We’re finally here: At long last, we’re about to be done with the 2022 midterm elections.
The U.S. Senate was mostly settled within a few days of the November 8 election, with Democrats retaining control of the chamber. But neither candidate in the Georgia race won a majority of the vote, forcing a runoff between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.
While it doesn’t seem like it matters much — Democrats could control the chamber 51-49 instead of 50-50 if Warnock wins — there’s still a lot at stake in the single remaining race. And it’s all about power.
Much will change with the control of this last Senate seat.
For the first two years of President Joe Biden’s term, Republicans and Democrats have been split 50-50 (which makes Vice President Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote).
That makeup, though, means that all the committees are required to have an equal number of members from each party. In a straight party-line vote, any measure will tie — and therefore die.
All that changes at 51-49.
If Warnock wins his runoff, Democrats would then be entitled to more committee seats, plus a larger share of the budget. Democratic committee chairmen won’t have to bother with that pesky bipartisan stuff, they can just jam everything down Republicans’ throats.
The larger share of power brings several advantages. A Democratic majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee would make it far easier for them to confirm judicial nominees selected by Biden. Democratic committee chairmen would also be able to issue subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify and produce documents without a single Republican vote.
Both candidates have been pushing control of committees as a key in the runoff, with Walker recently telling Newsmax, “Right now, we’ve got a chance to make all the committees even.”
Things have been weird with Democrats having just 50 votes in the Senate. A dynamic quickly emerged after the new Congress opened, with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — both moderates — having outsized power.
Both happily exploited their positions, much to the distress of Biden. Manchin was instrumental in forcing Biden to dramatically reduce his proposed $3.5 trillion social spending bill, which eventually became the more modest Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Back in July, Manchin said it was “not prudent” for Democrats to approve a major spending package while Americans faced soaring costs for food, fuel, and rent. “Inflation is wreaking havoc on everybody’s life,” Manchin said in a radio interview.
Sinema also obstructed Biden’s massive spending plan, eventually winning concessions on taxation, including some exemptions to a corporate minimum tax. Liberals were so miffed that Vanity Fair penned a piece headlined (in all caps), “KYRSTEN SINEMA IS WINNING FANS ON THE RIGHT BY HOLDING UP BIDEN’S AGENDA.”
Biden has been frustrated with the pair. In campaign speeches and at fundraisers, Biden would often tell fellow Democrats, “we need two more senators” to move forward on his agenda. While a 51-49 Senate won’t altogether neuter Manchin and Sinema, they will most definitely lose some of their leverage.
Former President Donald Trump did not fare well in the 2022 midterm elections. A slew of the candidates he endorsed lost, including Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, who got beat by a guy who can barely utter a coherent sentence.
Republicans openly derided Trump after the dismal showing of GOP candidates who failed to take back the Senate and barely grabbed control of the House. A YouGov poll after the election showed Republicans who want him to run collapsed from 60% to just 47% (if you’re keeping score at home, that number doesn’t make you president).
Exit polls also found that a hefty chunk of voters came out just to vote against Trump’s candidates, and his presence was enough to throw some close races to the Democrats.
A Walker win could ease a bit of that embarrassment — or inflame it. Trump last year encouraged Walker to jump into the race, but as the candidate has stumbled, Trump has kept his distance.
In one last desperate effort, Trump made one final pitch — but not in person.
“Donald Trump plans to hold a rally via telephone for Herschel Walker ahead of Georgia’s US Senate run-off on Tuesday, opting not to campaign in-person and potentially draw more blame for hurting the GOP’s midterm election efforts,” Bloomberg wrote.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.