While you were watching the insurrection, Democrats won the US Senate

US senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock campaign at a rally ahead of runoff elections in Atlanta, Georgia. Reuters

Earlier this week, we told readers to brace for a hellish week in US politics. As we saw Wednesday, when armed rioters, goaded by President Trump, stormed the Capitol building in a bid to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election win, this week's events turned out to be as infernal as billed — and then some.

But while we were (understandably) distracted, something else very big happened: Democrats won the US Senate, a political development with massive implications for Biden's legislative agenda over the next four years.


Georgia's nail-biter runoff elections. In winning runoff elections for both of Georgia's Senate seats Tuesday, Democrats succeeded in turning a historically-red state blue. Reverend Raphael Warnock will now make history as the first Black person from Georgia — and the first Black Democrat from the once-segregationist South — to be sworn in as a US Senator. Jon Ossoff, meanwhile, will be the first Jewish senator from the South since the 1970s.

But the results from Georgia will reverberate far beyond the Peach State. Democrats will now have control of the White House and both chambers of Congress for the first time in a decade.

A boost for Biden. The incoming president will now have a better shot at getting (parts) of his legislative agenda through Congress. In addition, Biden's picks for federal judgeships and cabinet posts will encounter little obstruction. It's even possible that there will be a Supreme Court vacancy during Biden's term.

One of Biden's early objectives will be passing a more robust COVID relief package, something Democrats have pushed for against Republican stonewalling in the Senate. That legislation, which would dole out more generous stimulus checks — a move supported by 65 percent of American voters — could also position Democrats well ahead of what will be the usual cut-throat midterm elections in 2022.

But there are limits to what Biden can do. While Biden will now have a good chance of passing legislation on issues like health care and climate change, the Democrats' razor-thin Senate majority (it's a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tie breaker vote) means that Biden will need the support of moderates on both sides of the aisle to get things done (all non-budgetary legislation requires at least 60 votes to pass in the Senate).

This means that Biden will not be able to fulfill the wishlist of progressive Democrats, whose support helped him clinch the presidency. Indeed, this is likely to deepen fissures within an already fractious Democratic party.

Progressives with massive followings, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders, will likely use their soap boxes to push for broader reform than is achievable given Biden's own centrist leanings and the limitations of a one-vote majority in the Senate. (The Democrats' majority in the House, meanwhile, is one of the slimmest in history.)

Reaching across the aisle? The dust needs to settle before we reach any meaningful conclusions about whether Trump's incessant rallying against "rigged" elections over the past few months depressed Republican turnout in traditionally-red Georgia, or what Wednesday's insurrection means for the Republican party's post-Trump future.

What we do know is that Biden plans to reach across the aisle, because he's told us — many times. But will he be able to find a handful of senators from both parties who believe that real compromise and bipartisanship is important for the country's future? And how will all that be affected by this week's events?

Biden in a bind. In a time of extreme partisanship, Biden is in a tough spot: the only way he can govern is from the center, but the center is increasingly under assault from both sides of the aisle.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

After Biden's first visit, do his European allies feel that America is back?

I think they do. Wasn't particularly surprising, we've heard that message before. But now it was, sort of more concrete issues. I'm not certain there was, sort of major, major, major progress. But there was the beginning of a dialogue on trade and technology issues with Europe, clearly on security issues with NATO, and quite a number of other issues with G7, and general satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting with Putin. So, altogether good.

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Listen: Former US Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder weighs in on US President Joe Biden's first trip abroad, which included a very important first stop at the G7 summit in the United Kingdom, and the way forward for the US and its closest friends. Did he convince allies that "America is back" and ready to resume its leadership role in global affairs? And if so, does it even matter if Americans still need to be convinced that US engagement in the world is vital? Daalder speaks with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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