After reading the title of this editorial, you may have two basic questions.
1. Where is “over there”?
2. Isn’t it a slight exaggeration to say that the U.S. president’s “future” is being decided this week?
So, let’s try to answer these in two parts.
Firstly, “over there” is in Georgia, a southern state in the United States, located directly north of Florida, populated by approximately as many people as Quebec and Manitoba combined. We’re talking about just under 10 million people, out of the approximately 330 million inhabitants of the United States.
Now let’s turn to the future of the Democratic politician.
The Georgia Senate runoff election will take place on Tuesday. And the result is going to have a major impact on what happens in Washington over the next two years.
If the Democrats win the two senate seats that will be filled in this election, they will reach the magic number of 50 senators (out of 100) in the U.S. Congress. And since the post of president of the Senate is automatically filled by the vice president of the country (in this case, Kamala Harris), the Democrats will have the advantage.
On the other hand, if the Republicans win at least one of the two seats at stake, they will be the ones who pass the 50-senator mark. And Republican Mitch McConnell could then remain the senate majority leader, a position he has held since 2015, with all the benefits that this confers on his party.
Just ask Barack Obama….
The Republicans’ battle plan? “The absolute refusal to work with me or members of my cabinet, no matter the circumstances, no matter the subject, without worrying about the consequences for the country,” the former Democratic president recently explained in his memoir.
It is hard to see why that would change under Joe Biden. And if the Republicans have 51 or 52 senators, their capacity to do harm will be much greater.
It will be much easier for them to put a spoke in the wheels of the next president, particularly by blocking the various legislative measures included in his agenda. That’s because the approval of both houses of Congress is necessary for passing bills. The president will be forced to water down his wine and moderate his most progressive ideas to convince his rivals of the merits of certain legislation.
And many may never see the light of day. How could we think about gaining, for example, the congressional support necessary for better gun control?
The fate of certain nominations desired by Biden could even be decided in Georgia on Tuesday, including that of members of his cabinet. Before performing their duties, they must first — for the most part — get the green light from the majority of senators.
Now, on to the killer question: What are the Democrats’ chances of winning?
Sorry, but we won’t be predicting the outcome of the election here. Biden won in Georgia in November … but by a very narrow margin. Hundreds of thousands of voters will vote by mail, which seems to favor the Democrats.
On the other hand, it is usually the Republican candidates who win in this state when a second round is necessary. Et cetera.
There are so many complex and conflicting factors at play that any prediction would be the equivalent of flipping a coin and wondering whether it will land on heads or tails.
In fact, only one thing is absolutely certain about the Georgia election: If the Democrats lose this dangerous bet, they will have bitter regrets in the future and a deep disappointment associated with this defeat.
*Editor’s Note: Both Democratic candidates won the runoff election.