United States: one election can hide another

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We are only talking about the clash between Joe Biden and Donald Trump for the White House. But there is another equally crucial battle that plays out on Tuesday, November 3: control of the Senate, with its vast powers. Because if the Democratic candidate wins and the Senate remains Republican, the latter will do everything to block the program of the new president, the recovery plan essential to save the economy, health reform, the return to health. Paris agreement on the climate and the implementation of environmental protection measures …

A year ago, at the start of the campaign, Republicans seemed assured of keeping their majority in the Senate, where they hold 53 seats against 47 for the Democrats. But the pandemic, among others, has changed that. In recent weeks, in several states, the gaps between candidates have narrowed and a Democratic victory no longer seems completely impossible.

It’s all played out in eight states

This Wednesday, 35 seats are in contention: 12 held by the Democrats and 23 by the Republicans. The novelty this year is that they find themselves on the defensive even in usually conservative states, like Texas, Kansas, South Carolina or Montana. In 2016, Donald Trump won in this mountainous state in the northwest of the United States with a 20-point lead. In 2020, the Republican candidates had to deploy heavy artillery, hoping for a last-minute jump from their base.

The battle is probably fought in eight states. The reference site Cook Political Report places two Republican seats in the “Leaning Democratic side” category and seven (including two in Georgia) in the “50/50” category, which can switch to one camp or the other. On the other hand, the site only lists a Democratic seat threatened with falling into the Republican purse. If Donald Trump wins, Democrats need a net gain of at least four seats to control the Senate. If Joe Biden wins, they only need a net gain of three seats, since the vice president’s vote decides in the event of a tie in the upper house. “The question is less and less to know if the Democrats will take back the majority in the Senate, but rather what will be the size of this majority”, estimates Charlie Cook.

Democrats’ popularity in the polls is because they recruited good candidates, who were able to spend lavishly on the campaign through massive fundraisers and of course disaffection with the campaign. of the Trump administration.

A last minute scandal

The two states Democrats have the best chance of recapturing are Colorado and Arizona. Republicans, on the other hand, should get Alabama back. Elsewhere – in Maine, North Carolina and Iowa – the ballot remains very tight, judging from the polls. The Democrat is also closely behind his rival in South Carolina, Montana and in the two elections in Georgia.

It’s not win. In North Carolina, for example, Democrat Cal Cunningham was given a big favorite. And then, a few weeks ago, he admitted to having exchanged very suggestive texts with a married woman, which altered his model image of father of a family, veteran in Iraq. He remains in the lead in the polls, but this last-minute scandal has given a little boost to Thom Tillis, the outgoing Republican. Is this enough for him to be re-elected? No one knows. Both candidates spent over $ 250 million on the campaign, making it the costliest Senate election in history.

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