessity for marketing campaign finance reform.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And that i needed to ask you — Herschel Walker, his opponent, was handpicked by Donald Trump and was actually the candidate of the MAGA Republican — the MAGA wing of the Republican Occasion. Your sense of what this says about Trump’s energy throughout the Republican Occasion and in addition what it might sign for his presidential run in 2024?

LATOSHA BROWN: You realize, I feel it’s a very good query. I truly suppose it’s a way more sophisticated query. You realize, I might like to say, “Oh, we’ve beat Trump, and that’s it.” I can’t say that, that on the finish of the day, sure, we beat Trump. Sure, I feel that if he comes out once more, we’re going to do all the pieces to beat him once more.

However the fact of the matter is, the truth that Herschel Walker, a candidate — proper? — who was one of many weakest candidates I’ve ever identified in my — within the historical past of doing these elections, who was handpicked, plopped out of — picked out of Texas, positioned in Georgia — he even had the audacity to file his taxes within the midst of this marketing campaign, that truly the place he stated that for the final 17 years he has been dwelling in Texas. He’s a resident of Texas, somebody who actually was so disconnected from his personal neighborhood and so disconnected from the plight of what African People are literally experiencing proper now, that he minimized racism. He truly referred to himself as a unfavourable racial slur that had been used towards African People for years within the Deep South, the place he known as himself — he truly embraced this notion of being known as a “coon,” that right here’s somebody that with all of that baggage, somebody who actually his circle of relatives got here out towards him, stated that he had not raised his youngsters, that he had a home violence abuse, that abortion — we are able to go on and on and on.

The truth that there was solely a 100,000-vote distinction between these two candidates who had been starkly totally different additionally speaks to one thing, too. I feel it speaks to that we can not take without any consideration that that is only a conventional elections, that we’re going to have conventional elections the place, oh, it’s a Democratic candidate and Republican candidate, and which candidate, that we’ll get the — we’re far past that. We’ve to additionally acknowledge that we’re nonetheless combating the large lie, that now we have to additionally acknowledge that we’re nonetheless combating voter suppression, that we’re nonetheless combating fascism, that on the finish of the day, that when you could possibly simply take a candidate out of nowhere, that’s the weakest candidate that we’ve seen, and have the ability to garner over 1.7 million voters — proper? — that, in itself, also needs to be a pink flag for us, and we should always not take frivolously or take without any consideration that Trump is not going to be an element within the upcoming — within the presidential election.

AMY GOODMAN: LaTosha Brown, it’s attention-grabbing that Herschel Walker, regardless of all of the scandals round him, truly conceded defeat instantly final evening, one thing that his fundamental supporter, Donald Trump, wouldn’t do, and embraced the Structure — Trump in the previous few days saying the Structure of america needs to be thrown out. However I needed to ask you about this challenge of voter suppression and whether or not the Republicans’ makes an attempt to cease voting — and clearly, many individuals had been disenfranchised. It’s only a testomony to the advocacy on the bottom to get individuals out to vote; it made it all of the extra superb. Whether or not Republicans are actually reconsidering two issues. One is this type of voter suppression, as a result of it truly galvanizes individuals. And, two, Democrats had it palms down when it got here to this file early voting, one thing Republicans have a tendency to not do. They vote on Election Day. Aren’t they reconsidering all of this? And the way will your techniques change, as properly?

LATOSHA BROWN: You realize, I can’t inform you what they’re reconsidering, as a result of I feel they’ve made some actually important errors, a part of what they consistently have been doing. And we’ve seen this within the final — and notably within the final, in the newest elections. They tend to imagine that in the event that they cheat, in the event that they put voter suppression techniques in place, that indirectly we’re simply going to get — we’ll get dejected from the method and never interact. You realize, I’ve additionally seen the place they’ve truly planted these narratives, just like the narrative that Black males weren’t going to vote on this election, they had been so upset with the Democratic Occasion, once we truly noticed the reverse occur in Georgia. We noticed that, actually, proper behind Black girls had been Black males when it comes to their assist of the Democratic ticket.

I feel that they need to contemplate it. Whether or not they thought of it or not, I’m undecided. The truth that they’ve made some main errors, the truth that they ran Dr. Oz, the truth that they ran Herschel Walker, the truth that there — truly nonetheless a large a part of the occasion nonetheless helps Trump says that there’s some disconnect from the fact. I feel that in some methods they’re blinded by uncooked energy, and have determined, by any means essential, in the event that they need to cheat, steal, no matter they should do to undermine the method, they’re keen to do this.

They need to rethink, as a result of what we’ve seen time and again is that there’s additionally a backlash, that they consistently underestimate the ability of voters, of recent voters, that there was a shift. They’re unwilling to just accept that the political panorama that they’ve been used to has without end modified. And while you look in Georgia, the final census, within the final 10 years, 100% of the inhabitants development in Georgia have been communities of colour, that while you have a look at the typical age within the state, the state is changing into not solely extra numerous, however youthful. And we’re seeing that demographic shift all throughout the nation, which goes to demand — that’s going to demand a distinct type of political actuality and a distinct type of politics, a physique politic. And I feel we’re seeing — we’re beginning to see a number of the fruits of that labor, and we’re seeing a number of the — and I don’t see the Republicans truly responding in any means that makes me suppose that they’re going to be sensible sufficient, humble sufficient and even simply have sufficient integrity to actually take these issues in consideration.

AMY GOODMAN: And eventually, apparently, the victory of Raphael Warnock, who turns into the primary Black Democrat to be elected to the Senate by a former state of the Confederacy — that occurred final time, however now as a full-term senator — dethrones what some name “the opposite President Joe,” President Joe Manchin, in Washington, D.C., truly Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, as a result of now the Democrats don’t want all 50 votes, now that it’s 51 to 49, to cross all laws. An attention-grabbing impact that it’s going to have in Washington, D.C.

LATOSHA BROWN: Completely. I feel it’s a recreation changer, for quite a lot of causes, given that you simply acknowledged. I feel one of the crucial disappointing issues that, as a voting rights activist and advocate, for me, on this final election cycle has been the failure of the Democrats to cross voting rights laws, that we’d like voting rights laws. You realize, what we noticed in Georgia, once we noticed that it was like, “Properly, there have been excessive turnouts,” the reality of the matter is, we nonetheless needed to put an infinite quantity of sources and time and other people energy to really attempt to offset as a lot as doable the voter suppression. However the fact of the matter is, whereas I’m pleased that we gained, I nonetheless preserve we can not proceed — we are able to’t outorganize voter suppression, that it’s unsustainable to proceed to see the goalposts be moved and that we’re answerable for responding to that. So we’re going to need to have federal laws. I feel Warnock has been a champion for voting rights. He has been persistently. And so we’d like him within the Senate to have the ability to push again on that. And I feel having that additional vote offers some extra leverage room for the Democrats to actually take that up critically.

I feel the second factor can be across the committee assignments. Due to this 51 vote, now the Democrats have extra space to actually make committee assignments, which implies that they will truly prioritize a number of the issues that we wish to see as progressives. We wish to see — within the state of Georgia, the minimal wage is $5.15 an hour. Nobody can dwell off that. We have to see a good wage for individuals, that after they’re going to work, that they’re capable of pay for and maintain their households. That we wish to see the enlargement, you realize, of healthcare and healthcare entry. And so, I feel that having that one particular person, that additional vote, that additional leverage, can even give the chance for the Democrats to really have extra leverage of prioritizing the issues that we wish, when it comes to the committee assignments, to have the opportunity additionally to have the ability to get judges by way of, to elect, and to actually have the ability to have extra room and house inside their caucus round what insurance policies that they may prioritize, going ahead.

AMY GOODMAN: And simply to be clear, what LaTosha Brown was speaking about is, as a result of it was 50-50, every committee was evenly divided. Now Democrats could have the vast majority of each committee within the U.S. Senate. LaTosha Brown, I wish to thanks a lot for being with us, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund.

After we come again, “Loss of life by Coverage: Disaster within the Arizona Desert.” A brand new investigation by Futuro Media exhibits how U.S. border insurance policies power migrants in search of refuge into a number of the deadliest terrain within the southern United States. Stick with us.


AMY GOODMAN: “Greater Floor” by Stevie Surprise, a Raphael Warnock supporter.