The clear defeat of Democrat Jon Ossoff by Republican
Karen Handel in the Georgia-6 special election run-off is
the end of a road traveled by many liberals and the
establishment media now in its embarrassing decline.
Touted in this media as a “referendum on Trump,” the
race was unnecessarily nationalized on the faulty premise
that GOP voters don’t like the president. In fact, at the
outset local Georgia Democrats recruited an attractive and
young (albeit inexperienced) candidate (Mr. Ossoff) who
initially and smartly avoided making Mr. Trump the issue.
He almost won the initial special election, and might
have done so if national Democrats had not poured in so
much money and out-of-state volunteers into the race ---
something which usually antagonizes local voters.
The GOP nominee, Karen Handel, had little pizzazz. Donald
Trump had barely carried the district in 2016 against Hillary
Clinton, and the mostly upscale, educated district was no
longer reliably Republican. As Michael Barone points out,
Georgia 6 is just the kind of place outside a large urban area
where liberals and Democrats are making some of their best
The run-off wasn’t a landslide, but it also wasn’t close. Most
polls until the very end had Mr. Ossoff winning by 2-7 points.
Mrs. Handel won by 4%, a clear margin under the
The antagonism between the Democratic leadership and
Mr. Trump is now so toxic, and has been since the 2016 election
when he upset their expectations, that whether or not Mr.
Ossoff wanted the tens of millions of dollars in outside
money, and all the national media attention, was not an option
for the Democrat’s campaign. If indeed some Republicans in the
district were now feeling ambivalent about the man they voted
for last November, that was swept aside by the in-your-face
challenge to conservative goals by sneering Hollywood liberals
and biased media coverage. In short, GOP voters were actually
provoked into rallying around the president through Mrs. Handel.
If any proof of this is required, one has only to look at the other
special congressional election on the same day in South Carolina.
Pitting ultraconservative Republican Ralph Norman, a Trump
supporter, against Democrat Archie Parnell, the national media
and liberal donors ignored the race on the assumption it wasn’t
winnable. Mr. Norman was so hardcore, and Mr. Parnell was such
a good campaigner, that the Democrat almost pulled off an upset.
The margin was actually notably less than in the Georgia 6 race.
Under the political radar, Mr. Parnell quietly courted the district’s
black voters, and they came out for him.
As I have pointed out previously, the national Democratic
leadership has struck out again and again since the 2016
election day when Mr. Trump turned their world upside down.
Doomed recounts, ill-fated appeals to electors, bitter tactics in
Congress, and collusion with the establishment media trying to
delegitimatize the president and his administration has produced
a shutout so far --- in fact, Mr. Trump is going into the late
innings with a no-hitter (but not a perfect game).
At some point, the Democratic leadership have to realize they
have taken the wrong road, and now are lost in the political
wilderness. It’s not that the Republicans, especially in the
Congress, have had so very many successes. In fact, they do
not. But by obsessing on Mr. Trump’s tweeting foibles and his
mannerisms, his opposition is actually enabling him to go
forward with his government reform and reorganization
program. By chronically attacking him personally, the
establishment media only confirms Mr. Trump’s bona fides
to his supporters and helps him keep their loyalty. By
attempting to ridicule the new president, Democrats and the
media only make themselves appear petty and vindictive to
voters, especially to conservatives and independents.
Republicans actually have some big problems ahead, and
President Trump has some serious challenges facing him
and his administrative team. If his opposition had taken the
road of debating and criticizing those issues, the political
landscape might now be much more favorable to them than
it is at present.
Trump-hating Democrats and journalists apparently don’t
know it, but they are Donald Trump’s best political allies
Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.