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Opinion: U.S. needs Republican-controlled Senate to balance power of new president
U.S. Capitol
The U.S. Capitol is seen at the end of the day Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, in Washington. - photo by Associated Press

We do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that we are at a crisis point in the government of our nation.

On one side are political opponents of the sitting president who anxiously await their chance to claim total control of the government so as to change the political direction of the country completely, and in so doing, undo some of what the current administration has done.

On the other side are factions who refuse to accept the outcome of this year’s presidential election and are willing to destroy the entire foundation of our government and undermine the rule of law in an attempt to keep the incumbent in office.

Neither of those opposing extremes will serve the future of the nation well.

Barring some monumental discovery of proof that a concerted effort existed to illegally impact the results of the presidential election, which at this point seems unlikely to happen, we have to assume that Joe Biden will become the president on Inauguration Day in January.

We think that fact, coupled with the reality that the U.S. House of Representatives remains firmly under the control of the president’s political party, make it urgently important that the U.S. Senate maintain a Republican majority.

The people of Georgia can make sure that happens.

Editor’s note

Not all members of The Times editorial board are in agreement with the opinions expressed in this editorial. 

Times editorial board

Staff members

  • Norman Baggs, general manager

  • Shannon Casas, editor in chief

Community members

  • Cheryl Brown

  • David George

  • Mandy Harris

  • Brent Hoffman

  • J.C. Smith

  • Tom Vivelo

Ours is supposed to be a national government with three separate branches which serve as checks and balances for one another. An important role of the Congress is to serve as a limit on the power of the presidency, so that the nation’s chief executive does not take on a role of governmental omnipotence.

In recent years, the partisanship that has come to define Washington has meant that the respective houses of Congress have in some instances abandoned their role of restraining the power of the president, choosing instead to elevate the concept of party allegiance to priority status.

Now, more than ever, we fear that if both houses of the Congress are controlled by the president’s party, the opportunities for opposing opinions to be heard and to have merit will be few and far between, and the need for reasonable and intelligent political compromise will be non-existent.

There is ample frustration that comes from having the president and the Congress at odds, such as has been the case for months with proposals to provide financial help a nation suffering through a pandemic economy. But that is better than having a Congress that does nothing more than rubberstamp a presidential agenda, replacing the need for debate and compromise with an eagerness to coordinate and approve.

It is hard to have a badly needed system of checks and balances if all who participate are speaking from the same partisan playbook.

For his entire term, President Donald Trump has been stymied by the necessity of working through Congress to get things done. He would have much preferred a government structure that gave more power to the office of president, so that whatever he decreed should happen would in fact be done. And yet, that’s not the way our government is designed to work, nor should it.

We are convinced that the need for a Congress to limit the power of the presidency is vital to the survival of our democratic republic. And in this election, that means returning Georgia’s incumbent Republicans to the U.S. Senate.

The two Republican candidates have staked out questionable positions in the post-election chaos and have championed courses of action with which we disagree relative to the veracity of the voting process. Even so, maintaining a system of check and balances within the government is of paramount importance.

There is a concerted effort among supporters of the president to convince Georgians not to vote in the upcoming runoff election. Two high profile attorneys who have been at the forefront of legal battles challenging Trump’s defeat have been vocal in saying the residents of our state should not vote because they cannot trust the election process.

We do not believe that to be true.

The state’s system of elections has been under a bigger microscope for the past six weeks. Other than conspiracy theories spread on social media and indefensible legal challenges by lawyers whose proficiency in their professions has to be suspect, there has been no credible  evidence presented of any widespread, coordinated effort that would have changed the outcome of the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The president himself, appearing in Valdosta last weekend, urged Georgians to return to the polls and vote in the election.

We think our nation is best served when the highest possible number of legally registered voters participate in any election, regardless of their political party. We hope the turnout for Jan. 5 will be reflective of the importance of the decisions being made at the ballot box.

Whether they choose to do so by absentee ballot, early voting or visiting the polls on the day of the runoff, Georgians should vote, and we believe  they can do so with confidence in the electoral system.

We think our federal government will be better for us all if a Republican majority retains control of the Senate. The voters of our state can make that happen. We hope they do.

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