The special election to replace Rep. Tom Price in the House of Representatives will be held on April 18, 2017. This election will be the first “post-Trump” election and while many believe this “should” be an easy victory for Republicans in this traditionally red seat, there are some worrying signs on the horizon.
The majority of this district lives in a middle-to-upper income suburb of Atlanta, a demographic that does not support Trump. Most are fairly well educated, again, bad for Trump. And in the general election, Trump carried this district by only 1% of the vote – a margin of victory that gives many Democrats hope they can flip this seat.
The election will be a free-for-all with five Democrats and 11 Republicans in the mix of candidates. This virtually ensures there will be a run-off between the top two vote getters to decide the race.
Instead of re-hashing the talking points of politicians, reporters, and academics on who has the best chance, and what figures into winning the seat, I decided to interview a constituent of this district to get an “on the ground” sense of what is going on.
Fairly representative of the district, this voter is a woman, white, with some college education, reasonably intelligent, financially secure and retired. She has voted in nearly every presidential election since 1972 and has generally voted Republican.
The following is a transcript of our interview conducted this afternoon:
ME: I understand that you have voted in every Presidential election since 1972?
VOTER: I missed the one in 2004.
ME: Why was that?
VOTER: Mama was in the emergency room.
ME: Have you always voted Republican?
VOTER: Yes, except that one time.
ME: When was that?
VOTER: I don’t want to talk about it. It was a mistake and besides my husband voted Republican so we cancelled each other out, okay? But hey, I drove 150 miles round trip in 1974 to vote for Gerald Ford against Jimmy Carter. In GEORGIA!!!!
ME: All right. Calm down. Let’s talk about the district. Have your always voted Republican in the 6th District?
VOTER: Well, yes, except when I didn’t. But I had a really good reason.
ME: And what would that be?
VOTER: I was working for the damned Democrat representative in Washington. It was purely a matter of job security. I DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE
ME: I can see you are upset. I’m sorry. Let’s talk about the current election. Who did you vote for President this year?
VOTER: God, it nearly killed me, but I had to vote for Hillary. I supported Rubio in the primary, but Trump was never an option. Never.
ME: Did your husband cancel out your vote like the last time you voted Democrat?
VOTER: No, he was so disgusted with the lot of them, he didn’t vote at all.
ME: What do you think are the biggest concerns facing the American people right now?
VOTER: I’m worried about the economy, especially the stock market. It’s due for a major correction which is going to hurt a lot of people like myself who have their retirement savings invested there.
Then there is the Republican replacement for Obamacare. I’m on Social Security and Medicare. I paid into that system for 45 years and I do not consider it an “entitlement.” I paid for it. I earned it. If Paul Ryan and his friends plan on messing with Medicare, they are going to have a huge fight on their hands. As I said earlier, I used to work for a congressman. They have a sweetheart healthcare plan. They have no right to make healthcare harder or more expensive for senior citizens.
I’m also concerned Trump, who seems to have no self-control, is very soon going to find himself in a major crisis that he will be totally incapable of handling?
ME: Such as?
VOTER: Well, let’s take North Korea as an example. President Obama reportedly told Trump that North Korea is the greatest threat to America now. Has Trump said or tweeted anything about it? No, he’s tweeting about Arnold Schwarzenner’s ratings on The Apprentice. North Korea has admitted firing missiles intended to hit U.S. bases in Japan. What is going to do if they actually succeed? Nuke North Korea? That would mean war with China. I just hope his generals can keep him under control.
ME: Those are certainly some valid points you raise. So, getting back to the reason for our interview, who do you plan to support to replace Tom Price in the April 16th election.
VOTER: At this point, the Democrat who has the best chance of winning. I’ve been a lifelong Republican, with a few exceptions, until Trump came along.
ME: What if there were a Republican candidate who said they would oppose Trump? Would you vote for that candidate?
VOTER: No. That’s what so many of the Republicans running in 2016 said. ‘Vote for me,” they said, “so I can keep Trump under control.” Horse hockey. I can’t believe a single one of them now.
ME: Can you sum up, in just a few words, why you are so opposed to the President? Why you would be willing to forego a lifetime of voting Republican and support even a liberal Democrat for Congress.
VOTER: Because Trump scares the ever-living shit out of me. Is that succinct enough for you?
ME: Yes, it certainly is. And I appreciate your taking time from your busy schedule to speak with me.
VOTER: You’re welcome.
So, as you can see, there are voters in the deep red State of Georgia who are passionately opposed to Trump. It remains to be seen if this drives a voter turn-out in the 6th District race, but some pundits are saying that this is a seat that the Republicans can lose.
[In total fairness and openness to the readers, the voter interviewed in this article was myself. However, all the statements made are true and accurately represent the viewpoint of at least one 6th District voter.]