Win or lose, Democrats in Georgia have succeeded in doing something that they have not done well in the past. Democrats in Georgia have coalesced around all the Democratic candidates. After the divide caused during the 2016 election, Democrats showed the ugly side of our primary system and still have not recovered.
Primary elections are created to narrow the field of candidates for each party. During a primary election, like minded candidates do everything to distinguish themselves from their opponent. Focusing on what makes them different makes it difficult to play nice after the primary is over.
In recent years, Georgia republicans outwardly seem to do a much better job of healing the wounds after they ruthlessly tear each other apart. It is rare to hear a republican talking about voting for the third-party candidate as a punishment for the choice a majority of the republicans made during a primary election.
However, this year, Democrats hit the mark. The credit can likely be given to several individuals. Primary kudos goes to Stacey Abrams who put on a dynamic campaign from north to south. The organization and energy behind her campaign was hard to ignore. The Abram’s organization created a welcoming band-wagon that invited new participants until the very end. (It is not too late to sign on!)
Some credit likely belongs equally to Trump, Hillary, and Bernie. Two years later and Bernie Bro’s still “boo” Hillary. Hillary supporters still blame Bernie. And Trump is still driving us all to drink – heavily and get heavily involved.
We can also thank President Obama and Oprah Winfrey. As I looked at the photos of the recent campaign events I could see clearly people who lined up squarely behind Abrams’ opponent in the crowd wearing Abrams t-shirts and smiling brightly. The credit goes to those folks too. Mature politicos know primary elections are just that – the first step in a longer battle. People comfortable with politics lose gracefully and then throw their full support behind the winning candidate.
However, this year the maturity level of most leading Democrats was off the charts. Together they canvassed, phone banked, and financially backed the entire Democratic ticket. It is clear, that at least in Georgia, we have learned a lesson from 2016. We can’t afford to hold a grudge when our political system is designed for competition. Somebody must lose!
No matter the outcome of tomorrow’s election, Democrats have won the second level of this political game by supporting all party candidates with a smile. Now the question is, will we win the bonus round by keeping the #BlueWave alive no matter the outcome on Tuesday?