To be quite honest, it's not looking good for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams at this point. Georgia law requires a runoff in early December even if one candidate gets a majority of the vote (greater than 50%), but the margin between the two candidates is less than or equal to 1 percent. Right now, her opponent, Cheating Brian Kemp, has a 1.5% margin of victory. Counties are required to submit their final vote tallies to the state by Tuesday, and the Abrams' campaign has done an impressive job of finding mail-in votes and provisional ballots not yet counted, but even if she does force a runoff, it still doesn't look good for her.
First of all, her success was largely due to registering and motivating a bunch of first-time voters. It's one thing to get first-time voters to turn out once, but it's much harder to get them to turn out twice. Seasoned, old-time voters (i.e., conservatives) can more readily be counted on to vote in a runoff election. Second, even though Brian Kemp has finally stepped down as the Secretary of State overseeing his own election, his replacement is still a Republican selected by a Republican governor, and should be expected to do everything he can to keep his thumb on the scale and tip a runoff election toward the right's favor.
Here's our unpopular political opinion - while we would like to see Stacey Abrams as Governor of Georgia and will gladly turn out a second time for a second election, it really doesn't matter who wins or loses. We don't mean that in any existential sense, but the realpolitiks of Georgia has the Governor - any Governor, Democrat or Republican - at the mercy of the state's powerful business interests.
Governors by definition have to be more pragmatic than Washington politicians. They have to balance budgets and they can't print their own currency or generate new capital if they fall short on funds. They have to match services to taxes and vice versa and they have to listen to ideas from both sides of the aisle and reach compromises with the left and the right to get anything done.
What's more, Georgia has got to be one of the most mercantile states in the country and make no mistake about it, this state is not a non-profit organization. After taking the oath of office, any new Governor here can expect a visit within a day or two by the powerful Atlanta and Buckhead business interests reminding them not to mess up a good thing. This state relies on the convention and hospitality businesses, on Super Bowls and NCAA Tournaments, on annual conferences and stockholder meetings filling the Convention Center and the downtown hotels. Georgia enjoys a burgeoning film industry and relies on manufacturers to choose Georgia ports over those in adjacent states. As much as a right-wing zealot might want to bring back the Confederate flag or pass some tough, new gay-discrimination measure here, anything that might cause a public outcry or embarrass the state and cause sports officials to relocate their games elsewhere or businesses to choose another state for their new HQ will not be tolerated by the powerful Chamber of Commerce and other business interests. They'll tolerate a certain amount of immigrant bashing (immigrants don't book the World Congress Center or the Mercedes Benz Stadium) and a certain amount of restrictions on abortion rights as long as they're not the most extreme in the country, but they don't want to be embarrassed, they don't want bad press, and they don't want anyone cancelling reservations.
The business interests won't allow a Governor to screw this state up. Try as he or she might, they literally can't mess it up.
Even if they're as dumb as Cheating Brian Kemp.
But moving on, today, as you probably know, is Veterans' Day as well as the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I, the "war to end all wars" (how'd that work out?). In commemoration of the day, we share a video of our favorite First World War song, And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda as sung by the inimitable Shane McGowan of The Pogues.