Democrats take control of Senate following Georgia runoff elections. Reverend Raphael Warnock (D) was declared the winner against incumbent Kelly Loeffler (R) in one of two Senate seats in the Georgia runoff election. Early on Wednesday, Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican incumbent David Perdue, flipping two Senate seats in favor of Democrats.
The high-profile contests in Georgia have seen vast amounts of money flow into these races. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Georgia Senate races “shatter spending records”. The race between Perdue and Ossoff spent “nearly $470 million”. While the race between Loeffler and Warnock drew “nearly $363 million.” In total, these two races drew nearly $833 million in combined candidate and outside group spending.
- Warnock and Ossoff defeated Republican incumbents in the Georgia runoff elections. Democrats have control of the senate.
- In the case of a 50-50 Senate split, Vice-President Kamala Harris will serve as a tie-breaking vote.
- With full control over the executive and legislative branches, Biden has little to no incentive to work across party lines on more progressive legislation.
- The Biden administration will be able to advance a wish list of policies that progressives have been clamoring for.
What Does Control of Senate Mean for a Biden Administration?
President-elect Joe Biden has a vested interest in winning both Senate seats in Georgia. Firstly, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer now will be the Senate Majority Leader. In the event of a split Senate, the party who wins the presidency is declared the majority. Additionally, a 50-50 Senate split would cast Vice-President Kamala Harris, who will also serve as Senate president, as the tie-breaking vote.
Presumably, the Vice-President will be casting a lot of tie-breaking votes on hotly divisive legislation. It will be interesting to see what more moderate Senate Democrats who preside in deep-red states will do. For example, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) will have to balance the wants and needs between his party and his constituents back home. Will he vote for the Green New Deal if West Virginians oppose it? Time will only tell what impact this will have with moderate Democrats.
What does this do for unity?
President-elect Joe Biden campaigned on the message of “Unity over division” and casting himself as a unifying President. However, with full control over the executive and legislative branches, Biden has little to no incentive to work across party lines on more progressive legislation.
As of this writing, Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill protesting the results of the Presidential election. A Biden administration will have to navigate the complexity of governing under a fractured country. How will a Biden administration bring into the fold those who supported Trump? A unifying President can’t just cast aside those who did not vote for him, similarly how many have construed Trump’s governance these past four years.
Conversely, will Biden attempt to bring the more progressive wing of his party to the table and lead them to work with Republicans on ways to fix our broken and divided country? Or will a Biden administration put forth legislation that is “one-sided” without any Republican input furthering the division? Time will only tell if President Biden will indeed live up to as a ‘unifier’.
Clear Path for Biden Cabinet Picks and Policy Preference
Now that Democrats have control of the Senate, they won’t be able to serve as a viable check on the Biden administration. Losing both Senate seats to Democrats “paves the way for Biden cabinet picks” and more progressive policy choices without compromise. It’s now highly doubtful any modern Republicans will be nominated as cabinet picks.
More importantly, the Biden administration will be able to advance a wish list of policies that progressives have been clamoring for which includes the “Green New Deal, radically overhauling health care, a new Voting Rights Act, packing the Supreme Court, and granting statehood to Washington, D.C.” It’s not too far of a stretch to say Democrat control of the senate will see the United States take a leftward turn.
Why It Matters
Having the Democrats assume control of the senate has solidified their control on Capitol Hill. What was once worrisome to Democrats, now they are applauding control of the Senate. Now that the Republicans are nothing less than a minority party, Democrats have free reign to pursue the more radical agenda preferences for the next few years.
The control of the Senate in the hands of Democrats will have a far-reaching effect on our country, and I believe, the freedom and prosperity of our nation. The extent of the impact is currently unknown.
However, Biden has a bigger problem on his hands. As the Atlantic points out “Republican control of the Senate would also have made it much simpler for Biden to manage the expectations of the party’s activist wing.” Without Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans as a barrier to providing cover for compromise, the Biden administration will have difficulty managing the more progressive wing of his party. Consequently, they will feel emboldened to push for legislation that will be deeply unpopular with most Americans which could cost Biden in the 2022 and possible 2024 elections.
Mike Price is the founder and Managing Editor of ThinkCivics. He holds a BA in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Kentucky University. He has been writing about politics, government, and culture for over a decade. When he is not writing about politics, he writes about his faith over on his Christian men’s blog Joshua’s Outpost. Follow him on Twitter at @MPriceMPA or contact him at email@example.com