So it all comes down to Georgia.
Georgia is now on all of our minds — not only for its Joe Biden tilt early Friday, but also because the power of likely President-elect Biden's ability to govern now rests on Georgia's two competitive Senate seats, both of which will go to run-off elections in early January.
Senate Democrats are still a few seats short of a Senate majority, but the fact that both Senate races in Georgia will go to a runoff means the battle for control of the Senate is not over yet, and these run-offs — if they hold through a planned Georgia recount — have the potential to give us that one more needed prize — Democratic control of the Senate.
Who would have dreamed it? Well, we know who: The late Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, is, no doubt, leading a chorus today in the Great Beyond.
Traditionally a Republican state, Georgia has become more competitive for Democrats in recent decades, and early on this year, we began to hope Georgia voters would turn blue and deliver Biden a lead over President Donald Trump to give Biden its 16 electoral votes. That happened about sunrise Friday, and a couple of hours later Pennsylvania became the cream for Georgia's peach cobbler by giving Biden its 20 electoral votes.
How did we get here? Thank the Georgia law that states if no candidate receives a simple majority of votes, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff. These runoff elections would be set for Jan. 5.
Also thank Atlanta's growth: "Counties and suburbs of Atlanta are moving at light speed away from Republicans," Cook Political Report Senate editor Jessica Taylor, who rates both Georgia races as toss-ups, told vox.com."Trump has accelerated a more natural evolution."
Atlanta's diversifying suburbs were already worrisome for Republicans before 2020 — witness Stacey Abrams' political rise — but voting experts say those suburbs appear to be the epicenter of Democratic strength this year.
The New York Times recently reported that "white residents now make up fewer than three in five voters in Georgia, and a wave of migration to the Atlanta area over the past decade has added roughly three quarters of a million people to the state's major Democratic stronghold."
At the same time, there has been increased turnout among Black voters.
The combined result is that the booming metro Atlanta area is increasingly voting Democratic — in a population that between 2010 and 2019 grew from about 5.3 million people to more than 6 million, putting it fourth in growth nationwide behind Houston, Dallas and Phoenix.
Looking at the broader Senate math, Democrats by Friday had netted just one seat in the 2020 elections. Democratic challengers won in Colorado and Arizona, but Democratic Sen. Doug Jones lost his seat in Alabama. Seats considered potential Democratic flips like Maine and Iowa didn't happen. And in North Carolina, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis continues to hold a narrow edge over Democrat Cal Cunningham, although the race has yet to be called.
If Biden, in fact, wins the presidency, Democrats would need a net gain of three seats to win the Senate majority. If the map stays as it is right now, and if Democrats win both Georgia runoffs, the Democrats would retake Senate control.
Incumbent appointee Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock, who was the top vote-getter in a special election race with Loeffler and Doug Collins, another Republican. This is the Senate seat vacated in 2019 by retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson.
In Georgia's other Senate race, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue remains now in a gritty contest with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
It just couldn't be any more peachy sweet and juicy.
Just let your mind run for a moment about all the political machinery money that will be pouring into Georgia between now and Jan. 5.
But dreaming is not enough. Democrats cannot underestimate how important this is.