Sunday night’s nationally televised debate among most of the contenders in the Georgia senate runoff election perfectly encapsulated the unprecedented nature of the 2020 election cycle.
Georgia Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both faced the challenge of going up against inanimate objects in the persons of GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue.
Loeffler’s performance can best be described as robotic. She repeatedly refused to acknowledge that Donald Trump had lost the presidential election. Instead she offered up the well-worn talking point that the president has “every legal recourse available” to pursue his baseless assertion that the vote in Georgia was rigged against him. Monday morning one of those “recourses” was snatched away from Trump when the state announced it will re-certify the election results after having counted all legally cast ballots three times.
Loeffler’s facial expression rarely changed throughout the hour-long debate as she clung to the lectern. And every time she referred to her opponent, she reflexively spit out the label “radical liberal Raphael Warnock.” After the first few times it became laughable. Even Fox News’ Steve Hilton thought her use of the phrase was over the top, saying, “I think this could be put in the category, OK Kelly Loeffler, I think we got the message.”
Even Fox News is making fun of Kelly Loeffler’s debate performance.
I love this so much… https://t.co/1mnIZkf5rl
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) December 7, 2020
Warnock criticized Loeffler, one of the richest members of the Senate, for making large, profitable stock trades after she had been briefed on the coming coronavirus pandemic in January.
Then there was the non-debate between Ossoff and Perdue. The incumbent senator, whom Ossoff destroyed in the final debate before the Nov. 3 election, didn’t show up. Instead of an hour-long debate with a live human, Ossoff answered reporters’ questions for 30 minutes while standing next to the vacant lectern where Perdue should have been positioned. Ossoff called Perdue a “coward” for not debating.
The Democratic challenger also criticized the incumbent senator for not taking the threat posed by coronavirus seriously enough. “The reason that we are losing thousands of people per day to this virus is because of the arrogance of politicians like David Perdue,” Ossoff said. “So arrogant that he disregarded public health expertise, and so arrogant that he’s not with us here today to answer questions.”
Sunday night’s event was the only opportunity for the candidates to debate before the Jan. 5 runoff election.