With greater than 80 % of votes in, Choice Desk reports that for the second time in lower than two years, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D–Ga.) prevailed in a runoff election. Warnock’s opponent, soccer star Herschel Walker, narrowly misplaced.
First elected to the Senate in a particular election runoff in January 2021, Warnock has now earned a full six-year time period. His victory additionally ensures that not solely did Democrats keep away from a “crimson wave,” however they really gained a seat within the higher chamber.
At the moment, the Senate is tied at 50 seats per social gathering, with Vice President Kamala Harris being one of the lively tiebreakers in U.S. historical past. With John Fetterman’s win towards Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Republicans’ goals of retaking the Senate have been dashed, and the very best they might have hoped for in doubtlessly flipping Warnock’s seat was to take care of the established order.
However Walker’s unseriousness as a candidate not solely severely impaired his social gathering’s competitiveness, it additionally undercut potential makes an attempt to constrain the Biden administration’s agenda.
Whereas Harris’ standing as President of the Senate technically provides the Democrats a majority, the official 50/50 rely means the events have to barter an settlement on sharing energy. Committees have equal members of every social gathering, quite than a majority in both path, which means that Republicans can collectively hinder Democratic priorities. For instance, on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans can delay Democrats’ federal judgeship nominees. Committees that wish to challenge subpoenas should get no less than one member of the other social gathering on board.
However by gaining a single seat, Democrats can dispense with all of these further steps and merely take energy. Every Senate committee will acquire an additional Democrat, giving the social gathering outright majorities. And quite than merely act as a tiebreaker, Harris can be free to pursue her vice presidential priorities (no matter which will entail) with out having to be available for votes.
Aside from Republican opposition, Senate Democrats additionally routinely face dissent inside their ranks, mainly from moderates like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Whereas the filibuster is prone to survive, as Manchin and Sinema every oppose its repeal, an additional seat will give Democrats leeway to pursue extra of the social gathering’s agenda. Somewhat than guaranteeing that each single senator is current for each vote, Democrats will be capable of bear the occasional dissenter or absence.
After all, with the Home below Republican management, Democrats won’t have the run of the place. By the identical token, Republicans promised investigations of the Biden administration, as much as and together with impeachment of Biden himself or members of his Cupboard. However with no Senate majority, there can be no risk of elimination.
It didn’t must be this fashion. Almost each single president’s first midterm elections contain the president’s social gathering shedding seats. Biden stays unpopular, and Individuals are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the state of the nation.
However in so many aggressive races, Republicans got here up quick after nominating flawed, intolerant candidates. Walker could have been singularly unqualified, however he was one in every of many poor choices made by a celebration that ought to have had the wind at its again, going right into a midterm election towards an unpopular president’s social gathering.