Students celebrate historic Senate win

Students reflect on the last time Georgia elected a democratic senator, and how big the recent election win is becoming for the state. Photo Submitted by ShutterStock

As the result of two historic elections in 2020, Georgia officially turned blue. Both the presidential and senate runoff elections resulted in favor of Democratic candidates, and a new era begins in the state.

The last time Georgia elected a democratic senator was in 2000 when Sen. Zell Miller served his term until 2005. Since then, Republicans have represented and governed Georgia.

As U.S. Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock swear into office on Jan. 20, they will represent the needs of Georgians through their terms. While their victory may disappoint some Georgia voters, others are optimistic for the changes to come.  

With both men in office, there comes an undeniable shift in Georgian policies: introducing progressive views, such as affordable health care and climate reform, and higher racial diversity and representation. 

The progressive shift is not concerned solely with government offices. Diversity in voter turnout has increased during the last election.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis, the number of Latinx, white, Asian and Black registered voters increased by roughly 380,000 voters compared to October 2016.

The change in voter demographics has not gone unnoticed. Like sophomore Zora James, many young Georgians are thrilled, exhibiting a sense of pride and empowerment from the election results.

“The results of the runoff election indeed showed that there is power in the Black vote,” she said. “I think we all understood that flipping the state wouldn’t be easy, but it was possible. As a Black woman, seeing the first Black senator from Georgia win gives me hope for progress.”

Sophomore Ayoola Makinde spoke of his newfound feelings of optimism when he saw the election results. 

“I do personally think the runoff election has sparked an attitude change, and it’s sort of like a fresh breath of air,” he said. “Even though there may not be big changes in the immediate future, I do feel like change is and will happen. I see it as a sign of hope.”

Junior Kinnede White spoke on the excitement of change, especially being a Black and Mexican woman raised in Georgia with influences from both cultures. 

“For me, it’s a chance to rebuild,” she said. “It’s a chance to restore all the damage that has been done to the mentality of people, particularly in Georgians’ views of different race and minority issues, like the Black Lives Matter movement.”

To people of color and minorities in Georgia and across the country, the change in power positions is more than just new governmental leadership; it is the beginning of repair and support. 

“Since there have been so many misconceptions from our president, that mindset trickled down to the states,” White said. “This is an opportunity for people to build a different perspective. I see the hope of change from Warnock and Ossoff, one that numerous people haven’t seen in a long time.”