Georgia race more important than you may think
It was very possible that the Senate race between NFL star Herschel Walker and incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock would have control of the Senate in the balance. But the Republican belated losses in Arizona and Nevada ended that possibility. Democrats would control the Senate.
The only issue to be resolved is whether Democrats would have a clear one-seat advantage — or it would be another two years of an evenly divided Senate – with Vice President Harris breaking any tie votes.
While Democrats would technically have control, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would still have problems getting all 50 of his senators to vote on important legislation. Moderate – and more independent – senators such as West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema– could side with Republicans in defeating the more radical left-wing measures – as they did in the past.
(As an aside, I find it interesting that the two so-called “independent senators” – Angus King from Maine and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont – vote lockstep with the Democrats, exhibiting no independence at all.)
There could still be Democrat senators who break ranks with their leadership, but it would take more than one senator to block the Biden spending agenda. That is a significant difference. That means a win by Walker is still an incredibly significant outcome for Republican efforts to block the more egregious legislation.
There is another important benefit for Republicans in an evenly divided Senate. With a clear majority, Schumer can appoint a majority on all the Senate committees and subcommittees. In an evenly divided Senate, those committees must have equal representation.
Unfortunately, without a full appreciation of the difference between an evenly split Senate and a one seat majority, it is likely that Republican enthusiasm in the upcoming December run-off election will decline. Polls seem to suggest that is the case.
The failure of the GOP to gain control of the Senate likely improved Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s chances of retaining his leadership role – which he was likely to retain under any circumstances. But without the possibility of being the Majority Leader, a challenge to McConnell makes no sense at all.
It is possible that the GOP will do better in 2024, when the numbers are much more favorable. There will be 33 seats up for election, with 23 being held by Democrats, including those two independent guys.
The Georgia seat would be an important win for the GOP, but the odds are trending against them.
So, there ‘tis.