Democrats control Senate thanks to Georgia runoff


@raphaelwarnock on Instagram

Winners of the Georgia Senate runoffs Jon Ossoff (left), and Raphael Warnock (right), celebrate their victories together.

The world of politics in the United States, at the moment, is animate. One thing for certain is the results of the Georgia Senate race. Held on November 3, 2020, the race to determine the two senators from Georgia was too close to call. Neither candidate, Democrat Jon Ossoff nor Republican David Perdue held a majority vote, so they advanced to a runoff election that took place on January 5, 2021. The runoff was held simultaneously with the special election for the Georgia U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Kelly Loeffler and challenged by Raphael Warnock, which also advanced to a runoff.

Prior to January 5, 2021, the Republicans controlled the U.S. Senate with a majority of 50-48, along with two independents who caucused with the Democrats. This race, moreover, decided the control of the U.S. Senate under the incoming Biden administration. If the Republicans won only one of the two seats, they would maintain control of the Senate. However, if both of the Democratic candidates won their races the U.S. Senate will be split 50-50, Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote would give the Democrats the majority. In the highly contested election, both of the Democratic candidates emerged victorious, meaning that the U.S. Senate will be controlled by the Democrats during the Biden era.

The lead up to the runoffs was very intense, with significant political names throwing their support behind either candidate. President Trump actively campaigned for both Loeffler and Perdue, whereas Stacey Abrams was an adamant supporter of the Democrats. For Georgia, and for the future of the country, the outcome of this election is historic. Georgia had sent Republicans to the U.S. Senate for the past eighteen years, the last Democratic senator from Georgia being Zell Miller (‘00-’05). Now, they will have two Democratic candidates for at least the next two years (Warnocks’ term expires in 2022). The two winners also made history in another way. Ossoff is the first Jewish senator from Georgia and will be the youngest sitting senator at age 33. Warnock, on the other hand, is the state’s first Black senator, the first African-American Democratic Senator from the South, and the first black clergyman to ever be elected to the Senate.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made a strong push for voters to come out and vote for the Democratic candidates. (@kamalaharris on Instagram)

Students within the Saint Paul Academy and Summit School community have taken notice of this historical event. “I think these results mean that turnout and voter participation won’t end once Trump leaves office. This election demonstrated that running Jewish candidates in the South, or going to vegan restaurants in Atlanta, or being a black reverend with connections to Jeremiah Wright isn’t as big of a deal as some might think it is,” senior Nathan Forsberg said.

Aforementioned, another significant outcome of this election is the Democratic trifecta that now exists in the federal government. The Democrats now control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. “One of the most important things that the Democratic trifecta can do is fill all of the judicial seats and other appointed seats with young, ideologically liberal candidates. Things Democrats can now do legislatively include passing DC and Puerto Rico statehood, the John Lewis Voting rights act, and the anti-partisan-gerrymandering bill known as H.R.1,” Forsberg said. The majority of these items mentioned, however, will require the filibuster, which needs at least sixty votes to break, to pass. However, the filibuster can be removed with a simple majority of Senate votes at any time, and its removal will allow the Senate to pass non-stop sweeping reforms and important legislation.
The Democratic trifecta coupled with the historic Senate election results bode for a very interesting next few years for the country.