One thing we learned on Tuesday is that Democrats no longer believe, if indeed they ever did, that there is anything wrong with knocking on doors in the middle of what we are told is the most serious public health emergency of our lifetimes. Over and over again during the presidential election we were told by establishment Democrats that it was simply not worth the risk. Stacey Abrams knew better. In 2020, grassroots turnout groups were responsible for 800,000 new voter registrations, many times Joe Biden’s eventual margin of victory in the state; in the two months that followed the same organizations carried out one of the farthest reaching and most effective physical canvassing operations in recent American history.
Meanwhile, there is every reason to believe that we are seeing the end of a half decade of Republican control of the Senate. Even if it did survive, its ability to frustrate Biden’s governing agenda would be limited. A single defection or absence would send a vote to Kamala Harris to break the tie. No matter what happens, Biden is likely to be able to appoint a Cabinet of his choosing and even to nominate a replacement if Stephen Breyer chooses to retire from the Supreme Court.
A victory for Ossoff gives the Democrats a de facto if exceedingly thin majority. Statehood for Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico would be on the table, which would in turn give Democrats control of the upper chamber for the foreseeable future. The filibuster would also likely be abolished. Ideological outliers like Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, and Susan Collins, the Maine Republican, would become kingmakers. The best hope for Republicans is a last-minute reversal of fortune for Perdue and four years of divided government with a Democrat in the White House, a split Congress, and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.