The final results of the November 3, 2020, general election have finally been settled, after months of uncertainty. Joe Biden, of the Democratic Party, was officially declared the next president.
As for who would be in charge of Congress – we now know that will also be the Democrats.
Georgia Elections and a Tie in the Senate
The Senate has 100 total seats. The November 3 election gave Democrats (and Independents who vote with the Democrats) 48 seats, and Republicans 50 seats. The two seats for Georgia were left open, and so the country had to wait and see whether the Republicans would keep a small majority, or if the two leftover seats would go to the Democrats and cause a 50-50 tie in the Senate.
Each state has their own election rules. The state of Georgia has a voting system where a Senate candidate has to get at least 50% of the vote – if that doesn’t happen, the state holds a “runoff election” where the two most popular candidates face-off against each other in a final vote.
January 5 saw the races of:
Republican Kelly Loeffler vs. Democrat Raphael Warnock
Republican David Perdue vs. Democrat Jon Ossoff
Both of the races were extremely close, but in the end the Democrat candidates, Warnock and Ossoff, were victorious, respectively gaining 50.9% and 50.5% of the vote.
The result leaves a 50-50 draw in the Senate.
Democrat Control of Lawmaking
In the event of a tied Senate, the U.S. vice president gets to cast the tie-breaking vote, since he or she serves as the president of the Senate. With Joe Biden having won the next presidency, Kamala Harris will be the next vice president.
As Biden and Harris are Democrats, Harris will likely vote in favor of the Democrats in the Senate. Add this to the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives, and the Democratic Party will find it very easy to pass the laws they want, without having to face much opposition, at least until 2022.
What laws will these be? At the moment, it looks like these may involve some form of the famous Green New Deal and more restrictions on gun ownership.
In recent decades, it’s been unusual for one political party win control of the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate. In fact, it seems that the American people like to use their vote to make sure the legislative power of government is split between the two major parties, ensuring more rigorous debate and a greater level of scrutiny of each law that passes. When one party holds complete control of lawmaking and can enact its own agenda without hindrance, it is often a time when major reforms are made that change lives across the nation.