by Robert Romano
States are still counting votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina — and with disputed deadlines currently allowing absentee ballots to still be received days after the election in Pennsylvania and North Carolina — it is simply too close to call the presidential race.
President Donald Trump carried Ohio, Florida and Iowa by big margins despite many mainstream news polls saying he would lose those states handily — which are little better than astrology at this point — and is still promising to take the race for the White House to the Supreme Court with litigation, presumably challenging any late ballots that come in.
Anything could happen.
But in the Senate, Republicans have won key races in South Carolina, Iowa and Montana, and retaken the Alabama Senate seat, and at the moment appear to be leading in Michigan, Georgia, Maine and North Carolina. Democrats have picked up seats in Arizona and Colorado.
That’s not yet enough for Democrats to win a majority — they need three new net seats plus the White House to break ties. There’s still a lot of counting to go, and at least one runoff in Georgia coming later this year.
But if the GOP’s Senate lead holds, even if former Vice President Joe Biden manages to win the White House, he may do it without winning the Senate — making him the first Democrat entering a first term not to also win both the House and the Senate since before Franklin Roosevelt.
In fact, when Democrats win the White House, they usually win the House and the Senate — sweeping a trifecta of total power. Woodrow Wilson did it in 1912. FDR did it in 1932, Truman did it in 1948, Kennedy did it in 1960, Lyndon Johnson did it in 1964, Jimmy Carter did it in 1976, Bill Clinton did it in 1992 and Barack Obama did it in 2008.
You have to go all the way back to 1884 when Grover Cleveland won the White House and the House, but not the Senate, that a Democrat would enter power without both chambers. That’s significant.
That would make Biden, should he win — and again, it’s still too early to call — the weakest Democratic President in modern history and make any radical Biden-Harris agenda practically dead on arrival.
No eliminating the filibuster.
No amending the Judiciary Act of 1869 to pack the Supreme Court.
No fast track to expediting judicial appointments in lower courts.
No Green New Deal.
No statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico.
No bans on hydraulic fracturing.
No national, Congressionally imposed lockdown.
No tax hikes.
No public option socialized medicine.
In short, no mandate to govern.
It all gets held up. Instead, Biden would be forced to contend with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who decisively won his own reelection bid.
For example, Democrats will likely find themselves wishing that had enacted a phase four stimulus legislation before the election. Now, even if Biden ekes out a victory, they’re likely to get much less from a Republican Senate.
Again, the results are not all in yet, either for the Senate or the White House. It’s too close and with so many ballots left to be counted, too early to say.
As the nation watches to see what happens in the White House, the American people should also keep their eyes on the Senate, which Republicans appear to be holding. At the end of the day, it may be the only thing keeping us from the jaws of Democratic one-party rule.
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Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.