No-one here seems to be paying attention to the Senate.
November 8, 2000 7:44 AM   Subscribe

No-one here seems to be paying attention to the Senate. The following states replaced Republican Senators with Democratic Senators: Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri.
Meanwhile, Virginia replaced a Democrat with a Republican.
Washington State is too close to call. If Washington goes D, we get a 50-50 Senate and THAT will be a confusing mess; who gets to head all the committees? There won't be a majority party. [more]
posted by Steven Den Beste (23 comments total)
Now I think that like all tie-breakers, the "President of the Senate" (also known as the Vice President of the United States) would be the deciding factor. But the fact remains that a 50:50 Senate will be an interesting situation, because it means that the "majority" party (the party of the President) has to maintain particularly strong party discipline -- NO defections at all on votes -- or they won't be able to get their bills through.

It's gonna be an interesting 4 years.

This info is dated last night; maybe the Washing State race has been called by now. I'll check.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:46 AM on November 8, 2000

The Washington Republican has a lead of 3,000 votes but they're still counting. We'll have to wait.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:52 AM on November 8, 2000

I've heard that Republicans still maintain majority in both houses. I think it's decided by 2 seats. It would be horrible if 50:50 happens.
posted by tiaka at 7:53 AM on November 8, 2000

Remember, if Gore wins Lieberman will lose the seat that he won yesterday, and the Republican governer of Connecticut will appoint a replacement. At least....that's what I heard on the radio.
posted by pnevares at 8:05 AM on November 8, 2000

The Missouri candidate who won was killed in a plane crash three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, one of the Florida Senate seats is held by a man who is 97 years old (he's Republican).

It's been a weird election, my friends...

Actually, a 50:50 Senate would be pretty cool, because it would mean that the Vice President would have a real job and would have to actually carry it out. He's supposed to be President of the Senate, but usually isn't there. We might actually have a term in which the Vice President actually matters.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 8:28 AM on November 8, 2000

The Missouri election is not settled, and will be the subject of at least one lawsuit, as it should. IOW, don't count anything for granted.
posted by Dreama at 8:51 AM on November 8, 2000

The scenarios with a 50-50 tie:

If Gore wins, then Lieberman loses his seat in the senate, and the Republican Governor of Connecticut gets to appoint a canidate to replace him.

Advantage: Republicans

If Bush wins, then the Tie remains, but the deciding vote in a tie (50-50) vote is cast by the Vice President.

Advantage: Republicans

So either way, the Senate will be Republican, though rarely do the parties split exactly down the middle when voting... usually one or two who vote opposite of thier party.
posted by da5id at 9:05 AM on November 8, 2000

Another factor to consider is the health of two senators: 97-year-old Strom Thurmond of South Carolina (not Florida) and Jesse Helms of North Carolina, who is in frail shape physically. Both states have Democratic governors who likely would appoint Democratic replacements if either can't finish his term. Strom's ends in 2004, while Helms is up again in 2002.
posted by thescoop at 9:41 AM on November 8, 2000

Any updates on the Washington Senate race?
posted by snarkout at 10:00 AM on November 8, 2000

Factoid from the news: This will probably be the first time since 1953 that the Republicans ruled all three houses-- 1953!!

That just tells you about the sort of mindstate we are in. I mean, in the fifties all you had to do was promise a chicken in every pot and a bomb pointed at every nation.

I hope they bring Donna Reed back to television..
posted by schlomo at 10:13 AM on November 8, 2000

Another factor to consider is the health of two senators

This is a big one as evidenced in Delaware where popular (I assume, he is with me anyway) Senator Roth collapsed twice during campaign events. He lost with 44% of the vote.
posted by daveadams at 10:16 AM on November 8, 2000

There are extremely few politicians I hate more than Jesse Helms. I feel no guilt whatever is saying I'm glad to hear his health is poor and he may have to leave the Senate. The sooner the better. I don't even care who replaces him.

His campaigns have always been extremely vile, but never more so than the last one, when his opponent was black (and represented a credible threat).

posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:25 AM on November 8, 2000

If the Republicans have a majority in both the House and Senate, their majority will be so thin that it would be wrong to think of them as having what amounts to iron control over them. There's way too much opportunity for defections, and now it only takes a couple in either chamber.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:27 AM on November 8, 2000

I can't think of a proper thread to post this in. I was shocked at huge number of people running unopposed in Chicago. I understand, as in the city proper everyone who is not a Democrat gets pasted, but it is still sickening. I refuse to vote for anyone running alone, I don't want to be part of the joke. I am very grateful to the two Libertarian candidates who kept Luis G.(Dem) and Rod B.(Dem) from retaining their Congressional seats without any challenge. At least give me a patsy Democrat to run against the incumbent.
posted by thirteen at 10:28 AM on November 8, 2000

Well, Helms has been coy about whether he'd even run, and that's led to all sorts of speculation in North Carolina about who might run on the GOP ticket (including Elizabeth Dole). Otherwise, the Senate races in 2002 look pretty tame, with most incumbents lacking a strong challenge.
posted by thescoop at 10:31 AM on November 8, 2000

Oh, by the way, I'd like to bring up an interesting thing: the filibuster.

A filibuster in the Senate can only be ended by a vote of "cloture" (correct spelling, don't ask me where the word comes from) but for it to pass requires 60%.

So even if the Republicans end up controlling the Senate, they do not have the ability to prevent filibusters. Don't be too surprised to see a lot of them. The Democrats have the ability, if they're willing to be obnoxious, to kill any bill by using Parkinson's second law:

"Delay is the deadliest form of denial."

As long as debate continues (which is what a filibuster amounts to) then you can't vote on a measure, which means it can't pass.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2000

re: cloture
An excellent point, especially if Senate Democrats can exhibit the same sort of unity they displayed this year. But some of the Democrats elected last night have centrist (read: somewhat conservative) positions on fiscal issues, which could lead to some action on budget matters.

Roth's loss really shakes up the Finance Committee, which is losing its chairman (Roth) and ranking member (Pat Moynihan of New York), along with at least 2 other members.

For abortion-rights supporters, there actually should be a majority in the Senate since Republican Lincoln Chafee won reelection.
posted by thescoop at 11:12 AM on November 8, 2000

Actually, in the Missouri Senate race, Ashcroft has decided not to challenge Carnahan's election.

posted by harmful at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2000

I just love the fact that a dead man in Missouri was elected over the Republican incumbent (and kudos to Ashcroft for having the class not to contest it).

Steven Den Beste, as far as the last election of Helms goes, it wasn't even close. I should know since I live in North Carolina. Helms will get elected again with ease if he chooses to run again and I feel certain he will. I don't like it any more than you do. Hell, we can't even get rid of our local racist Republican representative who doesn't like the fact that blacks can belong to one of the county clubs he belongs to. He just won his seat by thirty points or so.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 12:03 PM on November 8, 2000

As long as it's not close enough for a recount, why contest the Missouri race? The governor is a Democrat, so they'd still get the seat if he appointed someone.
posted by astrogirl at 12:32 PM on November 8, 2000

Speaking of filibusters and Strom Thurmond, one of his notable accomplishments is the longest filibuster in history, against a civil rights bill. I feel completely justified and righteous saying I hope that both Thurmond and Helms are incapacitated early in their terms. Anyone appointed is likely to be better.

Georgia's new senator, Zell Miller, is great. One of the few Ga. elections I agree with.
posted by kidsplateusa at 12:34 PM on November 8, 2000

RE the Missouri race:

The governor is appointing someone: Jean Carnahan, the late Governor's widow. That has been known for some time. The people of Missouri elected Jean Carnahan, not "a dead guy." But in fairness to Ashcroft (who is also very well liked in Missouri), it's hard to campaign against a widow, and Ashcroft didn't do much campaigning the last few weeks, and what he did focused exclusively on himself, not his opponent.
posted by daveadams at 12:50 PM on November 8, 2000

re: Thurmond filibuster

Is that the one where he read from a phone book for a couple days?
posted by capt.crackpipe at 1:05 AM on November 9, 2000

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