What Will It Mean For The Democrats To Take The Senate Majority?

Let me point out that even before anyone can rank conservative freshman Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Frackenlooper, there are 11 Senate Democrats with ProgressivePunch crucial "F" ratings, any of whom could show their cherished bipartisanship on any given roll call; by voting with the Republicans. And, despite what you may be seeing on Twitter, West Virginia reactionary Joe Manchin isn't even the worst. Here are the 11 F-rated worst Democrats in the Senate with their lifetime crucial vote scores:

  • Kyrsten Sinema (AZ)- 46.88

  • Joe Manchin (WV)- 52.98

  • Mark Kelly (AZ)- 62.50

  • Angus King (I-ME)- 65.58

  • Mark Warner (VA)- 69.16

  • Tom Carper (DE)- 70.15

  • Maggie Hassan (NH)- 72.71

  • Tim Kaine (VA)- 76.44

  • Chris Coons (DE)- 76.89

  • Michael Bennet (CO)- 77.02

  • DiFi (CA)- 78.96

Sinema is also a psychopath, so utterly undependable and, don't overlook Independent Angus King's ability to switch any time he decides to. In all likelihood, Frackenlooper will quickly sink to the bottom of the barrel where he will remain for his entire Senate career. Warnock is likely to be a decent Senate, a progressive instinct perhaps tempered by non-stop advice and pressure to "moderate" his instincts. Ossoff has no instincts as strong as his careerism and I expect him to drift down into the "F" category within a year. He'll never be as bad as Sinema or Manchin, but I can see him as the new Dianne Feinstein once she finally dies or retires or gets committed to a mental institution.

Ossoff-- and other values-free, tepid Democrats-- would do well to pay close attention to what Bernie told his supporters this morning: "What last night’s victories in Georgia proved is that when people have something to vote for rather than just vote against, when we prioritize organizing and mobilizing, our progressive agenda can win anywhere... [I]t is critically important to remind everyone that over the final days of the campaign, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden made it clear: elect Democrats to these seats and we are going to pass legislation providing $2,000 for every working class American to help them during this pandemic. They gave people something to vote for. And they won."

Now, it wasn’t long ago that we were told to be quiet and settle for less.
We were told to accept $600 per person, and that we were lucky to even get that.
But we said no. And while delaying the vote in the Senate didn’t make me a lot of new friends, it was the right and important thing to do.
Because during that time you made your voices heard and made $2,000 per person a national issue. And by the time Georgians voted, our legislation was supported by the vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in the state and was a deciding factor in many of their votes.
That is how we win.
We were not distracted by Trump, Perdue and Loeffler’s antics. We kept the focus on a progressive agenda. Not just $2,000 per person, but raising the minimum wage was also an important issue in the final days of the campaign.
And we cannot go back to the old ways.
Because voting for our progressive agenda, which the American people support, is not risky. What is risky would be to go back to the old way of thinking small.
With the presidency and majorities in the House and Senate, NOW IS THE TIME for us to come together, to help families get through this pandemic, to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of the American middle class, and to make certain that our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security, and joy.
And if we do that, not only will we win in 2022, but we will transform our country.

In terms of the nitty gritty, a 50-50 split means Kamala Harris is going to be very busy breaking ties... constantly, unless Sinema and Manchin start trending even redder or, conversely, in Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski start trending less red. This morning, DC p.r. firm, the Clyde Group, looked at the fallout from Georgia and told its clients that "Regardless of any 50-50 arrangement that Democratic Leader Schumer and Republican Leader McConnell work out, committee chairs will rotate, Biden nominations that may have been in peril now have new life, and Democrats can now use an arcane but powerful tool-- budget reconciliation-- to enact a sweeping agenda."

Unless the Democrats change the Senate rules to abolish the filibuster, McConnell can still bottle up anything he choses to. Manchin has already announced he will oppose that and I suspect he won't be the only Democrap who will.

Still, Schumer can now use budget reconciliation-- which is not subject to filibusters-- "addressing federal spending, tax policy, and the debt limit," wrote the folks at Clyde. "These limitations still allow for massive and meaningful legislation to be considered on a simple majority vote. With Republicans unlikely to join with Democrats to pass major legislation, expect to hear a lot more about this wonky process in the months to come."

As for the new Senate chairs, Bernie chairing the Budget Committee (instead of Wyoming crackpot Mike Enzi) will be gigantic and very consequential. Of course, many other moves won't be as meaningful-- like Energy and Natural Resources going from Murkowski to Manchin-- but these are the other ones that really will make big differences:

  • Appropriations goes from Richard Shelby (R-AL) to Pat Leahy (D-VT)

  • Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs goes from Mike Crapo to Sherrod Brown (R-OH)

  • Finance goes from Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to Ron Wyden (D-OR)

  • Judiciary goes from Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to Dick Durbin (D-IL)

With Senator McConnell running the senate and controlling the floor, Republicans essentially had a veto card on any Biden nominee. That’s no longer the case.
Republicans still have procedural tools at their disposal to force Democrats to burn valuable floor time confirming thousands of federal nominees and judges, but McConnell can no longer unilaterally prevent them from coming to the floor for a vote.
Nominees who drew the early ire of Republicans, like OMB Director nominee Neera Tanden, now simply need to consolidate Democratic support and have Majority Leader Schumer put their nomination on the floor in order to be confirmed. Biden’s transition has tended to nominate moderates with the potential to sway a few centrist Republicans, but if they elect to move a bit towards the left, they now have the freedom to do so.
When it comes to filling Judicial vacancies, President-elect Biden was staring at an immovable object in Mitch McConnell. Any judge that didn’t meet McConnell’s criteria might never sit on the federal bench. That changed overnight. With recommendations from home-state senators, the Biden administration can nominate and actually receive floor votes on federal judges who could tip the courts back to the middle. Progressives are already pushing Supreme Court Justice Breyer to step down so that Democrats are assured the chance to fill his seat.