CNN’s Chalian: No ‘Moral Victory Here’ for Dems in Georgia Defeat

Newly elected Congresswoman Karen Handel handily handed a humiliating defeat to her opponent Jon Ossoff Tuesday night. Handel won the blockbuster race by almost four percent, a stunning victory in a race many thought she would lose. The liberal media desperately made the race into a referendum on President Trump. But according to the numbers, Handel beat Ossoff by a larger margin than Trump beat Hillary Clinton. As liberals frantically tried to change the meaning of the election, CNN’s David Chalian appeared on CNN Tonight and declared that “I don't think there are moral victories here.”

At the top of the 10 o’clock hour, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon came on the air and announced that “CNN projects, right now, Karen Handel is the winner in the Georgia congressional race down in the 6th district in Georgia.”

Chalian talking about how the victory was huge for Republican even though it was a seat they have controlled for a number of years. “This was the best shot Democrats in these special elections to really try to make a victory in the Trump era,” he explained to Lemon. And they came up short, which now, of course, is going to create a whole series of questions about how the Democratic Party should run in the era of Donald Trump because they came up short here.

Then, Lemon tried to dismiss Handel’s victory:

What's interesting is that breaking news, a Republican wins in Georgia it shouldn't be breaking news. This is the way it should happen. But the fact, David, that it was so close at least it appeared in the polling and in the results, as well. The results are really close.

By harping on the claim that the election was “close” Lemon was trying to make it seem as though Handel didn’t really do that well. But her margin of victory was predicted to be much closer than it actually was, with many predicting that she would lose. She actually beat Ossoff by a larger percentage than Trump beat Clinton, which actually says a lot about the ineffectiveness of just running on an anti-Trump platform.

Are Democrats looking at there as necessarily a loss or they got close and maybe there's hope for them in the midterms,” Lemon asked his guest. And Chalian hit his host with the cold hard truth.

I don't think there are moral victories here. I mean, I think, the Democrats lost this race. That is a loss,” he told Lemon. They went all-in on it, and with all the energized base through, had the small dollar donations, yes, they were running in a district whose DNA is a Republican district.” And in a quip that seemed directed at Lemon, Chalian noted that it was an uphill battle all along but they lost, so I don't think we should gloss over that.

The liberal media claimed that the election for Georgia’s 6th District was a referendum on Trump and would foretell the doom of the Republican Party in the 2018 mid-term elections. But that has been the narrative of nearly every special election so far under the Trump presidency, and yet the GOP is sporting a 5-0 record. The media will soon shift attention away from the humiliating defeat and claim something else is the referendum on Trump.

Transcript below:

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CNN Tonight
June 20, 2017
10:00:28 PM Eastern

DON LEMON: CNN projects right now Karen Handel is the winner in the Georgia Congressional race down in the 6th district in Georgia. CNN's David Chalian joins us with now with analysis. Right off the top at 10:00, David Chalian, Karen Handel is the winner Georgia, the Republican.

DAVID CHALIAN: That's a huge projection that we just made, Don. This is a big victory for Republicans. I know it is in a Republican district. This really-- in other years, this would not have been a competitive district, but Democrats went all-in on this. They raised a ton of money significantly outspent Republicans. This was the best shot Democrats in these special elections to really try to make a victory in the Trump era. And they came up short, which now, of course, is going to create a whole series of questions about how the Democratic Party should run in the era of Donald Trump because they came up short here.

LEMON: What's interesting is that breaking news, a Republican wins in Georgia it shouldn't be breaking news. This is the way it should happen. But the fact, David, that it was so close at least it appeared in the polling and in the results, as well. The results are really close. What does this say about the state of affairs especially the Trump, is there a mandate for Donald Trump? Will he keep his support? Will it stay the same? Are Democrats looking at there as necessarily a loss or they got close and maybe there's hope for them in the midterms?

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CHALIAN: I don't think there are moral victories here. I mean, I think, the Democrats lost this race. That is a loss. They went all-in on it, and with all the energized base through, had the small dollar donations, yes, they were running in a district whose DNA is a Republican district. So, it was an uphill battle all along but they lost, so I don't think we should gloss over that.

What I hear you saying though, Don, you are right. It is important to note, Donald Trump is still a 36 percent approval nationwide. Obviously, this one district in Georgia isn't going to change that. But what this does do, Don. All the Republicans nervous this spring about Trump's numbers and is he going to be a big drag on the Republican party in November 2018, that still may come to be. We have no idea what the political landscape will look a year and a half from now.

But in the immediate term, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan just got very good news with this victory. It will calm some of the GOP waters in Congress as they try to get health care through and tax reform through. Had the results been the other way, you might have seen Republicans really panicking, sort of, fleeing the party to look out for themselves. Now Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and Donald Trump have a case to make to Republicans that though his numbers are low, it is not taking the party down yet electorally.

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