Though Democrats like presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have claimed that last week’s elections gave their party a “mandate” for the country, the shellacking Democrats took in House races tells a far different story:

In Senate races, Republicans so far have mostly held the line. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis was declared the winner Tuesday in his reelection fight, and Alaska’s Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan was projected to be the winner of his race earlier today by Decision Desk HQ.

With those two wins added to the count, that gives Republicans a 50-48 advantage in the battle for who controls the Senate. That will leave the two Georgia Senate runoff races on Jan. 5th left to determine party control. Should incumbent Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue win, Republicans would have a 52-48 advantage.

If they don’t and the Senate ends up being tied at 50-50, it would fall to the vice president to break the tie. Assuming that happens and assuming for purposes of discussion that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are certified next month as the winners of the presidential election, that would mean Harris would get to cast the tie-breaking vote for Democrats.

So the stakes are obviously pretty high here for both parties.

While Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has already made one big mistake for his party by declaring during a Saturday “victory” party that “Now we take Georgia, then we change America!”, an even bigger issue Democrats will have to deal with in the Georgia Senate runoffs is their support for defund the police efforts.

As we previously reported, during a House Democrat caucus call last week, several Democrats on the call said being tied to the defund the police movement hurt their party on Election Day.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) was one of the more vocal members who sounded the alarm bells for Democrats on their “defund the police” rhetoric:

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) has been even more outspoken in discussing how the anti-police rhetoric coming from Democrats helped Republicans do better at the ballot box. During a recent Axios interview, he said in no uncertain terms that the “phrase ‘defund the police’ cost [SC Democratic Senate nominee] Jaime Harrison tremendously” in his Senate race against Sen. Lindsey Graham. Watch:

He also talked to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday about other races where tying Democrats to defunding the police cost them seats:

“Well, I don’t know about all the seats. I’ve talked to the people down in South Florida. They told me that that really, really was a problem down there, but I can tell you about the 1st congressional district of South Carolina. I really believe that that’s what cost Joe Cunningham his seat, and I can also tell you about the Senate here in South Carolina,” Clyburn said.

Both the Democratic candidates in the Georgia Senate runoffs have given Republicans ammunition on this front. Back in June, Sen. David Perdue’s Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff said funding for police departments should be “on the line.” Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s Democratic opponent Rev. Raphael Warnock has denigrated police officers in past sermons. Watch:

Failed 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has been praised by the media and her fellow Democrats for her voter registration and GOTV efforts in the state, is helping both Warnock and Ossoff fundraise for their respective races. During a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Abrams declined to criticize the defund the police movement when asked about Clyburn’s comments. Watch:

And although the Schumer comments have already been used by Senate Republicans to shore up their base voters in Georgia, tying both Ossoff and Warnock to attempts to defund the police has the potential to persuade a larger cross-section of voters who in the past may not have considered voting for Republicans.

Here’s why: A comprehensive survey that was done by Gallup over the summer showed that black Americans and Hispanic Americans alike overwhelmingly supported either maintaining police presence in local neighborhoods or increasing it:

Trump and Republicans gained ground with black and Hispanic voters on Election Day, as even Democrats are admitting. Presumably, the Republicans’ emphasis on law and order over the last few months played a role in that.

Don’t be too surprised between now and the Jan. 5th Georgia Senate runoffs to see Republicans hammer home the stark contrast between their party and Democrats when it comes to supporting the police and maintaining law and order. It might just end up providing the GOP with the clear and decisive Senate election victories they seek.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter.

 

 
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