With the results of the 2020 Presidential Election now clearly indicating a Trump loss, the hopeful end of an era of American politics that has destroyed the country has finally arrived.
The American people have voted and the atrocious policies and court appointments the Trump administration has facilitated and legislated that have impacted the lives of millions are over.
But with Democrats under-performing in both Senate and House elections, the effectiveness of eroding Trump’s legacy that the soon-to-be Biden administration has tasked itself with doing is now in the hands of two Senate seats that happen to be here in Georgia.
The runoff Senatorial election in January is a result of both Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff failing to receive over 50% of the vote against their respective opponents, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
If both seats are won, the Biden administration would have a slight majority in the Senate, with the tie-breaker being Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. This will allow Democrats to accomplish legislation that has been held back for at least four years, due to a Republican-controlled White House and a majority in the Senate.
So, with the possibility of a Democratic Executive and Legislative control of the federal government all being decided by Georgia voters, now is a better time than ever to focus on what candidates stand for. Specifically, what Jon Ossoff stands for.
Who is Jon Ossoff?
Ossoff, 33, was born in Atlanta, where he attended the Paideia School, an upscale private school in Atlanta. He initially entered politics, working for 2006 Congressional candidate Hank Johnson. After Johnson’s victory, Ossoff became a legislative aid to Congressman Johnson’s office.
Ossoff had a prestigious education, attending Georgetown University and the London School of Economics. Afterward, he pursued a career at a filmmaking firm that specialized in investigative journalism and documentaries. According to the AJC, Ossoff has amassed over $1 million in assets, ranging from stock in Apple to holdings in his U.K.-based film company.
He officially came into the Georgia spotlight when he placed his bid in the 2017 Georgia Sixth Congressional district special election. Ossoff broke fundraising records, having run the most expensive House race in history, and attained the full backing of the Democratic party apparatus. He was seen as one of the rising stars of the next generation of the party. Although having both the institutional and financial support to seemingly win the race, Ossoff lost to Republican Karen Handel by 3.6%.
The 2020 Senatorial Election
In 2020, in hopes of becoming the next senator of Georgia, Ossoff ran against incumbent Senator David Purdue, who was recently caught in a scandal allegedly buying stock in a medical equipment company after Senators received classified information relating to COVID-19.
Purdue ended up getting only 49.7% of the vote, triggering an automatic run-off, compared to Ossoff’s 48%. It’s arguable that Ossoff got lucky, as incumbents typically have a more favorable chance of winning. The failure of Perdue to muster the extra .3% to win the election now allows Ossoff a second chance to come back and prove himself to Georgians that he is the candidate to elect.
What is He Running On?
Ossoff is running on a campaign that “ensure[s] every Georgian has great health care, to deliver historic investments in clean energy and infrastructure, to rebuild this economy so working families and small businesses thrive, and to root out corruption [in] government.”
From the looks of it, it would seem Ossoff is a progressive candidate who will go to Washington D.C. to fight against corruption and pass legislation that will align with the desires of many Americans, like free healthcare and the abolishment of our destructive and broken immigration laws.
But after a recent interview with Axios, progressives are now starting to reconsider and evaluate what Jon Ossoff even stands for. A damning clip from the interview is a 58-second encapsulation of why he just may be on track to lose this election.
“Do you support the Green New Deal?”
“No,” Ossoff answered.
“Do you support Medicare for all?”
“No,” he answered again.
“Do you support abolishing I.C.E?”
“Do you support expanding the Supreme Court?”
So this leads me to the question: what does Jon Ossoff actually support?
Ossoff is running as this young visionary who will somehow change Washington for the better, but he supports not a single progressive policy that will make this country better for Americans. But instead of substantive and thought out statements that address the needs of this country, we get meaningless platitudes that might make your heart warm-up for a couple of seconds and a cutesy Southern accent that sounds straight out of a McKinsey and Company lab.
Awesome! You’re for environmental protections, but what specific industries and policies do you see that need to be regulated and legislated against to protect our environment? What jobs do you seek to create that will provide new and better opportunities for workers who are affected by these regulations?
Great! You’re for strengthening the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, but what about the millions of Americans who don’t qualify for either and are left to the whim of greedy healthcare and pharmaceutical companies looking to increase profits for the next quarter? If healthcare is a human right, why shouldn’t all Americans have it free-of-charge, like every other country comparable to us has?
The two most absurd positions he refused to take are the extension of the courts and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ossoff claims to be for Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, but with the recent addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, adding to the courts is the only way to guarantee the possibility of the ruling never being overturned.
Ossoff’s Position on I.C.E. is Blood-Boiling
I.C.E., a facilitator of pain and suffering for thousands of immigrant children and parents has no reason to be defended either. This is perhaps the most absurd position Ossoff made. Children have been separated from their parents and reportedly been abused and harmed under the Trump administration. Their heinous acts and ability to misuse their power to abuse and manipulate the most vulnerable of our population should receive immediate condemnation from any “progressive.” The allowance of an institution such as I.C.E to exist is blood-boiling and makes many progressives reconsider even supporting Ossoff.
It seems as though Ossoff is another centrist-neoliberal who wants to be a “bipartisan politician” who “works across party lines,” even if that party literally elected a fascist wannabe four years ago. It’s not very clear where aspiring politicians get the whole “bipartisan centrist” position from but what is clear is that it’s old and doesn’t work. Granted, he is running in what is historically a Republican state and this rhetoric is somewhat necessary. However, there are methods in which he can reach out to less progressive voters that doesn’t totally alienate the further left wing of the party.
Bipartisan, to many Americans, means the support of endless war in the Middle East, the expansion of Executive powers used to spy on Americans, and the bailing out of banks and institutions that have stolen and cheated from the American people.
But We NEED Ossoff to Make any Sort of Change (sigh)
Although Ossoff is a politician who holds many questionable policy beliefs, he is undoubtedly eons better than the alternative, David Perdue. I know we’re all sick of the “lesser of two evil” voting. It’s pathetic that our options are constantly narrowed down to people who want little to do with the actual policies that will make the lives of millions so much less miserable.
Real change is due in America and has been for years now and it is clear Jon Ossoff is not that change. What is clear though is that he will prohibit the GOP from instilling their treacherous and harmful policies that will chip away any possibilities of progress in our country.
Lackluster somewhat-affordable Medicare for some Americans is better than no Medicare at all. It’s an important point for progressives to understand. Not engaging in electoralism has devastating effects that will hold the movement back profoundly.
Plus, Ossoff isn’t all negative. He supports a much-needed COVID relief bill that will save millions of Americans whose lives have unfairly been decimated due to the mishandling of the pandemic. He also does support D.C. and Puerto Rican statehood, which will definitely allow the emergence of opportunity for progressive Congressional seats in both the House and Senate.
No, Ossoff himself may not be very useful for progressives. And yes, the constant idolization of him (or any other politician for that matter) is completely unjustified and unwarranted. But taking away a Senate seat from a Republican and Trump sycophant certainly will be useful, which is why January 5 should be marked on all of our calendars.