Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk

Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk
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As you're seeing everywhere online or on your TV screen, the runoffs for two U.S. Senate seats in Georgia are attracting tons of media attention, with control of the chamber in the balance. If Democrats win both seats, the Senate is tied 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Mexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized MORE serving as automatic tiebreaker for the blue team.

Big picture: Democratic House, Democratic Senate, Democratic president. And if the far-left wing of the party, which receives the lion's share of traditional and social media attention, gets its way, then say hello to abolishing the Electoral College, the Senate’s filibuster and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. Say hello to expanding the Supreme Court and expanding the Senate by adding Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico as states. Bye-bye fracking, hello "reallocation" of police funds. And wait ’til you get a load of the trillions that will have to come from somewhere for student loan forgiveness, free college and the Green New Deal.

In order to achieve this progressive utopia, we're now seeing some political pundits, some of whom are really just activists with a fancy title, going too far in attempting to sway the outcome. Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, for example, recently implored viewers on national television to move to Georgia to help tip the majority to Democrats.


Journalism, meet activism.

"I hope everybody moves to Georgia, you know, in the next month or two, registers to vote and votes for these two Democratic senators," Friedman told CNN's Chris CuomoChris CuomoMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Clyburn: 'We're teetering on' giving president 'authority to be dictator' The 'Anonymous' saga ended with a dud — a perfect example of the problem of Trump-era media MORE. Cuomo, who seems to get paid by the word when "interviewing" Republicans, didn't challenge Friedman. 

In a related story, the Times has run multiple pieces warning about the dangers to democracy from false claims of voter fraud, but has yet to comment on Friedman's idea, which literally advocates voter fraud.

Others also floated the idea of people picking up their lives and moving to Georgia ahead of the runoff, scheduled for Jan. 5.

"These run-offs will decide which party controls the Senate, and this, whether we’ll have any hope of a large stimulus/climate bill,” wrote Eric Levitz of New York Magazine. “If you have the means and fervor to make a temporary move to GA, believe anyone who registers by Dec 7 can vote in these elections,"


Andrew YangAndrew YangMedia and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Andrew Yang: Democrats need to adopt message that government is 'working for them' Andrew Yang moving to Georgia to help Democrats in Senate runoffs MORE, a CNN contributor and former 2020 presidential candidate, shared that he is moving to Georgia in an effort to help the party. Yang didn't mention voting, but you get the idea: "Evelyn and I are moving to Georgia to help @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock win! This is our only chance to clear Mitch out of the way and help Joe and Kamala get things done in the next 4 years. More details to come but let’s go!!!

The get-out-the-vote efforts in Georgia are led by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who has yet to concede her 2018 gubernatorial race to Republican Brian KempBrian KempTrump addresses pandemic but not election during annual turkey pardon Chris Christie: Trump's legal team has been 'a national embarrassment' Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk MORE over what she claims to be voter suppression. As a result of her refusal to concede, Abrams has been a media darling in the same stratosphere as Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn Trump pardons Michael Flynn MORE (D-Calif.) or Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle Obama sold record-breaking 1.7 million copies of memoir in first week Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk MORE, receiving dozens of glowing profiles for acting exactly as President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE is now.

These calls for outsiders to invade Georgia to impact two reportedly very tight races have gotten the attention of Georgia's top election official. 

"Let me be clear, those who come to Georgia with the intention of voter fraud will be prosecuted,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “We thoroughly investigate every single allegation of voter fraud. Anyone is welcome to move to the state, named the No. 1 place to do business. However, let me warn anyone attempting election mischief: If you illegally participate in our elections, you might be spending a lot more time in Georgia than you planned.”  

Stern words — but does anyone believe any state has the resources to track the whereabouts and residency of voters after an election where millions are expected to vote?

Hollywood also has Georgia on its mind.   

"I will go to GA to help win these Senate seats. I will get a Covid test every day. I will live at Tyler Perry’s movie studio. I will get re-bar mitzvah’ed at whichever synagogue Jon Ossoff and his wife attend. We MUST win these Senate seats. I WILL DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE! U in?" actor Billy Eichner wrote to his more than 2 million social-media followers. The sentiment was echoed far and wide in Tinseltown. Atlanta is the new La-La-Lanta.

And all that should go over well with Georgia residents, right? They'll be thrilled to see their state invaded by people who think Athens is a city one flies into when vacationing in the Greek Islands, have demanded that the Braves change the team’s insensitive name and think "The Dukes of Hazzard” is a racist show. 

Not sure you've heard, but nationalizing state elections with tens of millions of dollars in out-of-state donations and Hollywood star-power has not gone well for Democrats. Ask Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath, who fell to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight MORE (R-Ky.) by 20 points. Ask Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE (R-Maine) how she possibly could have won reelection despite polls showing her losing badly. Ask South Carolina Democrat Jaime Harrison how his race went against a reportedly vulnerable Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Spokesperson says Tennessee Democrat made 'poor analogy' in saying South Carolina voters have extra chromosome MORE (R-S.C.), who won in a runaway

We've heard so much about election integrity lately, and rightly so. It's a very dangerous time when a good chunk of Americans are convinced voter fraud is a major problem. A recent Reuters-Ipsos poll reported that only 55 percent of adults believed the 2020 election was “legitimate and accurate," while almost half of Republicans believe President Trump “rightfully won” the election and 68 percent have concerns about a “rigged” vote-counting process favoring President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Obama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' MORE.  

These are scary numbers. No election will ever seem the same. 

So, it’s time to shelve the move-to-Georgia-to-give-Democrats-the-Senate talk and allow Georgians to decide for themselves who should represent them. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.