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Douglas Andrews / Aug. 31, 2020

The Senate Is on the Precipice

The importance of Republican control of the upper chamber can't be overstated.

Two weeks ago, the Senate looked like a goner for the GOP. Today? Not so much. And that’s good news for our republic.

As we noted a couple of months ago, Republicans have an uphill climb. They currently hold a 53-47 majority in the upper chamber, but they’re defending as many as eight seats in competitive races this election cycle. With Joe Biden enjoying a comfortable (if highly suspect) lead in the polls, and with his fellow Democrats leading in most of the upper chamber’s competitive races, Republicans appeared to be on the verge of losing their all-important legislative roadblock against an authentically radical leftist agenda.

Then came the conventions (which, by the way, were dominated by Senate campaign advertising). The Democrats went first, and they defied history by failing to get even a smidgen of a bounce. Then came the Republicans, and by all accounts they made the most of it. President Donald Trump’s polling deficit to Biden continues to narrow. And while state-level Senate polls tend to be slow, spotty, and unreliable, we can expect to see a tightening of some crucial Senate races across the nation.

Republicans, essentially, have a 54-46 lead, with Alabama Democrat Doug Jones certain to lose his short-lived seat. This means Democrats need to flip four seats and the presidency, or five seats without the presidency, as the vice president casts the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate.

When it comes to Senate control, the stakes are colossal. As the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board reports, “This would not be your father’s Democratic Senate, or even Barack Obama’s. A Democratic majority would elevate left-wing progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse to positions of power. Normally they’d be constrained by the need to compromise with the minority to get 60 votes to pass legislation. This is what has frustrated both parties for decades, notably Republicans as recently as two years ago on entitlement, health-care and tort reform when they also held all of Congress and the White House.”

Republican control of the upper chamber has been the bane of the Democrats’ existence in recent years, and they’re poised to do away with the chamber’s 60-vote legislative filibuster — and thus its unique safeguard of minority rights — should they regain control.

What would it mean if the Democrats kept the House and took the Senate and the presidency? Mob rule. As the Journal continues, “That includes statehood, plus two Senate seats each, for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. House Democrats have passed the most far-reaching labor legislation in decades. Right-to-work laws could be banned in the states and secret union elections replaced with ‘card check’ that allows open pressure on workers. Election mandates imposing ballot harvesting and mail-in voting on states would be likely. Democrats could also expand the size of the federal appellate courts and even the Supreme Court with a mere 51 votes. The only restraint would be public opinion, but Democrats (unlike Republicans) would have a cheerleading press corps behind them.”

In short, Democrats would demolish the essential framework of our republic, and they’d stack the deck irrevocably in their favor. No one has a better sense of the stakes than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and he used his speaking slot at last week’s Republican National Convention to sound the alarm. “The Democrat Party doesn’t want to improve life for middle America,” he said. “They prefer that all of us in flyover country keep quiet and let them decide how we should live our lives.”

McConnell went on to describe the totality of control that an unbridled Democrat Party could exert over our lives: “They want to tell you when you can go to work, when your kid can go to school. … They want to tell you what kind of car you can drive, what sources of information are credible, and even how many hamburgers you can eat. They want to defund the police and take away your Second Amendment rights. They want free healthcare for illegal immigrants yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans. They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights.”

In a single sentence, McConnell then revealed how the Democrats are concealing their agenda from the American people: “Now you understand why Democrats spent an entire week telling us about who Joe Biden is, not what he intends to do.”

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