A MESSAGE TO GEORGIA VOTERS
Unless you are a political junkie, it can’t be fun living in Georgia right now. The state is being bombarded with partisan politics. Republicans and Democrats are pouring in money to convince voters to give them a majority in the Senate. The advertising on TV and radio, not to mention lawn signs and billboards, not to mention letters and postcards and phone calls and texts, has got to be nauseating.
I admit that I’m an offender, having sent both letters and postcards to Georgia voters urging them to turn out. I hope more of them ultimately get turned out than turned off by my efforts.
And that led me to think about what I would want if I were a Georgia voter, and the answer is simple: money. And no, I don’t mean a cash payment in return for my vote, which is, of course, patently illegal.
What I do mean is this. While both political parties are presenting all kinds of policy arguments about why Georgians should give them the key to the Senate, what rarely gets talked about is the financial implications. The fact of the matter is that one of the most important things legislators do is lobby for pork in the federal budget and legislation for their states. Like it or not, this can have a huge impact.
Kentucky, for instance, has the third highest balance of payments with the federal government, meaning they get much more than they contribute in taxes. Why is this? Because Mitch McConnell is one of the most powerful politicians in Congress, and when he’s not using his power to shut down Democratic initiatives, he is using it to send pork back to his home state.
So if I were living in Georgia I would be asking which candidates for Senate, if elected, are going to be in a better position to get dollars for Georgia. If the Republicans are elected, they will encounter a Washington playing field in which the House and the Presidency are controlled by Democrats. Since the House and the President must approve any expenditures recommended by the Senate, two relatively junior Republican Senators are going to have very little juice when it comes to leveraging money for Georgia.
On the other hand, if Ossoff and Warnock are elected, they will give Democrats the majority in the Senate. And if the Democrats control all three houses, then Ossoff and Warnock will be ideally placed to influence federal spending in Georgia. This is especially true because (a) they will enter the Senate as Democratic heroes, and (b) they will have won narrow victories, and their Democratic colleagues will be eager to buoy their standing with Georgia voters so that in six years they can get re-elected.
So Georgians, feel free to ignore my letters and postcards and the messaging of everyone else whose advice about who to vote for is about meeting their needs, not yours. Consider instead voting for the candidates who will be best positioned to bring money back to the Peach State if they are elected. If Perdue and Loeffler are re-elected, they are simply not going to be able to bring federal dollars home (although they no doubt will find ways to use their jobs to continue to enrich themselves). If Ossoff and Warnock are elected, however, Georgia is set up for a windfall, and that’s a plus for the good people of Georgia regardless of their party affiliation.