How many US senators are military veterans
"Let this moment radicalize you"
When the news of the death of the liberal Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg became known, the ActBlue donation ticker began to run faster and faster. The digital donation platform has become the preferred vehicle for grassroots donors of the US Democrats in recent years. With just a few clicks, voters can express their financial support for their favorite politicians from the comfort of their own home - or express their disapproval, express their anger and do something about their own impotence. In this case it was more like the latter.
The concerned base, which has been preparing for months in the media for the demise of the liberal icon, who has been hyped as the star of women's emancipation, fears the end of legal abortions in the country and decades of conservative dominance at the Supreme Court. It is expected that this will throw the country back socio-politically or declare progressive democratic legislation invalid. Because the Democrats are in the minority in the US Senate, they cannot prevent Amy Coney Barrett, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's successor, from being appointed. So the base of the party donated to help the Democrats gain a majority in the US upper house from at least January 2021. Within 24 hours of Ginsburg's death becoming known in late September, $ 71 million was received from 1.2 million donors on the platform - much of it going to Senate Democratic nominees. Even after that, donations continued.
The result: The Democrats in the 14 most competitive Senate elections, with a total of around $ 84 million in the first two weeks of October alone, collected twice as many campaign donations as the Republican incumbents. Major donors now come to their aid, at least partially at the last minute. Money alone will not bring the Democrats any Senate election victories, but the full election campaign coffers have put the party on the offensive, in some more conservative states they can now dominate the television screens with their advertisements and thus also reach voters beyond the core clientele.
In the spring, the Democrats only had an outsider's chance of winning a majority in the Senate. Without a majority there, President Joe Biden's hands would be tied on numerous projects. He could neither enforce corona aid nor reforms in the health care system or in climate policy. Filling judges would also be impossible without the approval of Republican senators. Observers reckoned the Democrats had chances of achieving electoral successes in the demographically towards the Democratic states of Colorado and Arizona, where the popular former governor of the state John Hickenlooper and the ex-astronaut Mark Kelly are running. And in Maine and North Carolina, Sarah Gideon, the Democrat spokeswoman in the Maine state parliament, and lawyer and military veteran Cal Cunningham have a good chance because the more moderate swing voters in the swing states reject Trump. But beyond that, things didn't look good for the Democrats.
The reason: the structural advantage for the Republicans in the House of Lords. Each US state has two senators - the conservative 580,000 resident state of Wyoming as well as the 39 million state of California. Since the voters of the Grand Old Party are mostly found in rural and sparsely populated areas, the Democrats have to win nationwide by six to seven percent to get a majority of the seats in the Senate.
Senate elections will take place in 35 states this year. The Republicans currently have 53 senators and the Democrats 47 senators. In order to achieve a majority, the Democrats must win at least three seats - assuming that they will also win the presidency: if there is a 50/50 balance of power, the vote of the vice president decides, i.e. the possible vice president Kamala Harris.
It's almost certain that Conservative Alabama Democrat Doug Jones will lose his seat. He was only elected to a vacant seat in the 2018 by-election because of credible allegations against Republican candidate Roy Moore of sexually molesting minors. The only other Democratic Senator that analysts see as "vulnerable" is Michigan-based Gary Peters, who comes out on top in most polls but outside the margin of error.
Because of the likely loss of seats in Alabama, the Democrats will have to win at least four additional seats so that their agenda from 2021 cannot be thwarted by blockade policies by the Republicans in the US upper house, as the Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell did with the Obama administration from 2010. The Democrat-friendly mood in the polls - Joe Biden is currently leading with around nine percent on average - and the rain of donations from the base have opened seven more states in the past few weeks.
In the farming state of Iowa, Democrat candidate and entrepreneur Theresa Greenfield is ahead of incumbent Joni Ernst in the majority of polls. The Republican recently embarrassed herself when she was unable to give the current price of soy when asked by journalists. In the more conservative mountain state of Montana, the popular Democrat Governor Steve Bullock, who successfully got Montana through the coronavirus pandemic, is close on the heels of the Republican incumbent, leads or, depending on the poll, is within the error range of the polls. In Georgia, it is possible that Democrat Jon Ossof will force incumbent David Perdue into the runoff election. The second Senate electoral seat in the state will also be reassigned due to a by-election. Atlanta Pastor Raphael Warnock could make it into the runoff election after his campaign picked up speed in recent weeks.
In Alaska, which voted Trump 15 percentage points ahead of Trump in 2016, the doctor Al Gross, who poses as an independent down-to-earth fisherman and competes as a non-party, but is supported by the Democrats, is sitting on the Republican incumbent's neck. In Kansas, which is actually similar to Republican, some polls show doctor and former state senator Barbara Bollier, who defected to the Democrats, in a tie or even in front of her Republican adversary - the Democrats have not won a Senate election in the Prairie State since 1932.
In South Carolina, which is also “deep red”, Republican Senator Linsey Graham, who made a name for himself as a Trump critic in 2016 but has now turned into a loyal supporter of the president and as chairman of the judiciary committee in the US Senate, must confirm the new Supreme Court Judge Barret, suddenly fighting for his re-election. His challenger Jaime Harrison, a former lobbyist and ex-Democrat chairman in the state, is suddenly level and raised a record $ 57 million in campaign funds in the third quarter. This is so much that Harrison can not only dominate the television screens in the state with his advertisements, but can also fund a shadow campaign to split the conservative voices in the state. Because there are two conservatives on the ballot: Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe dropped out of the race too late. Should he get three to four percent of the vote, he could take away just enough votes from Graham to get Harrison.
“Let this moment radicalize you,” said the popular left-wing Democrat politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the supporters of her party. In the days after Ginsburg's death, angry left-wing liberal intellectuals popularized demands that had only been made on the left in previous years. In order to break the permanent Republican advantage in the US Senate, if you are in the majority from 2021, you should make Washington DC a state - a corresponding law has already been passed by the Democrats in the House of Representatives - and also Puerto Rico in the US - Record the state union. "Guam, do you want to go in too?" A Democrat strategist told Politico, referring to the US-occupied Pacific island, expressing the "all options are on the table" mood. Even if the Republicans counter with outraged rhetoric, there are several precedents for the strategy: at the end of the 19th century, the Republicans repeatedly accepted new states into the US confederation in order to shift the balance of power in the parliamentary upper house in their favor.
Also read: Recent Polls - Our graphs on the presidential election, the US Senate and the US House of Representatives
Another prominent demand that has been put on the table by indignant Democrats in recent weeks is the end of the "filibuster," the majority rule of 60 votes for most legislative projects. This has a long parliamentary tradition, but it is only a procedural rule that can be changed. Left critics have long seen it as a brake on social progress, because it requires large parliamentary majorities and because of the necessary concessions to senators of the other party, it dilutes or even makes legislative projects impossible and thus maintains the status quo.
After years of Republican blockade, the breaking of norms and the relentless power politics of the Republicans during the presidency of Barak Obama, conservative Democrats like West Virginia's Senator Joe Manchin and Chris Coons from Delaware are also open to an end to the rule. The Republicans' blocking stance was most evident when, with their Senate majority, they refused the appointment of Supreme Court judge Merrick Garland at the end of the Obama presidency, citing the near election, while they now have a new judge even closer to the ballot box Senate confirm. At the end of July, Obama described the filibuster as a "relic of the Jim Crow era" - and the words of the ex-president, who is still admired in the party, carry weight in the party.
For the Supreme Court, by the way, Democratic strategists are simply considering increasing the number of judges. There are also precedents for this: In several states, the Republicans have changed the number of judges in the highest state courts in the past in order to secure judicial majorities that are convenient for them.
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