Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks at an event at Georgia State University
Rev. Raphael Warnock speaks at an event at Georgia State University. (EDWARD M PIO RODA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

4 Key Takeaways from Democratic Sweep of Georgia Runoffs; Giant Food to Promote Diverse Products on Grocery Store Shelves; and More

4 Key Takeaways from Democrats sweep of the Georgia Runoffs.

In keeping with the 2020 Presidential election, the Georgia Senate runoff elections were a nail-biter with just the narrowest of Democratic wins coming through. Democrat Raphael Warnock, a pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, won his battle with Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler more handily, with a margin of more than 50,000 votes. Democrat Jon Ossoff’s victory took a bit longer but was confirmed finally with a difference of at least 17,000 votes.

When the dust has finally settled from both battles, here are just a few of the things we’ll have learned from the rollercoaster election season:

The Black vote was the definite deciding factor.
Although it’s too early to know the exact numbers on Black voter turnout, the Associated Press has proclaimed that “Black voters were a force in the early vote and on Election Day.” From metro Atlanta to rural and small-town counties across South Georgia, Blacks came out to vote in force, with some areas having a higher percentage of votes cast than in the general election. Many attributed the historic wins to Stacey Abrams and the ground force she laid out after narrowly missing out in 2018 on becoming the first Black woman governor in the U.S., as well as the ongoing dislike of everything Trump by Georgians.

Georgia is officially a purple state going forward.
There was a 28-year gap between wins for President Clinton in 1992 and President-elect Biden in 2020, and during that time many pundits believed Georgia would always remain part of a Republican stranglehold on the South. But as Biden’s win, followed by wins for Warnock and Ossoff shows, Georgia is definitely a two-party state going forward. Although The Washington Post points out that replicating these kinds of wins in future Senate battles may not be easy, saying “Democrats successfully figured out how to register and turn out voters, particularly Black voters in Georgia’s changing suburbs, in a way that will make Republicans have to fight for elections in Georgia [going forward].”

$2,000 COVID stimulus checks are back up for debate.
With Democrats set to take over majority control of the Senate, and with Vice President-elect Harris available to break ties, additional support for Americans dealing with the continuing impact of COVID-19 appears to be an even hotter topic than ever, with the likely new Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer vowing that “passing legislation to provide $2,000 stimulus checks will be one of the first orders of business once Democrats take control of the chamber on Jan. 20,” according to The Hill.

Getting Biden’s new cabinet picks approved suddenly looks a whole lot easier.
From Neera Tanden, a former Clinton administration official and CEO of the left-leaning Center for American Progress as Biden’s potential director of the Office of Management and Budget; to Lloyd Austin (who could be the first Black person to lead the Department of Defense but who has also raised eyebrows as a Cabinet pick since he hasn’t been out of uniform for the full seven years required for the position); to rumored attorney general pick Merrick Garland (who was robbed from his seat on the Supreme Court in 2016 by outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell); Biden’s prospective cabinet could have been hard to get approved by a Republican-led Senate. But with a new 51-50 Democratically led Senate, the passage of these choices and many others now look a lot less complicated.

 

Giant Food to begin promoting diverse products on grocery store shelves.

Supermarket retailer Giant Food, which operates 164 grocery stores up and down the east coast, has announced a new plan to help promote supplier diversity among the brands it carries, drawing special attention to products that are produced by businesses which are women-, Black-, Asian-Indian-, Hispanic-, LGBT-, Asian-Pacific- or veteran-owned.

Starting in 2021, shelves within the chain’s stores will feature labels informing shoppers of products that are produced or owned by members of its diverse supplier network. According to the company’s press release, over 3,100 products from 218 different businesses will be highlighted with the updated shelf labels.

The initiative is part of what Giant Food says is its ongoing commitment to serving both its customers and the diverse businesses it works with. The chain had previously developed and rolled out a product rating system that included factors like ingredient sourcing and labor practices, as well as a “nutrition navigation program” to make finding healthy foods easier for consumers.

“Giant Food is proud to better highlight our diverse suppliers,” said Ira Kress, President of Giant Food, in a statement promoting the new system. “We’re committed to making it easier for customers to identify product attributes that are important to them by fostering a diverse and inclusive network of suppliers that reflects the unique backgrounds and experiences of our Giant family, our customers and our communities.”

 

The persistence of masculine stereotypes may explain Trump’s ongoing appeal.

The ongoing culturally idealized concept of masculinity may be what continues to draw supporters to Trump and other similar members of the Republican party, according to new research conducted at Penn State and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

In a series of studies conducted at the school and involving more than 2,000 participants, researchers found that men and women who supported ideas of “hegemonic masculinity” — the notion that masculine things are superior because they are “strong, tough, dominant, powerful and lack vulnerability” —were also more likely to have voted for Trump in the past or to have positive feelings for him. 

This idea continued to be true even when data was adjusted to account for political party, race, gender, education and how much the participants trusted or didn’t trust the government. 

Nathaniel Schermerhorn, one of the researchers who conducted the study, said “The pervasiveness of hegemonic masculinity exists because we do not always know that our attitudes and behaviors are contributing to it.” He also added that “The success of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign shows that even if we, as a society, have made progress in saying that discrimination and prejudice is undesirable, we have not, as a society, fully interrogated the systematic ways in which those prejudices are upheld.”

Although these ideals are often unrealistic, they resonate with some people, especially those who tend to prefer maintaining the status quo. Unfortunately, Theresa Vescio, professor of psychology and co-researcher of the study, noted that individuals who adhere to these hegemonic ideals are also more prone to “greater sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia.”

Fortunately, the researchers also add that these ideas aren’t always immutable. People can change and support new ideas, but they generally need to learn and become aware of their existing biases and reject those beliefs in order for that to happen.

 

D.I. Fast Facts

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Numbers of engineers and other workers at Google offices across the U.S. and Canada who have so far signed cards to form the Alphabet Workers Union. Although the new union won’t have collective bargaining rights and consists of only a small fraction of Google’s workforce, supporters say it’s a first step in “building a structure to create worker power” within the company, which has faced complaints including sexual harassment; fears over the scope of its work with the Pentagon; and problems with their treatment of contract workers in the past.
NPR

 

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