As goes Georgia, so goes the Senate.
Yes, there are squishy votes in the middle. The Democrats might be able to pick off RINOs such as Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, or the Republicans could get Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
By and large, however, a 50-50 deadlock with two Democratic wins in the Jan. 5 runoffs in Georgia would mean — barring a long-shot legal victory by President Donald Trump — that Vice President Kamala Harris would be casting the tie-breaking vote.
This could have wide-reaching implications, particularly if the Democrats do away with the filibuster.
One implication that has Georgia’s lawmen concerned is what the Democrats might do in terms of police funding — or defunding — at the federal level.
At a news conference Tuesday, several sheriffs expressed grave concern over what Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff would do if they were elected as the next two U.S. senators from Georgia, beating incumbent GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
The move came ahead of a rally for Warnock and Ossoff featuring Joe Biden in Atlanta.
“Biden recently urged Democrats to not talk about defunding the police until after the January runoffs, knowing Warnock’s despicable comments about law enforcement and Ossoff’s threats to police funding are out-of-touch with Georgia voters,” the Georgia Republican Party said in an email.
Three Georgia sheriffs appeared at the news conference to warn that while the talk about defunding the police might get put on the back burner until after Jan. 5, Warnock’s remarks and Ossoff’s threats to cut police funding remain.
Will the GOP win the Georgia runoffs?
90% (28 Votes)
10% (3 Votes)
“All we have heard for months from the Democrat Party is ‘defund the police.’ I understand Joe Biden is talking the other way now not wanting to talk about ‘defunding the police’ until after this election. But that doesn’t change anything,” Sheriff Butch Conway of Gwinett County said.
“You’ve got Reverend Warnock who doesn’t respect police. He’s called us ‘thugs.’ I take that as a personal affront because I don’t know any thug police officers.”
But wait — FactCheck.org wants you to know that Warnock only called some very specific police officers thugs!
“In that case, he was addressing the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” the fact-checking site states.
Oh, you mean the police officer who wasn’t charged with a crime because Brown, while resisting arrest, reached for the officer’s gun? That thug police officer? I’m glad we’ve clarified.
By the way, that “fact-check” glides over the fact that what Warnock actually said, in a 2015 sermon given in the wake of the shooting, was that some officers had a “gangster and thug mentality,” according to CNN. That’s hardly “addressing the police killing of Michael Brown.”
“It is a sad time to be leaving, when you have Democrat politicians running for Senate who want to defund police,” said Conway, who did not run for re-election this year. “The Jan. 5 vote is the most important vote in my lifetime, and I have been voting since 1974.”
“We have to have more money for police if we want better police. It’s crazy talk to say you want to defund police,” he said.
But again, FactCheck.org would like to have a word with you. In a June 25 SiriusXM interview, Warnock said, “I do not believe that we should defund the police. I do believe that we should responsibly fund law enforcement. We need to reimagine policing and reimagine the relationships between law enforcement and communities. We certainly need to demilitarize the police, so that we can rebuild trust between the police and the community.”
So he wants to “responsibly fund law enforcement” in a way that would “reimagine policing” and “demilitarize the police.” But he definitely doesn’t want to “defund the police.”
And again, Ossoff said the same thing — according to Fox News, he “opposed defunding the police.”
“And quite frankly, it’s a counterproductive and foolish way of characterizing what I think for some folks is a desire to reform the police,” the Democrat added.
However, he has called to “demilitarize” the police and has said that he supports “national standards for use of force, and yeah, you’ve got to be able to hold individual officers and entire departments accountable.” Ossoff also favors a new Civil Rights Act targeting police.
See a pattern?
It’s also worth noting, as the Georgia Republican Party did, that “Ossoff’s liberal Hollywood celebrity supporters have also made it clear that they support defunding or abolishing the police. Debra Messing, Alyssa Milano, and Ava Duvernay have all tweeted or retweeted supportive messages about the Minneapolis City Council’s reckless and lawless decision” to disband their police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Both candidates have raised significant amounts of money from Hollywood, even though the race is several thousand miles away.
Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said that “Ossoff and Warnock want to make it easier for the criminal element. They want to give them the upper hand against what we do every day.”
“Ossoff and Warnock, they don’t want to work hard to make Georgia better. They don’t want to work hard to make our country better. They want to change our country. They want to change the way we live,” he said.
Sheriff Frank Reynolds of Cherokee County said that “99.7 percent of the time we get it right, and when we fall short we’re held accountable. So when I hear rhetoric like defunding law enforcement and public safety, I can’t help but think of what it takes to do our job on a daily basis, the funding that it takes, the training, the education.
“We don’t need to defund law enforcement. We need to fund it more. We need to hire the best.”
That’s not the kind of talk you hear out of Ossoff and Warnock, however.
Rest assured, if at all possible, Congress will eventually get around to police funding and rules of engagement — and it won’t just involve banning chokeholds or mandating more body cams, either.
Law enforcement probably isn’t the most pressing issue on the ballot come Jan. 5. But if the Democrats win, that will make it a lot easier for Biden to do whatever he wishes in that department — and in a lot of other departments, too.
“I need two senators who will get something done, not two senators who will get in the way,” Biden said at the event in Atlanta, according to CBS News.
It’s not just law enforcement officers who need two senators who will get in the way. America needs them, too.
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