This year is in no way a conventional year for U.S. politics. Although the election was held more than a month ago, it is still unclear whether the Republicans or the Democrats will control the US Senate due to the unprecedented two runoff races in the state of Georgia happening simultaneously. (Due to neither candidate winning a fifty percent majority on election day.) The incumbent Republicans, Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, are running against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock: Purdue vs. Ossoff and Loeffler vs. Warnock. The runoff election will be held on January 5, and the result of this race may impact every American profoundly.
The current election results tell us that the senate would be controlled by fifty Republicans, forty-six Democrats, and two Independents. Since the two independents tend to agree with the Democrats on most subjects, the control of the Senate hinges on the two races in Georgia. If the Democrats win both races, the Senate would have a 50-50 split in seats. As a result, the Democrats will gain the control of the next Senate since when the votes are tied, Vice-President Kamala Harris will get the critical vote that determines the result. However, if the republicans win any of those two races, they would be the majority of the senate and thus have a say in a lot of important issues like the Affordable Care Act and the Stimulus Check.
Ben Stumpf ’88 thinks it is extremely important for the Democratic party to win those two races since some urgent problems need to be solved. “We’re talking about a government that needs to get itself out of a pandemic, so Biden really needs to make something happen really quickly,” Ben shared, “These incredibly urgent issues… don’t have time for a major fight within senators and having proposals essentially being shut down.” This senate race is not just about Georgia. Its result could affect people like Stumpf in other states who deeply care or are affected by critical issues in which the Senate plays a key role.
The winner of the race is very uncertain. Although the Republicans have won seven out of the eight runoffs that Georgia has held before (including two Senate races), the Democrats seem to have a slightly more advantageous situation this time. According to FiveThirtyEight, one of the nation’s most-used polling aggregation websites, up to December 13, the average of the polls shows that Ossoff is leading by a margin of 1% and Rev. Warnock is leading by 1.6%. However, it is worth noticing that this average is based on a limited number of polls and that his gap is smaller than the margin of error. It is fair to say for now that no one could be sure of who will win this election.
Nevertheless, no matter what the result of this race will be, it is always important for the Senate or the whole country to move forward and tackle its issues in a united way, especially right now when the whole country’s political atmosphere is extremely divided. Leo Koerner ’22 emphasizes the bipartisan leadership of the government, “Whatever the outcome of [the runoff races] is, there will have to be bipartisan leadership in both the house and the presidency.” The future depends on politicians and others collaborating effectively despite differences.