Democrats Retain Control of US Senate
Washington, D.C. - Following Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in the battleground state of Nevada, Democrats have officially reached the 50-seat threshold to maintain control over the US Senate throughout the remainder of President Biden’s first term in office.
The Democrats were expected to suffer massive losses in both houses of Congress, continuing the quadrennial pattern of the President’s party losing seats in Congress during the midterm elections. Despite widespread public disapproval about his party’s handling of the national economy, President Biden became the first President to hold the Senate in a midterm since George W. Bush in 2002, and the first Democrat to do so since Jimmy Carter in 1978.
The Senate lead was finalized at 51 seats for the Democrats to 49 seats for the Republicans. The crucial state of Georgia held a runoff election yesterday, December 6th, to decide the marginally close race between incumbent Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock, and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. Georgia, along with a few other southern states, hold runoffs for statewide elections in which no candidate receives 50% of the vote in the general election.
Early polling data suggested that Warnock would hold his seat, and he did, meaning that Vice President Kamala Harris will not need to break a tie in the Democrats’ favor, just as she did throughout the first two years of the Biden administration.
Although the slight Democratic majority indicates that some aspects of Biden’s agenda could pass through Congress, a 51-49 lead would make the process much more efficient for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Democratic Senate. Two very moderate Democrats, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, repeatedly sided with the Republican Caucus during the 117th Congress to strike down the more progressive bills that Biden and Schumer proposed.
The GOP had expected a so-called red wave to occur last Tuesday, but it never materialized. Republicans are still expected to gain control in the House of Representatives, but by a much smaller margin than initially anticipated. Once the GOP reaches the 218-seat threshold to gain the House and install Congressman Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, as it is currently projected to do, the party will be much better equipped to stall Biden’s agenda leading up to the 2024 general election.
In the eyes of several pundits and analysts, the biggest loser of the midterm elections was former President Donald Trump and his ideological power over the Republican party. Numerous Trump-backed GOP candidates were defeated in battleground states and districts, while Republican candidates who had distanced themselves from the twice-impeached former President were victorious in crucial races, although candidates like Ohio’s JD Vance won their elections and broke this pattern.
These results reportedly left Trump incensed, and now questions emerge as to whether Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination. Before the election, polls were skewed heavily in Trump’s favor, but since then, DeSantis has grown much closer to, and in some cases, overtaken the former president.
The Democrats also face questions as to who will be the face of their party come November 2024. According to a New York Times poll, 64% of registered Democrats don’t want President Biden to run for reelection, which is an alarming level of uncertainty within the party.
Now, with the Democrats holding control of the Senate throughout the remainder of Biden’s first term, the next session of Congress becomes vitally important in deciding the national balance of power in 2024.