Being about 4 weeks after quite a tumultuous election filled with many uncertainties regarding recounts, I wanted to wait a while until I wrote a post-election column. It appears that Joe Biden will be our next president. This was of particular confusion as many recounts in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona had to be completed. Trump and his legal team claimed there was mounting evidence of possible voter fraud, but there have been some fraud cases denied by the courts, which makes it unlikely that Donald Trump can win reelection. We technically still don’t know for sure who our next president is because Trump and his campaign could bring these fraud cases to the Supreme Court, but if there’s minimal to no evidence, there’s not much that can be accomplished. With the recent addition of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, there is now a conservative majority. The House of Representatives, while still a Democrat majority, lost many seats to Republican challengers, narrowing the gap. The Senate is still undecided, the majority depends on the runoff election on January 5th, 2021. The races are between Republican incumbent David Perdue versus Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff, and Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler versus Democrat challenger Raphael Warnock. The polls have this race being extremely close, with every vote making a difference. If the Democrats win the Senate, Joe Biden will have an easier time fulfilling his policy promises, and the Republicans won’t be able to fight it.
If the Republicans win the Senate, however, that is a different story. With a Democrat president and Republican legislature, political gridlock will probably ensue. Joe Biden will put forth policies that Republicans won’t like, and they will inevitably vote them down. This will halt much of Biden’s plans. He shouldn’t expect to get away with any big policy through executive orders since the Supreme Court is a conservative majority, to which they can interpret it as an overstep of power by Biden. Biden’s policies are not very popular with many conservatives, which will force him to either scale back on his plans to garner bipartisan support or get nothing done.
Where does each party go from here? Despite the Democratic party winning the White House, this election was largely a failure for the party. There were many predictions of a “blue wave” inbound, but what we got was blue stagnation. Many seats were lost in the House of Representatives, and the Senate is not looking great for them. Even worse, the Democratic party is losing its foothold in minority support, with Donald Trump and Republicans making gains in these voter blocs. It shows that the more progressive sect of the Democratic party is not the future because it has lost support among many groups with its more radical movements like “Defund the Police” and major environmental policy that can affect job growth. The best course of action for Democrats would be to use Joe Biden’s victory as a shifting point in going back to a more moderate platform, although this may seem unlikely with the younger, more energetic part of the Democrat party opting for more progressive ideas. Overall, the 2020 General Election has showcased the divisiveness of the Democrat party and how their alliances among different groups may be dissolving.
The GOP does not have many options, even if they win the Senate. The only thing they can do if they have a majority in the senate is stonewall Biden policies until 2024, or work with the administration and other Democrats. With the GOP possibly being able to win the Senate, the SCOTUS being conservative, and the House of Representatives having the chance of going red in the 2022 midterm elections, the Republican party is in a good position, even if Trump loses the White House. If Republican senators roadblock Biden’s policies, he will in turn be an ineffectual president, which makes his reelection unlikely.
Thanks for reading,