Georgians, because they voted last, decided the fate of the Senate majority Tuesday night in what appears to be a close but not razor-thin victory for Democrats. With more than 98 percent of the vote in, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are on track to defeat both Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Warnock’s victory has already been called, and if Ossoff’s lead holds, the Senate will be a 50-50 split with Kamala D. Harris there to cast tie-breaking votes as vice president.

The exit polls showed both Democrats won handily. Ossoff won women, 54 percent to 46 percent; Warnock by a 53-to-47 margin. Women made up 54 percent of the electorate. Perdue and Loeffler won by the same margin among men. Democrats once more showed that they are the party of female voters, even when a Republican woman is on the ballot. Democrats dominated among Black voters, winning more than 90 percent of this share of the electorate, which was 29 percent of the total. They won Hispanics by a roughly 2-to-1 margin and about 6 in 10 Asian Americans (who have grown in size and now constitute a critical voting bloc).

Turnout was the highest for any Georgia election, except the 2020 general. The early vote was overwhelming, a sign that Democrats remained highly motivated. Specifically in rural, mostly Black counties, both Democrats beat President-elect Joe Biden’s margins, and turnout was nearly at general-election levels, almost unheard of in a runoff. Throughout the state, Republican turnout numbers lagged behind Democrats’, who nearly matched their general-election numbers. Maybe all the talk of trying to disenfranchise Blacks was a motivator. It would be cosmic justice if that were the difference between a GOP and Democratic Senate majority.

Once more, Democrats must profusely thank activist Stacey Abrams, who has mobilized more Democratic voters in Georgia than either party thought possible. Through her New Georgia Project and then her Fair Fight organization, she reached, registered, organized and turned out so-called irregular voters, mostly nonwhite, young and poor. She put in six years of work to shift the electorate in a way that allowed solid Democratic candidates to capitalize on the transformed electorate. She is a model for every other swing state or potential swing state.

But one cannot avoid giving credit where credit is due: President Trump, in his ongoing temper tantrum and attempts to delegitimize the vote, might have sufficiently depressed turnout to hand Democrats a win. That is what Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, told ABC News:

He was not alone:

The impact of a 50-50 split in the Senate on the Biden administration cannot be overestimated. If Ossoff is declared the winner, Biden should at least get up-or-down votes on every executive and judiciary branch nominee. He can construct a reconciliation package (without the required 60 votes) that includes much of his “Build Back Better” agenda. It is even possible to envision an up-or-down vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as well. (Will Republicans have the nerve to filibuster?) It would be an appropriate tribute to the late Georgia representative.

It remains to be seen whether the Senate’s “Dirty Baker’s Dozen” — Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), James Lankford (Okla.), Cynthia M. Lummis (Wyo.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (Ga.) — goes through with its pathetic attempt to override the will of the American people. It was just last Saturday that Trump was caught on tape essentially extorting Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” exactly enough votes to throw the state his way. (You do wonder if that offended just enough Georgia voters to tip the election against Perdue and Loeffler.)

The potential humiliating outcome in Georgia should remind Republicans that enabling Trump for four years and refusing to remove him when he plainly had committed impeachable acts did them no good. They lost the White House and, apparently, the Senate. The internal divide between the authoritarian coup plotters and the Republicans suddenly able to see evidence of Trump’s mendacity and defy him to uphold their oaths continues to widen. Trump likely will blame Republicans for not winning in Georgia and not stealing the election for him. Republicans hoping to construct a viable, non-seditious party will, with a great deal of merit, blame Trump for their defeats. The post-Trump civil war within the GOP will be something to behold.

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