he 2020 presidential election may still hang in the balance, but as the down-ticket races are gradually called, it seems that the Republicans have some thank-you notes to write.
Many of the polls, the Democratic Party and a number of pundits predicted a “blue wave” that would expand the Democratic majority in the House, retake the Senate and win the White House in one fell swoop.
But the wave didn’t make it all the way to shore.
Two days after the election, it’s clear that the blue wave hit a border wall, of sorts: the presidential race is still up in the air, Senate control may come down to two runoff elections in the typically red state of Georgia and Republicans chipped away at the Democratic majority in the House.
Aside from their own hard work and the support of their voters, there are a few people and groups the Republicans would be remiss not to acknowledge for their contributions.
To the rioters and the “Defund the Police” movement:
President Donald Trump framed his 2020 campaign around “law and order,” largely in response to the unrest that swept numerous major cities in the U.S. in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of several now-former Minneapolis police officers.
Despite the broad support for an investigation into Floyd’s case — and for those responsible for his death to be held accountable — the riots that followed may have soured some voters on supporting candidates who failed to condemn the riots, violence and looting.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris even showed support for funds that ultimately bailed out rioters, violent criminals and sex offenders.
To the court packing advocates:
When the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, Senate Republicans made it clear that they intended to go ahead with the nomination — and confirmation — of Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
The response from a number of Democrats was first to demand the expansion of the Supreme Court while also then suggesting that, by filling empty seats on the court, Republicans’ actions constituted “court packing.”
Biden and Harris — along with their campaign surrogates — did little to dispel claims that they would pack the court.
But as it turned out, packing the court was relatively unpopular among everyday Americans, and they may have voted accordingly.
To the Democratic Party:
Going in to Tuesday’s general election, many Democrats were hopeful, even confident, that they could retake the Senate Majority. The party spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to flip several key Republican seats, namely those held by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But all of that money only seed to help for one of those seats — former Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper unseated Gardner. Democrats gained one more seat when Democratic Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly defeated incumbent Republican Martha McSally, but lost a seat in Alabama when incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones lost to Republican challenger Tommy Tuberville.
Republicans may want to hold off on sending at least a few of their thank you’s right away since Democrats could still potentially make gains as both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats may result in runoff elections. The special election to permanently fill the seat vacated by retired Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson has already triggered a runoff between incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock. Incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue, who was ahead in the vote count Thursday, could also face a runoff with Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff if he fails to break 50% of the vote.
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