Dem candidate in GA runoff on court-packing: "E Pluribus Unum," or something

“E Pluribus Unum”? Either Rev. Raphael Warnock wants the Supreme Court reduced from “many” to one, or he’s tossing around a bizarre non-sequitur to avoid the question of court-packing. In fact, the Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler in one of two runoffs in Georgia for its US Senate seats ducks the question twice in this interview:

Just a few hours later, Loeffler pounced, as Republicans are wont to do in media coverage of Democrats’ gaffes:

Amusingly, CNN followed up on this dodge today by claiming that Democrats learned their lesson over radical messaging:

The Democratic Party is quickly mobilizing voters for two US Senate races in Georgia, applying the lessons learned from an unexpectedly poor showing in down-ballot races across the country to the contests that will determine whether Democrats control both chambers of Congress next year.

After losing seats in the House and falling short in several key Senate races, Democrats realized that their pandemic-induced shift to digital and television outreach had left behind potential voters. They also saw that Republicans had succeeded in tying Democratic candidates to far-left proposals and slogans like “defund the police.”

But Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have narrowly tailored their message to addressing the health care and economic crises, and Democrats plan to expand their field operation in the Peach State. …

Democrats performed better in Georgia congressional races than in other states President Donald Trump won in 2016. President-elect Joe Biden leads Trump in the state, the best showing for a Democrat since 1992. Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux flipped a House seat northeast of Atlanta, while Georgia Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath won reelection for her suburban seat by a greater margin than two years ago. And Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are both expected to miss the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff, pitting them against Ossoff and Warnock in runoff elections on January 5.

If Warnock isn’t distancing himself from the court-packing demands of the Left, then neither he nor the Democrats have learned anything from last week. A dodge on this question, especially in a relatively friendly interview like this, looks suspicious and dishonest. And with control of the Senate at stake in a Democratic administration, it’s going to look really suspicious to voters who might not have liked Donald Trump but certainly didn’t go all in with Democrats either.

And that really describes Georgia voters, particularly in the two Senate races. The numbers have changed somewhat since my analysis last week of the runoffs, but the trends haven’t. As of this afternoon, Jon Ossoff received 100,004 fewer votes than Joe Biden in the regular election against incumbent David Perdue, who received a few hundred votes more than Donald Trump. In the special election for Loeffler’s seat, Republicans combined for 2.381 million votes, 76,000 fewer than Trump or Perdue. Democrats combined for 2.373 million votes in that race, 96,000 fewer than Biden got.

Without Trump at the top of the ticket and with control of the Senate in play, the turnout in Georgia may rely entirely on whether Democrats can keep from sounding crazy. They have to overcome a trend in Georgia that still favors Republicans down ballot, even if the state rejected Trump in the top spot. So far, Warnock’s failing that test, even if CNN wants to ignore it.

Update: I have corrected Warnock’s first name to “Raphael.”