Julia Conley, Common Dreams
Economic justice advocates in Georgia are mobilizing ahead of next month’s runoff U.S. Senate election in the state, working to convince low-income residents who lack access to healthcare and living wages to back Democratic Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock.
The Georgia Poor People’s Campaign announced late Wednesday that it is launching a statewide canvassing, text-banking, and social media campaign to reach out to millions of Georgia voters who are low-income, calling the push their “If We Ever Needed To Vote, We Sure Do Need To Vote Now Tour.”
“It ain’t over yet, and every vote must be cast to count,” said the group.
On Sunday, November 27, Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. William Barber II will begin the campaign at a worship service at St. Mary’s Road United Methodist Church in Columbus, Georgia, followed by a rally on Monday at Cascade United Methodist Church in Atlanta.
The campaign is launching more than a week before Georgia voters are scheduled to head to the polls on December 6 for a runoff election between Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, a former professional football player who has helped spread conspiracy theories and lies about the results of the 2020 election and supports a nationwide abortion ban—despite having allegedly pressured at least two women to get abortions in the past.
“Persons impacted by low wages, voter suppression, and denial of healthcare” will join Barber in making a “call to action” at the rally, appealing to people across the state who would be particularly harmed by Republican Party proposals like its plan to cut Social Security and Medicare.
Georgia has the fourth-highest number of people who are uninsured, with more than 1.2 million residents lacking health coverage. Nearly two million people—47% of the workforce—earn less than $15 per hour. A Georgia resident would have to work 93 hours per week on average to afford a two-bedroom apartment if they were working at the federal minimum wage.
On Wednesday, consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote at Common Dreamsthat Warnock must reach out to his state’s low-wealth residents in order to hold on to his Senate seat.
“Warnock has spent $20 million on TV ads charging that Walker has neither the competence nor the character to be a U.S. senator,” wrote Nader. “Reaching saturation, spending more on what people have heard and seen ad infinitum generates diminishing returns and increases voter irritation. ‘What else is new?’ many must be wondering.”
Instead, he wrote, Democrats in the state should advise voters of the economic stakes of the runoff:
1. For the hundreds of thousands of low-income Georgia workers: “Go vote for a $15 federal minimum wage, it’s long overdue and you’ve earned it.”
2. For many low-income workers: “Go vote for getting Medicaid from available federal funds blocked by Republican politicians.”
3. Vote to preserve and expand Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Washington’s Republicans, led by Walker backer, superrich former corporate crook Sen. Rick Scott, who wants to sunset these and other essential people-protection laws long on the books.
At the Georgia Poor People’s Campaign events this coming week, “speakers will emphasize to all Georgians—especially poor and low-wealth voters—that their votes will make a difference.”
The runoff follows the November 8 midterm election, in which neither Warnock nor Walker secured more than 50% of the vote.
Earlier this week, the national Poor People’s Campaign also launched a text-banking push targeting Georgia voters.