Beyond DC partisanship, Warnock makes a big speech in Ga.


On Capitol Hill, Senator Raphael Warnock criticizes Republican pressure for stricter voting rules under the name “Jim Crow in New Clothes”, while his campaign operation explodes emails lamenting serious risks to the democracy.

SMYRNA, Ga (AP) – On Capitol Hill, Senator Raphael Warnock slams Republican pressure for tougher voting rules under the name ‘Jim Crow in New Clothes’, as his campaign operation blows up emails lamenting serious risks for democracy.

Back home, Georgia’s first black senator is more subtle, presenting an “infrastructure overview” and avoiding talking about his re-election struggle which is already looming just months after winning a run-off election. January specials with Senate control in play.

“I’m busy being Georgia’s Senator in the United States,” Warnock said, smiling, as he recently dismissed a question about famous football hero Herschel Walker potentially running for his Republican seat.

Indeed, the preacher-turned-politician spent the Independence Day recess playing hopscotch from an inland harbor from the conservative Appalachian foothills to liberal urban Atlanta microbreweries and the sprawling public hospital, then to the suburban defense contractors in between. At each stop, he pointed out the federal money he has funneled – or is trying to get – to his state for health care, national security research, rural broadband, and urban trails, among others. projects.

“As Georgians, we should be proud of everything that happens in the state,” Warnock told the Georgia Tech Research Institute, encouraging ongoing projects and pleading for more federal spending. “I had an idea before I became a senator. But what I have been able to see with my own eyes is impressive.

The high-flying act will test whether Warnock, who runs for his first full term in the Senate next year, can once again build a diverse and philosophically divided coalition that tipped Georgia over to Democrats in 2020. He is still the first A prominent student whose election gave the Democrats unified control in Washington, but now he seeks to be seen as a “Senator for All Georgians” delivering for the state with painstaking legislative work.

The approach is in part necessary given Georgia’s toss-up status: Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff, also a freshman, each won their seats by less than 100,000 out of 4.5 million votes. ballots; Democrat Joe Biden dominated Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election by less than 13,000 out of 5 million votes last November.

Warnock is betting he can be a shameless supporter of the Democrats’ agenda, including on election laws, while proving to Georgians beyond the grassroots left that he is a clear advantage to them. In November 2022, that would mean sustaining enthusiasm among the diverse Democratic base in metropolitan areas and black voters in the pockets of the countryside and small towns, while again attracting enough white suburban voters, especially women. , who moved away from Republicans in the Trump era. .

The honorable senator does not disclose such a blatant electoral strategy. His office declined a one-on-one interview with Warnock to discuss his tenure and his case for a full six-year term. Yet his public maneuvers shed light on a privileged path to re-election.

“Georgia is such an asset to our national security infrastructure,” Warnock said at the Georgia Tech outpost adjacent to Dobbins Air Force Base. He praised researchers in the public and private sectors who develop technology for the Pentagon, US intelligence and other agencies, saying they “keep our national defense strong and protect our military.”

He suspended the installation as a beneficiary of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $ 250 billion package that cleared the Senate in a rare bipartisan vote, 68-32, eight more than the threshold of systematic obstruction of 60 votes which delayed the plans of the Democrats on electoral law and infrastructures.

As Warnock visited the Appalachian Regional Port, an inland container port in northern Georgia, he highlighted the RURAL bill, which he co-sponsors with Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana. This would speed up the modernization of rural level crossings. Subsequently, the Warnock office announced a grant of $ 47 million for the expansion of the port. The surrounding Murray County handed 84% of its presidential vote to Trump last November. Warnock only gained 18% on January 5.

In Atlanta, where Warnock resides and still serves as senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which Martin Luther King Jr. once led, the senator has aligned himself more directly with Democrats’ priorities. Yet even then Warnock was deliberate when discussing Republicans.

“It’s ridiculous that we didn’t expand Medicaid,” he said outside Grady Memorial Hospital, a large public complex in downtown Atlanta. He noted that Georgia, still ruled by Republicans at the state level, remains one of twelve states not to expand eligibility as part of the Congressional Medicare overhaul in 2010.

Warnock accused state politicians of “playing games,” although he never mentioned Governor Brian Kemp by name. Warnock said he would soon introduce a measure to cover citizens of states without expansion. This fits with one of Biden’s main presidential campaign commitments.

The senator then stood along the Atlanta Beltline, a former railway line that had been redeveloped into a pedestrian and cycle artery around the city’s perimeter. He touted a federal investment of $ 5 million, touting it as an example of Democrats’ broad interpretation of infrastructure and hinting at the GOP’s narrower definition of “physical infrastructure.”

“America needs a home improvement plan,” Warnock said.

He endorsed a pending bipartisan infrastructure deal negotiated at Biden’s White House, but said Democrats should use Senate rules to pass an even bigger package against Republicans’ objections in the 50-50 House.

Granted, even with an emphasis on infrastructure, Warnock didn’t hesitate to debate voting rights when asked. On infrastructure, Warnock said Democrats should use Senate rules – or rewrite them, in the case of filibuster – to counter the tide of Republican state laws tightening access to absentees and the early voting.

Yet in all of these arguments, Warnock tried to present his case as something beyond the game.

“I am making an argument of economic viability and employment,” he said of the expansion of Medicaid. “Once you have basic health care you can work and with a kind of freedom you can work knowing that you are covered. He added that “rural hospitals are closing” under the financial pressure of treating uninsured and underinsured people.

Warnock extended this analysis to rural broadband and the urban seatbelt. Both, he said, connect people to the economic opportunities around them. Housing and child care, he argued, are “basic infrastructure” for the same reasons.

On voting rights, Warnock stood alongside his co-sponsorship of the radical Democrat overhaul that Republicans blocked. But it has also opened the door to a Senate compromise, on condition that it strengthens the 1965 Voting Rights Act and sets a national “baseline” for absentees and early voting. Rather than attacking only the current GOP opposition, however, he noted that in 2006, the last time the Senate voted to extend the Voting Rights Act, the House did so by a 98-0 vote. This, Warnock insisted, means the Democrats’ push should not be seen as just partisan.

For Republicans, Warnock remains among the top Democratic targets in 2022. GOP campaign aides in the Senate in Washington maintain his electoral record lags most Georgian voters, especially in a mid-term year, this which historically means a whiter and more conservative electorate than in presidential years.

Yet many GOP heavyweights in Georgia reluctantly offer compliments on the way Warnock handles battlefield politics.

“I don’t think Warnock or Ossoff did or said anything stupid,” former US Rep Jack Kingston said, comparing the pair favorably to House progressives like New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. . “It’s not like they’ve gone out and become ‘The Squad’ or anything like that.”

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