The Democrats were able to defend their narrow grip over the U.S. Senate during the 2022 midterm election, which gave President Joe Biden some breathing room next year, even if Republicans win a majority in Congress.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s (D-Nev.) win over Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada clinched the 50th vote for Democrats after days of uncertainty over thousands of mail-in ballots. Georgia’s Senate race, whose impact may be felt more strongly in 2024, will be determined by a Dec. 6 runoff election.
Republicans hoped voter dissatisfaction over Democratic policies, high inflation, and a return to democracy would bring about a “red wave,” They carried them to victory in both houses of Congress. Although they made gains in Florida and New York, Republican presidential candidates, many of whom were supported by Donald Trump, did not perform well elsewhere in the country.
Preliminary exit surveys showed that fewer than a third Many voters considered inflation the most important issue in the election. However, they also saw the survival of democracy as well as abortion rights as equally important. Attacking Democrats over crime also didn’t appear to be the winning strategy that Republicans had envisioned.
The future of democracy was a central issue for Democrats in the last days of the race. They argued that the number of GOP election deniers listed on the ballot in this year’s election was a significant threat to democracy that should be rejected before next year’s presidential election. This is especially true with the double-impeached former President Donald Trump hinting at another run for White House.
Although many election deniers lost their races Tuesday, more than 160 who have either denied or cast doubts on Biden’s presidential win in 2020 will be in Congress in 2023.
Democrats can achieve many things with a majority in Senate.
First, they’ll have an easier time filling vacancies in Biden’s cabinet and have another two years to reshape the federal courts. Biden’s team has been remarkably stable, especially compared to Trump’s. But several department heads are expected to depart in the coming months, and he’ll now have a better chance of confirming their replacements.
In the first half of his term, Biden also confirmed a record number of judges, a group more diverse than any prior president’s. A GOP-controlled Senate would have put a stop to that streak ― and likely would have ended any possibility of an appointment to the Supreme Court, should a vacancy arise.
In second, Democrats will have a stronger hand when it comes to negotiations with a GOP-controlled House on must-pass fiscal measures like government spending or the debt limit.
Already, Republicans have indicated that they won’t support an increase in the debt ceiling without making major policy concessions to Democrats. This includes cuts to Medicare and Social Security. The first ever downgrade of the U.S credit rating was achieved in 2011 due to the debt ceiling battle. A default on the debt could be catastrophic.
A Increasing number of legislators want to see Democrats raise the debt ceiling in the lame-duck session of Congress this year, removing the threat of an economic armageddon for the rest of Biden’s term. To do this, they would need to have the support of all 50 senators from the Senate Democratic caucus.
The next deadline for debt ceiling will be sometime next year. However, the exact date is not known as incoming tax revenue can fluctuate from month to month.
The Democrats will now have a slightly more straightforward path in 2024 when they will be faced with a particularly difficult map. DEmocrats must defend seven seats in the states that President Donald Trump has won at least once. There are only two pick up opportunities. Republicans want to expand their margins and reach a filibuster-proof majority.
If Democrats are able to defend Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D-Ga.) seat in the upcoming Georgia runoff, they’ll be better positioned for the next election.