Joe Biden cannot take office with a Republican majority in the Senate. If he did, he’d be the first Democratic President since Grover Cleveland in 1885 to take office without congressional control.
And McConnell has already signaled that he would block Biden’s cabinet picks from all but the most centrist Democrats or even moderate Republicans. [Get ready for Joe Manchin, EPA administrator.]
Not to mention, big stuff like DC statehood, Puerto Rico statehood, court reform, federal marijuana legalization, infrastructure packages, renewable energy increases, etc. would be completely off the table.
So, you get the idea. We have to take back the Senate or at least tie it so Kamala Harris as VP could break ties. Since Mark Kelly and John Hickenlooper won, but Doug Jones did not, that means we still need two additional seats.
Here are the ways it’s still possible…
1. Cal Cunningham and Al Gross win their races: For some strange reason, people are acting like North Carolina’s Cal Cunningham has lost his race just because Thom Tillis has declared himself the winner. Well, Donald Trump has declared himself the winner too, and people think that is laughable. The truth is that Cunningham is only 1.8% behind Tillis and there’s still 7% of outstanding North Carolina votes left to be counted. That’s more than enough for him to win his race.
And poor Al Gross over in Alaska has to wait until next week for them to even count the majority of his state’s ballots.
Cunningham and Gross winning their races would be (by far) the easiest path to victory, but not the only one…
2. Jon Ossof and Raphael Warnock win their runoffs: In Georgia, there will be two senate run-offs, and people are (also strangely) acting like these races are already lost. They aren’t…at all.
For Warnock, people are saying “well, he’s only in a runoff because Republican Rep. Doug Collins took support from Loeffler,” but that’s dangerously untrue. There were other Democrats running against Warnock too, splitting his votes (Deborah Jackson 7%, Matt Lieberman 3%, Tamara Johnson 2%, Jamesia James 2%).
Also, without Trump’s name on the ballot, I find it hard to believe that many Republicans will show up to vote for Insider Trading Barbie–especially on a cold Georgia-in-January day racked by CoVid. Keep in mind, Loeffler was appointed to her seat and isn’t from Georgia. There’s no strong indication Georgians like her at all, and many were probably just voting for Trump.
For Ossof, his race is almost as favorable. He’s got a huge profile, and Turd-ue has tied himself heavily to Trump. Well, Trump’s not on the ballot for his diehard horde, but Trump himself will grow more unpopular by the day as he fights like a lion to steal his race, grows increasingly unhinged on Twitter, and we go through a long, CoVid-wrecked Winter. [I’m not trying to be callous, but a chunk of the Southern GOP vote could be sick with CoVid by January and not able to vote since they are not taking it seriously at all.]
And if Trump were to defect to Russia between now and January, Warnock and Ossof should be golden. But they need your donations and support.
3. Richard Burr is a criminal. He should step down or be forced down: Richard Burr committed insider trading, period. I’m not sure why he has not been arrested or forced out of the Senate yet, but that needs to change.
Burr has attempted to placate this scandal by announcing his “retirement” in 2022 and saying he won’t run again. But that’s not fast enough or good enough. He has to go NOW, and the FBI–whose director Kevin Wray just had a fatwa put on him by Steve Bannon, who was arrested by the FBI a few months ago–needs to understand the need to speed up their investigation.
If Burr is out, North Carolina has a Democratic Governor who can appoint his replacement for two years since the seat has an election coming in 2022 anyway.
4. Offer Lisa Murkowski anything to switch parties: Unlike most Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski is actually from the state she represents. Her ties to Alaska run deep, and maybe she actually cares about her state.
Joe Biden could offer her whatever Alaska needs for her to change parties: a mountain of pork, gold plated streets, legalized crystal meth, Winter Olympics bids from now until 2050, 72 virgins for every man, or whatever it takes.
Likewise, Schumer could offer her the juiciest committee assignments or whatever it takes.
I say Murkowski specifically because she’s up for reelection in 2022, and there’s no reason to believe she’ll win as it is. She only won 44% of the vote in 2016 and that’s before Trump swore he’d campaign against her.
To me, she’s a dead-woman-walking if she stays in the Republican Party.
Other targets for defection include Susan Collins (but not as likely) or Ben Sasse, who has threatened to leave the Republican Party before. But still, they don’t have nearly the incentive Murkowski does.
There’s also a 0.01% chance Biden could convince his old buddy Chuck Grassley to caucus with the Democrats his last two years in congress (Grassley is 87 years old and up for reelection in 2022 but likely won’t run again), but this is a very long shot.
5. Appoint a Republican Senator in a state with a Democratic Governor to a cabinet position: This is ranked last for a reason, and it’s nobody’s first choice, but Biden probably could get the last remaining senate votes he needs by offering cabinet positions to Republican Senators in states where a Democratic Governor would appoint their replacements.
This would be people like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin (laughable), Jerry Moran of Kansas (whoops), or the gruesome twosome from Louisiana, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy (yeah right).
In my mind, the only real candidates for this (however long a shot they may be) are…
Rand Paul: Paul is up for reelection 2022 and is an outspoken proponent of term limits. He’d be an absolute hypocrite to run again, but–of course–that never stopped his father Ron Paul from running 100 times.
Needless to say, this is a long shot, and it’s not like you could find a great place to put Paul since he and Biden fundamentally disagree on nearly everything. He’d be a horrible pick for Treasury, State, Defense, or even lower-tier cabinet positions. The only job he’d be somewhat compatible with for Biden would be Attorney General, but liberals would likely revolt at this.
You guessed it, Susan Collins: Susan Collins isn’t as radical as the men I’ve mentioned so far, and she might enjoy a cabinet position since the salary is a bit higher, and five terms in the senate may be tedious for even a stale old-timer like her. But Collins just won an incredibly expensive race and she might feel she could last in the Senate forever. Which means the Democrats best bet is…
Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania: Toomey has already said he’s not running for reelection in 2022, meaning he has nothing to lose by joining a Biden cabinet and everything to gain. Cabinet heads get a better salary and higher profile than Senators. I’m not sure the exact specifics of a cabinet head’s retirement, but that might also increase over his Senate pay too. This is the one I would start with.
Absolutely dead last bonus option: Appoint Mitch McConnell to a cabinet position or ambassadorship…McConnell is in Kentucky, which (like Rand Paul) would mean its Democratic Governor would appoint his replacement.
I don’t think it would be possible to pry McConnell out of the Senate no matter how juicy the cabinet position. Not to mention it would lead to an absolute revolt among Democratic voters.
I’m just saying, if you have literally exhausted the options…if Warnock, Ossof, Cunningham, and Gross have lost…if Richard Burr cannot be forced out…if Murkowski or Grassley refuse to defect…if Kennedy, Paul, Toomey, or Collins are uninterested in cabinet positions…if all else has failed…
“I’m proud to announce to announce the new Ambassador to Afghanistan: Mitch McConnell.”