Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated Democratic challenger Amy McGrath in the 2020 battle for his US Senate seat.
Even with McGrath’s staggering fundraising numbers and for a widely anticipated year to be good for the Democrats, McConnell remains a favorite in the race. Kentucky is a very conservative state, for which President Donald Trump won almost 30 points in 2016. Continuous polls show McConnell has a lead, sometimes double-digit increases and FiveThirtyEight’s election forecast for McConnell 95 % chance to win.
However, McConnell could lose the other way: With other Senate races across the country, it is possible ̵1; even likely, based on FiveThirtyEight’s forecast – that Democrats could gain control of Upper. institute. That could effectively turn McConnell from majority leader to minority leader. That’s not a role McConnell is unfamiliar with, as he was a minority leader from 2007 to 2015, but it’s a role that gives McConnell much less power.
McConnell did a lot with minority power during President Barack Obama’s presidency, taking advantage of fragmentation – which effectively required a majority of 60 out of 100 senators to complete the grand law – to block much of the Obama and Democratic agenda. This time, it may be different: Democrats have talked about abolishing voting if they occupy the Senate. That would greatly reduce any holdings McConnell and his caucus had over the body as a minority.
As the majority leader, McConnell’s most notable achievement was packing the courts with Republican candidates. By blocking Obama’s 2016 Merrick Garland nomination with the US Supreme Court, and shortly after putting Trump’s nominations Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the bench, McConnell helped secure Party control Republic against the courts. Then, after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, McConnell won Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination through the Senate – leaving the conservatives with a 6-3 majority.
While the Supreme Court is the clearest example of McConnell’s victory over the courts, the Trump administration and McConnell have also teamed up to fill the lower court seats – largely thanks to McConnell’s earlier refuses to fill judicial vacancies with Obama nominees. When Fox News commentator Sean Hannity said in October that he was “shocked” that Obama was unable to fill so many trials, McConnell replied: “I’ll tell you why: I’m in charge of what they are. I have done the past two years of Obama administration. ”
McConnell also outlined the key elements of Trump’s agenda. Most notably, he helped pass an unpopular tax bill that disproportionately benefits wealthy Americans by using a legislative tactic known as “conciliation” to get rid of through errors. He tried to use the same strategy to deregulate the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), but that did not gain enough Republican votes to pass.
All of this can now backfire as Democrats are currently discussing institutional changes and reforms that shouldn’t have been there a decade ago. All that talk about ending the movie reflects that. Democrats are also looking at other steps that could help undo McConnell’s achievements, including bringing the states of Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico – which would favor a Democratic majority – and adding seats. enter the Supreme Court, creating new vacancies that the Democrats can fill.
In that sense, McConnell could see a political response to his leadership style and undo much of what he did over the next few years. As Ezra Klein explains to Vox:
Under McConnell, the Senate was run by one simple principle: Parties should use as much power as possible to get the results they want. This has not been possible in previous eras, when weaker parties and stronger individual senators, when political interests stemming from geography and the media have not yet been nationalized. chemical. But that is possible now, and it’s a drastic Senate shift as an institution, with echoes McConnell cannot control and his party may regret. . Indeed, McConnell’s most profound influence on the Senate may be what he persuaded Democrats to do in response to his conspiracy.
So with Election Day results, McConnell will keep his seat. But that may not be enough, if Democrats take the Senate, to save his legacy.