Reelecting Raphael Warnock in 2022 is key to defeating Donald Trump and the GOP in 2024
A last-ditch Republican appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court to block voting this Saturday failed Wednesday, so voters in more than a dozen counties can cast their vote in the runoff between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and MAGA Herschel Walker this weekend and beat the rush. They’ve already started in DeKalb County.
The urgency of returning Warnock to the Senate becomes more clear by the day as House Republicans are promising to surpass already low expectations for acting like responsible adults in charge of one of the most important governing bodies in the world. That makes having an effective Senate—one that has a clear Democratic majority—even more essential.
David Nir has already talked about some of the reasons why Warnock needs to be in the Senate, including the fact that he’s a phenomenal senator and that Black representation in that body is essential—that is Black representation chosen by Black voters. According to exit polls, 90% of Black Georgians cast their vote for Warnock in the general election. But beyond that, there’s the 51 vote majority for Democrats. With a 51-vote majority comes something really important: the ability to issue subpoenas without Republican obstruction.
The power-sharing agreement Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican leader Mitch McConnell struck didn’t specifically address subpoena power, but most committees have to have a majority vote or approval of the top Republican on the committee to issue them. But committee rules can be changed with a majority.
With the work of the Jan. 6 select committee winding down and Trump announcing that he’s running again, it’s going to be important that the Senate has full investigative powers. Since the House is going to be running bogus investigations of Joe Biden, his family, and his administration nonstop, the Senate is going to need to counterbalance that with substantive investigations.
That’s what Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii recently told The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent. “If we’re investigating legitimate issues while they’re fixated on Hunter Biden’s laptop, we’ll be doing our job,” Schatz said. “And we’ll be winning the battle of public opinion.”
That would likely include examinations of Trump’s ongoing efforts to use the presidency for personal profit, including with foreign companies and governments. “Now that we know that it already happened, it’s ongoing and he fully intends to monetize another presidency, that has to be a central theme,” Schatz said. It would serve the public, he said, for the Senate to establish a record of “all the foreign money” Trump took as president.
The Senate might have to take on follow-up tasks from the House Jan. 6 committee as that information stream is still active. It could take on the work of the House Ways and Means Committee, which just got access to Trump’s tax returns via the Supreme Court’s refusal to block it. It should also launch a full-on investigation of the Supreme Court leaks in which Justice Samuel Alito is strongly implicated.
All of that will be controversial with some Democratic senators, who’d rather pretend that Republicans haven’t declared war against them. “A balance has to be struck,” Schatz told Sargent. “We have to be tough. We have to be loud. We have to be pugilistic. But we don’t have to be ridiculous and unfounded and corrupt. That’s what they are.” Nonetheless, he said, “we have an obligation to fully use our subpoena power and our investigative authority.”
But that fight is moot without the 51st vote and the clear majority they would get with a Warnock win.
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