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Opinion | How a Simple Twist of Fate Could End Democrats’ Control of the Senate



Opinion | How a Simple Twist of Fate Could End Democrats’ Control of the Senate

But there’s another possibility that should also have theDemocrats are reaching out to the Maalox: A random act ofYour fate could change the SenateOver to theRepublicans should not wait until January next year, but next summer or next month or next week. It is possible to trigger an illness or death. a political earthquake — by almost instantly switching control of the nation’s top legislative body.

States have arange ofLegislation regarding replacement aThe senator who died, but the large majority — 37 — call on theGovernor to Pick a successor. Only seven of these are required. theGovernor to select someone in thethe same party. So, there are 30 states. theGovernor can choose any senator he/she wants.

Practically, that means that there are nine states in which this sums up. of Jan. 15), aRepublican Governor has theauthority to replace one or both of the Democratic senators. If aOnly one Democratic senator in any given state ofThese states had to be dissolved. theRepublican governor ofThis state could appoint aReplacing the GOP would be immediate theParty a 51-49 Senate majority.

When Glenn Youngkin becomes Virginia’s governor later this month, he will join aGroup ofTwo Democratic senators in a state are the GOP governors. These include Arizona, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Ohio and Montana also have one Democratic senator. aRepublican governor. (There’s another set of states, ofNaturally, it is possible to do so with theContrary dynamic: Louisiana and North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas all have aDemocratic governor, two Republican senators, and three other, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. aOne Republican senator and one Democratic governor. Of theThese states are only available in Maryland, Arizona and North Carolina. theAssured parties of(State law requires that they be allowed to keep their seats.)

There was aA brief flutter ofConcerns about the succession of senators were raised by Pat Leahy, an 80-year-old Vermont Democrat, who entered into January 2012. the hospital. If he was unable to work due to health reasons ofwho would Republican governor Phil Scott name as his nominee for office? Scott’s about as “un-Republican” aLeahy was a strong Republican figure and he recovered quickly. But theThe larger issue is still relevant, as uncomfortable as it might be to consider.

And it’s an issue magnified by the erosion ofOnce a hallmark of the United States, collegiality and friendship were a key part of its identity. ofHow the Senate operated. An earlier era dealt with an instabil balance within an evenly divided body. ofSharing it or making accommodations can give you power. These prospects are more likely today. a pastoral fantasy.

Although it might seem morbid, thinking too concretely about what will happen when you do this may be disturbing. aSenator dies, or is forced by illness to resign from office. But a way it’s irresponsible not to. Only three senators died in office, the last decade, the actuarial reality — 26 senators are 70 years old or more — deserves attention. (Fate, ofOf course, there is no such thing as a respecter ofAge: Robert Kennedy was 42 at the time he was assassinated. Paul Wellstone was only 58 when Wellstone died. aPlace crash). There have also been instances when the Senate has lost a remarkable number ofIts members. 1953: theThe 83rd Congress was started with 48 Republicans and 47 Democrats. One independent represented the other. the48 states were then created the Union. Union. theCourse of thesession, not fewer than nine senators perished in office, while another resigned.

This is how it works aClose vote to begin with at theTime, what has happened? On several occasions, theIn fact, the senators were appointed from theOther party. But the SenateWas a very different place then — and effectively its power didn’t really change hands.

Ohio Gov. Frank Lausche succeeded Robert Taft, an Ohio Republican who died in office in July 1953. Frank Lausche replaced him by Thomas Burke. Democrats were able to take advantage of this. a 48-47 majority — but the independent, Sen. Wayne Morse, who’d left theGOP Out ofHe voted to keep because of his antipathy toward Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy and Joseph McCarthy. theGOP at the helm of the chamber for thesake ofComity and continuity.

Other deaths during theSession would give Democrats another chance aSingle-vote majority but Democratic leader Lyndon Johnson never asked for it the issue. Why not? You should! theJohnson was first aware of his surroundings. of President Dwight Eisenhower’s popularity, and he wanted to position his party as cooperative. He was wise enough to realize that not everyone is as they seem. of Ike’s most fervent opposition in the SenateRather than Democrats, it was more conservative Republicans who were bringing this about. Second, theRule of filibuster and theRepublican in theJohnson would have been stopped by the White House if he had attempted to enact anything similar. aDemocratic legislative agenda. Concerning the power to confirm judicial appointments, theProcess back in the ’50s had none of theIts current partisan implications. Finally, theCollegiality relative ofWashington meant that an evenly divided nation would be equal SenateJohnson could be granted concessions on issues such as committee assignments in exchange for not challenging the Republicans’ organizational control.

It happened that the Democrats won control of Congress in November 1954. of the Senate — aThey would have control over them thethe next 26 years. Since then, the numerical control has not been shifted by any senatorial death of thechamber, though it almost happened when South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson got struck by a brain hemorrhage in 2006).

Today, if aRepublican governor sent aTo replace a party member a deceased Democrat, it’s hard to imagine Mitch McConnell — or any Republican leader — agreeing to let Democrats keep thePower to organize the Senate. Und zu stellen a bipartisan spin on theJeffords’ departure the GOP in 2001 and announced he’d align with the Democratic caucus, did Daschle decline theChance for his party’s success the majority?

It’s this combination ofAn evenly divided Senate theNature scorched-earth of today’s political battles that makes this exercise more than just morbid speculation. Governors have been selecting members ofTheir own party will replace senators of thefor many years. It can even happen in national tragedies: theRobert Kennedy, an icon of the Democratic Party was assassinated on 28 October 1968. theNelson Rockefeller was elected Republican Governor of New York. a Republican, Charles Goodell.) Governors have been named in more than 200 cases dating back over 100 years. aReplacing theOnly three times for the other party

However, you can now get with the SenateMajority of them hanging by theThe thinnest ofThreads are the traditional gubernatorial power that looms as aA potentially fatal blow to Democratic Control over theNext year. (Faced With aPotential shift ofPower that a sudden SenateMcConnell would be able to trigger a vacancy. McConnell would follow Lyndon Johnson’s lead and keep his hand, allowing Democrats to maintain organizational control. the Senate? It’s possible, but is there anything in his past that suggests McConnell would decline to grasp another lever of power?)

One final note: This threat to Democratic dominance of the SenateIs not the most extreme possibility. The 25th Amendment explains how our system handles this. a president unable to discharge the duties of the office: theVice president aMajority of theCabinet can make these aFinding, and in this case, theVice president temporarily assumed the role the duties of the office.

But what happens if? aVice President becomes incompetent the duties of the office? If she or he falls ill, or is severely injured, there’s no mechanism to off-load the job to anyone else — which means that in a 50-50 Senate, there’d be no one to break a tie. (If this seems impossible) thePale, we just learned that Harris was at the Democratic National Committee headquarters while an undiscovered bomb was outside theBuilding on January 6, 2021.

Do such thoughts seem comforting? Well, it makes worries over Joe Manchin’s possible defection aIt is much easier to see.