Southern Discomfort: The Enemies of Jon Ossoff

When it comes to special elections, this is usually the time right-wingers smell blood…and try to draw some, too.

One month from today, the runoff election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will take place. Between now and June 20, Ossoff will become the right’s Public Enemy No. 1. Are progressives ready for this onslaught?

The prospect of Ossoff defeating Handel scares the hell out of right-wingers–and when right-wingers get scared, they get vicious. Remember the summer of 1988, when Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis was seventeen points ahead of Republican candidate and Vice President George H. W. Bush in the polls? And remember what Republicans did to Dukakis afterwards?

To quote the old Boy Scouts commercial, be prepared:

Be prepared for Republicans and their media allies to deal the race card from the bottom of the deck. They will attack Ossoff’s efforts to turn out the nonwhite vote, saying that Ossoff plans to funnel money from white residents of the Sixth Congressional District into programs that benefit the “urban” parts of Georgia, and other “urban” parts of the country.

Be prepared for exploitation of the abortion issue to the hilt. Handel is a coathanger conservative who will accuse Ossoff doing everything short of performing abortions himself. It will be interesting to see if Ossoff does what Democrats too often fail to do against Republicans: point out that in her anti-abortion zeal, Handel violates her supposed belief in “limited government.”

Be prepared for more noxious natterings from the NRA. Ossoff was a documentary filmmaker, and we all know how the Second Amendment fetishists feel about those documentary filmmakers. Get ready for more paranoid prattle about Ossoff’s secret plot to snatch sidearms out of the hands of good, God-fearing, law-abiding Americans. After all, Wayne LaPierre’s minions certainly know how to shoot their mouths off.

Be prepared for the 2018 bogeyman. The right has already tried to link Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi, and Wingnut World will now go into overdrive promoting the idea that an Ossoff win is integral to the evil George Soros/ACORN/ghost of Saul Alinsky plot to once again have Pelosi as House Speaker after the 2018 midterms. Run for your lives!

Be prepared for the smearing of Ossoff’s personal life. Right-wingers will not be able to resist attacking Ossoff’s relationship with his new fiancee Alisha Kramer. Remember when Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell, the Tea Party candidate in the 2010 Delaware GOP Senate primary, suggested that her less reactionary Republican opponent, then-Rep. Mike Castle, was in a sham marriage? Look for that sort of attack to be resurrected.

The right is coming for Ossoff’s scalp. If they can conquer Ossoff, they will be able to shift the media narrative away from the failed Trump presidency. If they can conquer Ossoff, they will be able to inflict a psychological blow upon the Indivisible movement. If they can conquer Ossoff, they will be able to prove that the right-wing noise machine is an invincible force in American politics.

Do the folks who are pulling for Ossoff know what they’re in for? Do they have any idea how ugly things are going to get?

In a special election, the hungrier side almost always wins. Remember the special election seven years ago to fill the Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy’s passing? Republican Scott Brown won that seat for numerous reasons, one of which was that his supporters wanted victory more. They wanted to break the will of Barack Obama’s coalition and demonstrate that the GOP was far from finished politically, just over a year after John McCain and Sarah Palin got whipped by Obama and Joe Biden.

Are Ossoff’s supporters that hungry? Do they crave victory the way the wingnuts do? Are they prepared for the savagery that the right is preparing to unleash upon Ossoff–and can the Resistance resist it?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.