Kyle Wingfield

Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, is pictured in an October 2019 appearance before the Rome Rotary Club.  His presentation this week was accomplish via Zoom. 

If both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate races end up in run-offs, Kyle Wingfield, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, said he shudders to imagine how much money will be pumped into Georgia with the balance of power in the U.S. Senate at stake.

“Be prepared for nine weeks of non-stop U.S. Senate talk,” Wingfield told members of the Rome Rotary Club Thursday afternoon. “In that case, I think we’ll each have a personal election assistant to pester us until we vote.”

Ballots were still being counted in Georgia and other states as Wingfield shared his assessment of the election.

“I am fairly certain right now that Joe Biden will be the next president,” he said. “There will be some challenges that go on but they’re probably not going to be anything that can overturn the results.”

Wingfield, a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer who grew up in the Dalton area, said the election may have revealed that everything we thought we knew about politics in America was wrong.

“We thought we had two parties that were both moving to the extremes in one way or another and I believe the middle of America won in this election,” Wingfield said.

He cited a colleague in California who said that state voted against tax hikes on business property, against affirmative action programs, against an attempt to limit the voting rights of ex-felons, against rent control and so on — while at the same time voting almost two-to-one for Joe Biden.

“There are a lot of things on that list that have been very much at the heart of a lot of the Democratic Party’s platform, at least as far as California goes,” Wingfield said.

The public policy analyst said both the Republican and Democratic parties have a lot of soul searching to do.

“In my view, (Trump) is kind of the second straight president we’ve had who has built a coalition around his personality and has not been transferable to a successor or fellow members of his party,” Wingfield said.

He pointed out that Democrats were not particularly successful in riding the coattails of Barack Obama and the same thing has been true of Donald Trump.

Looking down the road, Wingfield identified former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as possible Trump successors.

Kamala Harris is seen as a likely choice for the Democrats to succeed Biden.

Closer to home, Wingfield said the election for the Georgia legislature did not produce any major movement.

The GOP remains in firm control of both the state House and Senate, though the Democrats may have gained a few seats in both bodies.

Growing interest in education choice and a continuation of tax reform are two of the issues Wingfield sees on the horizon for the next couple of sessions of the Georgia General Assembly.

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