The long uncertainty of waiting for election results in the US brought some relief to Democrats: Joe Biden was elected president.
But if Pennsylvania’s ballot count was instrumental in crossing the magic tally of the 270 votes needed in the Electoral College, the margins of his presidency now appear to be limited to another state.
And is that Georgia, one of the traditional republican strongholds in the south, is one of the great surprises of the 2020 elections.
The state in which Donald Trump won by five points in 2016 and had not voted for a Democrat since 1992 began to turn blue: Biden beats Trump by about 10,000 votes and, although Republicans asked for a recount, the ballot advantage At the moment it does not seem that it will favor the outgoing president.
However, it is not in the votes for the White House that Georgia can be decisive for the new government.
Although Democrats maintain the majority in the House of Representatives, they failed to reach it in the Senate, the legislative body through which much of the presidential decisions must pass, from laws to new appointments.
According to US media projections, both Democrats and Republicans share, so far, 48 seats in the upper house (out of a total of 100, plus one for the person who holds the position of vice president, in this case Kamala Harris).
Thus, with votes yet to be counted in Alaska and North Carolina, two traditionally Republican states, hopes that Biden may have some legislative leeway hang over Georgia, where two Senate seats are yet to be defined in a second round on January 5.
For both Democrats and Republicans, what happens there could be decisive.
Presidency without Senate
A president-elect who enters the White House without a majority in the Senate is not something that traditionally happens in the United States.
Control of that Chamber is essential from the beginning of a new government, not only because it allows the president to fulfill many of the promises of his campaign, but also because the nominations of his cabinet must go through there.
In the case of Biden, who has promised policies that are not very popular with Republicans, such as measures to protect the environment, increased taxes on large companies, health programs or naturalization laws for undocumented immigrants, the bet may be more complicated.
And more when the scenario he faces is not what he expected.
The unpopularity of President Donald Trump and the fact that of the 35 seats that were contested in the Senate, 23 were Republicans and 12 Democrats made many expect “a blue wave” that would favor Biden if he won.
However, the only two victories for Democrats were in Colorado, where former Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated Republican Cory Gardner, and in Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly triumphed over Martha McSally.
However, Alabama Senator Doug Jones lost to Republican candidate Tommy Tuberville and the Democrats were then left with just one more seat than they currently have.
In Maine, where they also hoped to win a job, moderate Republican Susan Collins avoided a fierce challenge from Sara Gideon.
It was then that all eyes were on Georgia, which took a surprising turn when Biden began to overtake Trump.
For many, the new color of the state was a result of demographic changes of the last times.
But also from the growing Democratic presence in the Atlanta suburbs and an award for the hard work of activist Stacey Abrams, who has advocated against suppressing the vote and motivating the African-American electorate for the past several years.
However, the unexpected turn in the vote for the presidency did not end with a definitive result in the Senate.
According to the BBC’s results system, Republican candidate David Perdue obtained 49.8% of the vote compared to 47.9% for young Democratic journalist Jon Ossoff.
Meanwhile, Democrat Raphael Warnock won with 32.9% in his career against Republican Kelly Loeffler, who won 26%.
According to state law, to obtain the position, one of the candidates must obtain more than 50% of the votes, so both races will have to return to the polls in early 2021.
The race for the Senate
Failing to get the Democrats to come back in Georgia, the scene can bring back bad memories for Biden of his time as vice president.
During his second term, Barack Obama lost a majority in the Senate and since then, he has faced an almost total blockade of his nominations and proposals by the all-powerful Republican Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
And although Biden, with his long career in the Senate, became a mediator between the White House and the Capitol, the differences between the two powers led Obama to rule by decree and not be able to fill vacant positions, from ambassadors to federal judges or of the Supreme Court.
Now, with the shadow of a possible Trump candidacy for 2024 or the uncertainty of what he will do after leaving the White House, the relations of the Republicans with the Democrats in the new government are a big question mark.
For now, the president-elect has been silent on the Senate balance sheet after the elections, but last week he made it clear how decisive Georgia can be.
“I can’t tell you how important it is that we change the United States Senate. There is no state more transcendent than Georgia in that fight“he said during a rally in Atlanta on October 27.
The leader of the current Democratic minority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, considered that after Biden’s victory, what happens in Georgia will also mark the policies to contain the coronavirus, improve health care and rebuild the economy.
“A Democratic majority in the United States Senate would be the single biggest difference-maker in helping President-elect Biden meet working families across the country and in Georgia,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, for Republicans, the race for Georgia is an opportunity to curb and control the policies of the “radical left“, the term they use to accuse Democrats of” socialists. ”
“A Democratic majority in the Senate would facilitate the agenda of the radical left. We must stop them on January 5 in Georgia,” Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn wrote on Twitter.
With so much at stake, both parties promised they would send “unlimited funds” to guarantee their candidates’ campaigns.
The 2020 elections were already the most expensive in history, with costs estimated at US $ 14 billion.
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