The Republican Party risks losing the Senate in what would be the auction of a hypothetical victory for Biden
The Americans decide on November 3 not only a president but also decisive changes in the political structure with the momentous simultaneous elections to the two houses that make up the United States Congress. Of particular note is the one that will decide the composition of the future Senate, a key institution that facilitates or prevents political initiatives, and for which the Democrats are starting right now as very slight favorites.
In the same way that it is impossible to conceive of many of the successes of these four years of Donald Trump’s mandate without the support of the Republican majority in the upper house of the US Congress – the last of them, the quiet approval of the conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court – a possible victory for Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the presidential election could end up as little less than borage if Republicans preserve their current term (with a 53-seat majority to 47 of Democrats, for a total of 100 seats).
As demonstrated during the last two years of the term of the last Democratic president, Barack Obama, a Republican Senate would be dedicated to systematically obstructing any political initiative of Biden, directed as they would be again by an old fox of American politics, the leader of the current Republican majority in the upper house, Mitch McConnell.
However, the way to renew it seems complicated, although not impossible, for the “elephant party.” The average of surveys of the Real Clear Politics web leaves undecided no less than nine seats of which the Democrats would only need, in the best possible scenario, between three and four to win, an advantageous situation as has rarely been seen in years and The reason for this is explained, in large part, by the complex nature of legislative elections in the United States.
To reconcile the fact that legislative elections take place in even-numbered years and that senators serve a six-year term, on November 3 only a third of the seats that make up the Senate will be decided. However, that portion is crucial: on the current electoral map, Republicans control 23 of the 35 seats now at stake, multiplying their chances of defeat.
So the Democrats, whose candidates are quite settled in the eleven of the 12 remaining races except for great surprise, are caressing at least a 50-seat balance that would tip in their favor no less than the vice president of the United States, also president of the Senate and holder of an additional vote to break ties. Or possessor, in this case, if the Democratic vice presidential candidate and Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, wins.
The eyes of the Democrats are fixed on three states: Maine, North Carolina and Iowa. The respective Republican senators Susan Collins, Thom Tillis and Joni Ernst, have a serious possibility of losing their seat due to the negative impact of criticism of the administration of President Trump’s coronavirus pandemic.
But the bloodletting does not end here: Arizona, Colorado, Montana and perhaps Georgia could register a Democratic victory, while only one “blue” seat seems to be in jeopardy, that of Democratic Senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, to the benefit of Republican Tommy Tuberville.
DEMOCRATS SEAT IN THE HOUSE
The picture in the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives, seems much clearer for Democrats, whose current majority (232 to 197 seats of 435 total) could consolidate, if not increase. The independent electoral website Cook Political Report anticipates that Democrats could win between five and ten more seats in an election in which, unlike the Senate, the entire chamber is elected.
It is this breadth that would explain the possible democratic consolidation in the House of Representatives, a more faithful reflection than the Senate of the North American reality. In January of last year, the Democrats faced the new legislative cycle as a winning group – they had just regained the majority in the 2018 elections – but extremely vulnerable.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic, the party has gone on the offensive, with electoral coffers full of funds ($ 57 million more than the Republicans), which has resulted in at least 18 constituencies that the Republicans won with an advantage of more than 10 percentage points two years ago are actually in dispute right now.
Democrats, however, are approaching these elections with caution, as Steny Hoyer, the leader of the Democratic majority (and second to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Trump’s nemesis) recalls. “Nobody here takes anything for granted. We already know what happened in 2016,” he says in statements collected by The Hill and in reference to the debacle starring in the presidential elections four years ago by the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, to whom all polls gave as favorites.
“We became very cool with some polls that turned out to be unreal,” he recalls, “as much as this year the data collection system has been different.”
TEXAS, EPICENTER OF THE STATE RACE
In these elections, 5,800 seats are also at stake in the state legislatures and the governorships of eleven states in the country; institutions that, within the general context of American politics, serve as the icing on the cake at the local level.
If a party gets a governor, senators, and representatives, it can make and break state politics at will, with the consequent and extraordinary impact on local politics. Right now, Republicans have “tripled” in 21 states across the country by 15 Democrats. In other words, 40 percent of Americans live in states under full Republican control, while 37 percent live in states under full Democratic rule.
Given the number of seats at stake, the forecasts are much more blurred. Instead, analysts prefer to focus on Texas as a thermometer of the situation, a state of almost 30 million inhabitants where Republicans risk losing absolute and historic control.
Thus, Democrats are nine seats away from the majority after winning 12 seats two years ago, and Republicans acknowledge that even if Trump wins the state, the House of Representatives is still at stake, with the consequences that this entails. For example, a Democrat, Chrysta Castañeda, could take control of the Texas Railroad Commission – the body that controls the oil and gas industry.
NOTHING CHANGES IN PUERTO RICO
Finally, on November 3, general elections are also held in Puerto Rico; a fiction for many critics, since it is the United States that administers the territory as a Commonwealth, in a relationship to which an idea of statehood has inevitably been associated, the possibility of turning Puerto Rico into the 51st state of the country, which it will also be debated on the same day, in the form of a non-binding plebiscite.
The possibility of annexation has never registered a majority before. What’s more, its support dropped to 23 percent in the last plebiscite of 2017 in a territory where less than 20 percent speak some level of English and, if it became a state one day, it would be the poorest in the whole country, it would mean a burden for both parties, and the final blow to their spiritual aspirations of Puerto Ricans as a Latin American nation.