Today’s special election in Georgia carries enormous weight. It could reaffirm the GOP’s reckless quest to rip healthcare from millions should its candidate come out on top. Alternatively, it could scare Republicans out of supporting the unpopular American Healthcare Act and encourage them to turn on Trump should the Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, win.
Trump’s record-breaking disapproval ratings are already leading lawmakers to distance themselves from active participation within the administration. A defeat in Georgia’s 6th District – which has historically voted very conservatively – could result in legislators stepping away from the Trump agenda en masse if it means safeguarding their reelection prospects.
The GOP has been struggling with its image in the Trump era, and this could impact the party’s electoral viability in the long-run. From Greg Gianforte’s violent assault on a journalist, to Trump’s blatant falsehoods, cover-ups, and nepotism, Republicans are steeped in violence and strong-man tactics ill-suited for a Western democracy.
Karen Handel – the Republican in today’s race – does the party no favors. She holds a radical anti-LGBTQ viewpoint that is completely out of step with the times.
In 2010, Handel got into a testy exchange with a reporter regarding her belief that same-sex couples should not be afforded marriage equality and adoption rights. Journalist Doug Richards of Georgia’s 11 Alive asked Handel “I guess I want to know why you think gay parents aren’t as legitimate as heterosexual parents,” to which the then gubernatorial candidate Handel responded, “because I don’t.”
This antiquated and bigoted belief system reared its head again this past week, when Handel told a reporter that same-sex couples adopting is not in “the best interest of the child.” Approached by a concerned lesbian mother after this exchange, Handel offered an artless dodge, belying her prevailing belief that LGBTQ couples do not deserve equal protection under the law.
When will the GOP catch up?