The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The victory in Georgia’s 6th is a yuge win for Trump

Republican Karen Handel, won the seat of former congressman Tom Price in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on June 20 defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff. (Video: Amber Ferguson/The Washington Post)

The buzz in Washington surrounding the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District was all bad for the last couple of weeks. People had been bad-mouthing the Republican candidate, Karen Handel, they had been insulting the Republican National Committee’s competence and they had been dismissing any notion that Republicans could pull through to defeat the energized “resistance.” But the ashen, sour and dejected faces on CNN Tuesday night following Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff’s defeat made the last 10 days of Republicans’ worry and anxiety worthwhile. By any measure, the victory proves the Republican political machine is alive and working well.

Heading into Tuesday, Democrats were prepared to bask in their self-righteous glory and proclaim an outright victory in the wake of President Trump’s political decline. They wanted to claim a successful referendum on the Trump administration and the president’s “America First” policies. But with Handel comfortably pulling through to claim her seat, Democrats are left with nothing to show for their tens of millions of dollars and full-court press.

If anything, this race proves Republicans have no reason to be defensive as a result of Obamacare’s demise, it shows Republicans have nothing to hide from in the age of Trump and it signifies that nothing about the current faux-scandal-ridden environment has produced a downdraft for Republicans.

Democrats thought they were going to walk away from Tuesday’s race victorious, but they have yet to produce a viable person-to-person message for their candidates to work with. They still don’t have an economic message for voters who want something more than the liberal call for more welfare, and they have no legitimate response to the national call for a shift away from the status quo.

The left poured tens of millions of dollars into this race, making it the most expensive House race in history. But many of those contributions came from outside groups, Hollywood elites and liberal benefactors who have never once visited Georgia’s 6th. And perhaps that reality is fitting. After all, Ossoff did not reside in the district he ran to represent and he epitomized the synthetic, millennial Democrat who, despite loud campaigning, really does not have much to say.

For her part, Handel did a good job holding her own in a race that could be best described as having spiraled out of control. She was focused, argued for Republican policies and maintained a level head despite the unprecedented onslaught of attacks from liberal groups. Democrats’ attempts to conflate Handel with Trump failed to make a difference in Tuesday’s election.

The RNC also deserves a great deal of credit following the victory. It targeted Republican voters, got out the vote and made clear that Republicans are just as strong today as when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November last year.

Democratic pundits will try to distract from the devastating loss they experienced Tuesday, but there is no hiding the fact that the race for Georgia’s 6th failed to show much backlash against Trump among the affluent suburbanites who liberals too often assume are moving their way. Tuesday was a yuge win for Trump. They may not admit it to pollsters, but a lot of people are pulling for the president. And they are pulling for Republicans.

Following their devastating defeat in Georgia, Democrats must ask themselves whether House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has a place in their leadership. Clinton is gone and Pelosi should step aside to make room for someone younger. But it won’t be Jon Ossoff.