In 2017 and 2018, a trio of Democrats created what I like to call the Better-Than-Expected Club. Texas' MJ Hegar, Kentucky's Amy McGrath, and Georgia's Jon Ossoff each launched congressional campaigns in conservative districts; each ran very impressive campaigns; and each ended up losing by relatively narrow margins, far exceeding expectations.
The Better-Than-Expected Club members fared so well, despite coming up short, that they parlayed their defeats into 2020 U.S. Senate campaigns. And while two of the three lost their statewide bids, one didn't.
Democrats have swept both seats in Georgia's critical runoff elections, NBC News projects, giving the party control of the Senate and removing a major roadblock for President-elect Joe Biden. Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in Tuesday's election, NBC News projected Wednesday afternoon, while the network earlier called Georgia's other race for Democrat Raphael Warnock over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
As NBC News noted a while back, "Only five people since 1978 have lost a House race and then won a Senate race without holding a statewide elected office or national post in the interim." Ossoff has become the sixth.
There's a degree of symmetry to the political circumstances: as Donald Trump's presidency got underway, Ossoff lost a close race, offering a hint of the Democratic takeover of the House that soon followed, and as Trump's presidency ends, Ossoff won a close race, completing the Democratic takeover of the Senate.
In terms the larger context, it's probably time for a recalibration of how the political world perceives the 2020 cycle. In the immediate aftermath of Election Day, the elections appeared to be dreadful for Democrats, despite the party's high hopes. But as 2021 gets underway, Democrats will soon enjoy a majority in both chambers of Congress, working with a Democratic president, who was elected by a fairly wide margin.
It's tough to see this outcome as a disappointment.