Now that Democrats have held onto the Senate, you might be tempted to disregard the results of the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff — where Republican Herschel Walker is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock — as inconsequential. But that's where you're wrong. In fact, a 51st Democratic senator could change a lot for both parties.
For one thing, having an extra member in their caucus would afford Democrats a slight cushion to pass key legislation. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) could no longer single-handedly block bills; rather, they'd both need to be opposed should they hope to stifle advancement, surely to Republicans' chagrin. Further, as both journalist Steven Dennis and Vox point out, Democrats would also be able to confirm federal judges with a simple majority, providing "an important counterweight to the raft of federal judges appointed by former President Donald Trump and confirmed by a Republican Senate," Vox writes.
Additionally, a Warnock victory means "no power-sharing in the organizing resolution," tweeted strategist Dante Atkins. "Dems have a majority on committees. No more deadlocks, no more discharge petitions for floor votes. That massively accelerates both the legislative process and the confirmation process."
And what's more, Atkins notes, having a 51st Democratic senator (and only 49 of the Republican variety) would free up Vice President Kamala Harris for more "policy and campaigning," since she wouldn't need to "babysit the Senate all of the time." It would also afford Dems up to 2 absences.
So the bottom line? Democrats should "work for Warnock just as hard as you could if you thought that Schumer's gavel depended on it," Atkins concludes. "Because as far as you know, at some point in the next two years, it very well could."