Georgia Senate election is a game changer for Biden; Trump's effect on GOP's future
Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on US politics:
First question. What do the results of the Georgia Senate election mean?
Well, this is a real game changer for President Biden. He came into office with the most progressive agenda of any president in modern history and the Republicans controlling the Senate were prepared to block all of that. That meant no education spending, no healthcare spending, very little green energy spending and probably no stimulus spending, further COVID stimulus spending this year. Now the Democrats seem to have a majority in the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives. All of that can get done as well as tax increases in order to finance it. The concern now for the Democrats is overreach that could lead to backlash. They have very thin majorities in the House, and the trend has been that in the first midterm for a new president, you almost always lose seats in the House. Democrats can't really afford to lose too many. That may cause them to moderate some of their plans.
Second question. What's the future for President Trump and the Republican party?
Last night's Georgia elections were not good for President Trump. He really campaigned hard for the two Republican candidates. They really embraced him and ran as Trump Republicans in a state that's rapidly moderating and turning purple-ish, if not all the way blue. But the problem is for the Republicans is that President Trump has a strong base of voters who are very loyal to him. Many of them are here in Washington this week to protest the counting of the electoral college votes. Ultimately that will be a futile effort, but the fact that they're here, they're passionate supporters, they make up a big chunk of the Republican base, it's going to create problems the Republican party in the 2022 primaries. And you've got seats in the Senate in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, traditional swing states where they're going to have either vulnerable Senate Republican incumbents or open seats. And the primaries there are going to be quite competitive. If a Trump backed person emerges from those primaries, they're probably going to lose in the general election the way Loeffler and Perdue did in Georgia. It's going to be hard for Republicans to take back the majority in the Senate as long as that dynamic persists.
Third question. Why are Republicans objecting to the electoral counts this week?
Well, the reason is that the president's in spinning these conspiracy theories about fraud in Arizona, Georgia, and a couple of other states. And he's got enough allies, which shows this depth of his support in Congress that about a quarter of Senate Republicans are set to object and potentially several dozen, potentially maybe over 100 House Republicans are going to object on his behalf. Ultimately, this is going to fail. It's basically just theater. The Republicans want to signal to the world that they are aligned with President Trump. They're likely to face a lot of blowback repudiation from members of their own party.