Updated: Jul 2
I have spent the last week trying to find something to write about. Sadly, with COVID-19 the media focus has been pretty single-minded. That is why I wanted to write about something different. Literally, if you just Google “news”, the first ten articles are about the disease. However, there are still other things going on in the United States Obviously, the Presidential primaries are underway but with Joe Biden looking to have clinched, it is time to turn our attention to some of the less focused races, yet ones of equal importance.
For the non-Americans out there, the U.S. Senate is made up of 100 representatives, two from each state. Currently, Republicans control 53 of the seats. The senators hold six-year terms and have two of the most important roles in the United States Government. Outside of approving and authoring legislation and holding many of the other congressional powers. The Senate, unlike the House of Representatives, have power to remove a president from power, something that it has yet to ever do in the history of the United States. They also have the responsibility to approve or reject the President’s cabinet and judicial appointments.
In the case of a Trump reelection, the importance of these powers cannot be overstated enough. Four of the nine supreme court justices are over the age of 70, including progressive heroine Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has been hit with an unsettling amount of health issues. If all rolls right for Trump, he may be able to appoint 2-3 more justices. With a Biden victory, Democrats do not want to see a repeat of the failed Merrick Garland nomination in 2016, one stopped by the Republican senate run by Mitch McConnell. Therefore, in order to prevent a massive long-term shift in the structure of our judicial system, the Democrats must regain control of the Senate.
According to 270 To Win (my favorite time-waster, as you will see from a future article), there are 35 Senate races that are up for grabs. Of the 35, they rate 17 of these as contested. This gave me the chance to make a fun little chart. Democrats are in blue; Republicans are in red with the incumbent on the left side of the chart and their biggest challenger on the right:
Over the next few weeks, I will be analyzing the races in-depth but here are some things of note so far:
The only races with set candidates from both parties are McSally vs. Kelly in Arizona, Smith vs. Espy in Mississippi, and Tillis vs. Cunningham in North Carolina. Therefore, I will be writing about those first and then more as future primary results roll in.
The Republicans are clearly on the defensive. They currently control 12 of the 17 seats up for grabs here. If the Democrats flip even half and retain their current seats (the latter looks extremely likely at this point), they will take the Senate.
In-arguably the most notable name on this is Mitch McConnell. He is the current Senate Majority Leader. This makes him the most powerful senator in the country, yet he is in a tight race against his competitor. In fact, he is only 3 points up of his opponent in the most recent Hart research poll (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/kentucky/).
The other name that might jump out is Jeff Sessions, President Trump’s former Attorneys General. Their relationship is still rocky, to say the least as Trump endorsed former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in the race.
Finally, I am very clearly a progressive. I will not try to pretend that I’m not. With that being said, I am fully committed to covering these races completely fair.