the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Keegan Bankoff ’22 and Ben Mihailovich ’22
Image Credit: georgia.gov/Georgia's State Capitol in Downtown Atlanta
Several weeks ago, the United States Capitol was under attack by an angry mob of pro-Trump extremists. On that same day, Jan. 6, while Confederate flags and shirts that read 6MWE (6 Million Wasn’t Enough) were making their way through a sacred symbol of American democracy, an African-American and a Jewish man were elected to the senate. These newly appointed Senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, will bring very unique traits to the Senate Chamber.
Raphael Warnock joins a small number of African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Senate. Warnock is not only the first Black man elected to the Senate from Georgia but also joins Ossoff as the first-elected Democrats from the state in more than two decades. He will take incumbent Republican and former Wall-Streeter Kelly Loeffler’s seat. Warnock is a well-known advocate for civil and voting rights — in 2017, he was named the chair of the New Georgia Project, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping to register and engage Georgians to vote where he helped register nearly 400,000 new voters. As the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Warnock had ties to Martin Luther King Jr. and former House Rep. John Lewis. However, Warnock did not have an easy run — Loeffler and the Republican Party attacked him about his ties to activism and rhetoric as a pastor. In what seems to be a farfetched statement, Loeffler also accused Warnock of inviting Communist leader Fidel Castro to a church where he served in the 1990s. This allegation backfired, with attacks prompting a backlash from other Black church leaders, and certainly raising support for Warnock around the country.
Ossoff’s win makes him the youngest current Senator, replacing Missouri Republican Josh Hawley. In fact, Ossoff is the youngest Senator to be elected since Joe Biden was sworn into the Senate in 1979. Ossoff defeated incumbent David Perdue by a margin of just under 55,000 votes. Ossoff was not afraid to go after David Perdue — in their first debate, Ossoff attacked Perdue for being “a coward.” Perdue then proceeded to not show up for their second debate, fueling numerous ads put out by Ossoff’s team claiming that Perdue hides behind the gates of his house and doesn't care about the people of Georgia. While Ossoff’s good friend Warnock won his election at approximately 2 a.m. EST the night of the runoffs, Ossoff had to wait until the next day for his race to be called. His crucial win was announced the next afternoon while rioters were storming the US Capitol. Ossoff’s win will likely spark a long and illustrious career in the Senate with potentially higher roles.
The outcome of these runoff elections has the potential to have implications on the markets, especially in the stock department. The markets seem to have mixed feelings about the Democrat-controlled Senate — the Dow Jones has gone up, while NASDAQ has gone down. According to The New York Times, analysts at the highly-touted firm Goldman Sachs have predicted a “Democratic Senate majority [would] allow for greater fiscal policy changes,” perhaps followed by a “limited amount of tax increases.” Old-economy stocks in the Dow would benefit from the Democrats’ proposed larger stimulus package, but tech stocks have the potential to be hurt by higher corporate taxes. However, since the Democrats rely on the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris (who now serves as President of the Senate), any outcome seems to be possible at the moment.
With the outcomes of the election confirmed, Ossoff and Warnock’s victories will thrust the Democratic Party into the Senate majority, where Chuck Schumer of New York will replace Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as majority leader. Schumer will now control what legislation is given priority and what proposals are halted, something very important for the success of Biden’s presidency.