Resolute Square

A Warnock Win Is Bigger Than You Think

Electing a 51st Democrat to the Senate doesn't just tip votes in the Senate, it reshapes committees and that is, in a word, huge. Victor Shi tells us why.
Credit: Warnock for Georgia
Published:December 6, 2022

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Georgia is on my mind. Today is the final day that thousands of Georgians are voting in the state’s critical U.S. Senate run-off election. Their two candidates couldn’t be more different. Here’s a brief reminder: 

On one hand, there’s Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, who hails from the same church as Martin Luther King Jr. and has proven himself to be a compassionate and effective leader in the U.S. Senate. And then there’s Republican candidate Hershel Walker, a former football player and coach who has no political experience. Worse, Walker has said and done countless things that show he is anything but an effective leader—things like not admitting that he paid for another woman, who happens to be the mother of one of his children, to obtain an abortion—not to mention a qualified U.S. Senator. 

And even though the early vote turnout so far has been shattering previous records, it can’t be overstated how important this election is — for both Georgians and the nation as a whole. 

For one, Warnock is someone who has shown that he cares about Georgians — voting for a wide array of legislation, from bills that touch voting rights to gun reform. Given Walker’s record as someone whose primary residence isn’t even in Georgia and his comments on the campaign trail and during debates, there is no guarantee that he would pass legislation that would benefit Georgians. Georgia – and the entire nation – deserves a Senator who actually cares. 

In a similar vein, Warnock’s victory would provide a backstop should Democrats lose Joe Manchin’s or Kyrsten Sinema’s vote on any particular bill. That means winning in Georgia assures that Democrats can continue the progress and accomplishments of the last two years in the Senate. Accomplishments like passing the long-awaited Infrastructure Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act with its historic investment in climate change and the confirmation of numerous judges and the first-ever Black female Supreme Court Justice. 

But the importance of electing Warnock goes beyond just being another Democratic Senator. He would be the 51st Democrat Senator meaning Warnock’s victory would eliminate the need for Democrats to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans. If the Senate ends up being split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, all Senate Committees will, once again, be composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. That shared power causes deadlocks requiring discharge petitions that send legislation to the floor without a recommendation from the Committee. 

While, in a previous era, power-sharing and bipartisanship may once have worked, that seems long gone in today’s politics. Polarization runs rampant, and every day it becomes clearer that one party wants to govern and the other doesn’t. In particular, on the issues most important to Gen Z—reproductive rights, abortion, and student loan forgiveness—getting anything passed in a 50-50 Senate proved nearly impossible. But if Democrats gain one more seat, they control the majority on each Committee. 

Controlling committee majorities makes it easier for Democrats to enact their agenda, one that helps both Gen Z and all American people. Consider, for instance, the issue of gun reform. For young people, gun violence remains the leading cause of death. And with more than 600 mass shootings this year — averaging more than two per day — it is imperative to pass meaningful and bold gun reform legislation. By re-electing Sen. Warnock, each committee would have a gun-sensible majority, making it easier to send recommendations to the Senate floor and finally pass gun reform legislation. 

Here’s the bottom line: it’s been an incredible feat for the Biden administration to accomplish what it has in the Senate with 50 Democratic Senators (two of them often wobbley), plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Harris. With just one more Senator, President Biden can accomplish even more. The issues you care about — whether it’s climate change, abortion rights, student debt forgiveness, gun reform, or democracy — would have a much greater likelihood of passage if Sen. Warnock is re-elected. That alone should motivate us all to take action with the remaining time left before polls close. 

As we saw in 2020 and again a couple of weeks ago in the midterm election, preventing a red wave took all generations doing their part — and Generation Z really stepped up and turned out in astonishing numbers. In fact, the latest data shows that if it weren’t for the number of young voters who turned out overwhelmingly for Raphael Warnock in 2020 and again a couple of weeks ago, it is likely Herschel Walker would be a Senator-elect now. But because young people — and every older voting bloc — turned out, Sen. Warnock still has a tangible path to re-election. And all of us, in these next few hours, can play an important role in making sure Warnock wins.

Of course, if you live in Georgia, you can and must vote and get other registered voters who sat out the midterms to cast their runoff ballots today. Tell all your friends that it is their legal right to stay in line and vote, as long as they were in that line before the polls are scheduled to close. Make sure everyone you know who may have a mail-in ballot—out-of-state college students who are originally from Georgia—sends it in immediately. Even if you don’t live in Georgia, you can encourage everyone you know who does live in Georgia to do the same. Use the platform you have on social media to amplify resources like where to vote, how to make a plan to vote, or what voters can and can’t do in line. 

What’s more: in the remaining hours before polls close, we can all talk to, text or call someone we know in Georgia or someone we are assigned to call by a get-out-the-vote organization. In those conversations, we can help Georgia voters make a plan to vote. We can help those in Georgia find their polling location — whether it’s on a college campus or city hall. Ultimately studies show if people have a concrete plan to vote, they are more likely to follow through — and that’s something we can all help cultivate. 

At the end of the day, this election will be all about increasing turnout. Taking thirty minutes or an hour out of your day today to reach Georgia voters could make all the difference. As the results from the 2022 midterm elections indicate, it’s clear that every vote matters — and all of us have the power to turn out Georgians.

This will be a race not only for your and my generations — but for every generation to come. Let’s do our part and help re-elect Raphael Warnock.

Victor is a Gen Z activist and a junior at UCLA. He co-hosts the iGen Politics Podcast with Jill Wine-Banks and serves as strategy director of Voters of Tomorrow.