Tags: georgia | election | jon ossoff | karen handel

Ads Show Georgia Election Not a Referendum on Trump Policies

Ads Show Georgia Election Not a Referendum on Trump Policies
President Donald Trump speaks at the NRA-ILA's Leadership Forum at the 146th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 28, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 03 May 2017 12:09 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There is a battle raging in the northern suburbs of Atlanta for the sixth congressional district election to fill the vacated House of Representatives seat of Tom Price. The election between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will be held June 20, 2017.

The election is portrayed by much of the national media as a test of Trump and his policies — a Republican defeat in the district will be a sign that his policies are not popular in America.

One would expect that if it was a showdown about Trump’s policies, the policies would be front and center in the television ads for Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate, but nothing could be further from reality. The pervasive television ads emphasize that Ossoff wants to curb wasteful government spending, end duplication of government programs, and that he is an independent thinker.

Negative ads about Ossoff’s opponent, Republican Karen Handel, attack her wasteful spending, such as considering to buy $15,000 chairs and other similar matters that appear rather minor and perhaps barely true. She only "considered" buying the $15,000 chairs.

So with the massive issues facing the nation: health care, illegal immigration/sanctuary cities/building the wall, improving the economy, dealing with North Korea and Iran, trade agreements, and reform of the tax code, there is little in his media ads about such policies. If the Democrats desire to make this about Trump and his policies, no observer would know it.

Notably, when Trump visited Atlanta on April 28 to speak before the national NRA meeting, he praised Karen Handel and said she supported the Second Amendment. Later, when asked about his views, Ossoff gave "no comment." With a recent national poll showing 95 percent of the 2016 Trump supporters still support him, Ossoff appears unwilling to criticize Republicans on the national issues.

Meanwhile, Republican ads have emphasized that Ossoff is really a Democrat cut out of the same cloth as Nancy Pelosi. Ossoff is too liberal; he does not live in the district; and he will not reflect conservative values if he is sent to Congress. One ad argues Ossoff supports Obamacare. While these ads move a bit closer to the important issues of the day, the ads still do not address many specific issues. The ads represent a broad-brush view.

As a second line of attack to win the seat, Democrats have a concerted effort to mobilize its supporters; however, Ossoff may have maximized his support in the April 18 primary, a free-for-all with Republicans and Democrats on the same ballot, in which he finished with 48 percent. Without somehow increasing his support, he will lose. To increase his support, he is planning more work to get-out-the-vote of immigrants and unsettled citizens of the district. The Democratic mobilization effort is largely grassroots activity, not based on television ads and the large national issues. In a democracy, it is a shabby way to run a campaign — ignoring the issues and hoping to build support from those with little interest in the major issues.

If this sixth district election is not fought in terms of national political issues and trends, perhaps there is still something to be learned from the election. Consider the appeal of a Democratic campaign on national issues: vote for the Democratic candidates — we will preserve sanctuary cities, illegal immigration, and permit illegal immigrants to continue crossing the border.

How is that for a campaign platform? How many votes would the Democratic candidate get advocating releasing illegal immigrants who were being held for serious crimes, possibly including murder? Is this really a campaign that will attract more than fifty percent of the electorate? Perhaps this position would win in San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s district.

Possibly the Democrats would deny they currently favor such policies as the above, but these are precisely the policies they advocated and carried out during Obama’s eight years, and these remain today the position of the dominant faction of the Democratic Party.

Generalizing what was said above, The Washington Post recently did a poll that found 67 percent believed the Democratic Party is out of touch. The national Democrats have a fistful of losing issues and many Americans have seen the result of eight years under Obama of these policies. The extreme liberal policies do not work, and the Democrats still cling to their failed policies and leaders.

This sixth district election in Georgia demonstrates the stealth strategy of the Democratic Party. The strategy is to say little about the major issues and the extreme Democratic views on these issues. Rather it is part of an old playbook: to make the election personal and go negative about the Republicans. There is more than a month before the election, and one might guess in the last few days before the election Ossoff’s supporters will do massive personal attacks about Trump and Handel, while ignoring the issues of the nation. In short, the Democrats hope to conceal their extreme leftist policies they would pursue once in power again.

This sixth district election may reveal that the adage "all politics is local," is not necessarily so any more. The national government has grown so large and powerful, voters these days may consider national party control when voting for congressional candidates. Americans realize that if they want to reverse the last eight years under Obama, sending Democrats to Washington will not get the job done. In fact, if voters want local politics to be significant, they are better advised to vote Republican because it is more likely, with Trump as president, the size of national government will shrink, and some power will return to the states.

John Havick has a Ph.D. in political science. He was a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology for many years, authored several books and a number of articles, including the widely cited "The Impact of the Internet on a Television-Based Society." His work has appeared in The New York Times, and his recent book, "The Ghosts of NASCAR: The Harlan Boys and the First Daytona 500," is available at ghostsofnascar.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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There is more than a month before the election, and one might guess in the last few days before the election Ossoff’s supporters will do massive personal attacks about Trump and Handel, while ignoring the issues of the nation.
georgia, election, jon ossoff, karen handel
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 12:09 PM
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