What Does Joe Biden’s Victory and the Democrats’ New Majority in the Senate Mean for the American People?

Dino Ortega

Ever since Joe Biden’s victory was called by all major election forecasters on the morning of November 5, Democrats have been very hopeful that progressive aspects of Biden’s policy platform will become law. However, in order to make progressive policies tackling healthcare, police reform, and climate change law, Democrats needed to win a majority in the Senate by winning both of Georgia’s Senate seats in the January 5 runoff elections. 

The race for these two Senate seats, which saw Democrat Raphael Warnock challenge Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Jon Ossoff challenge Republican incumbent David Perdue, was the most expensive and widely followed Senate election in American history and ended in a victory for both Democratic challengers giving both of Georgia’s Senate seats to Democrats for the first time in the state’s history. 

Joe Biden’s Presidential inauguration and the swearing-in of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on January 20 now places the legislative and executive priorities of the United States government in the hands of the Democratic Party; the best case scenario hoped for by Democratic pundits in the interim period between the election of Joe Biden and the razor-thin Georgia runoff elections. A single party has not had a majority in both the Executive and Legislative branches since the Republican-controlled 114th Congress of 2015-2017, giving the Democrats a seldom opportunity to shape policy according to the wishes of their constituents and their ideological goals. 

However, unlike Donald Trump, Joe Biden is inheriting neither a successful economy nor stable social relations. Joe Biden is inheriting an America where thousands of Americans are dying per day from COVID and hospitals across the nation are still struggling to treat large numbers of COVID patients; an America that is still suffering from the Trump administration’s failure to properly address the economic devastation wreaked on American workers by the 2020 economic depression; an America that is haunted by specters of political polarization and antagonism that manifested in the immense Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020 and the insurrection and sacking of the US Capitol building by Trump loyalists on January 6 that continue to ferment cultural and political schisms.

The Biden’s administration inherits of a uniquely shaken America, giving him and his Democratic allies in the halls of Congress a responsibility to fulfill their promises to the American people that they would pass policy that would positively restructure the United States’ COVID response strategy according to the recommendations of the scientific community, expedite the US’ production and distribution of vaccines, amend the symptoms of systemic racism and dissolve the deep-rooted systemic institutions that cause systemic racism according to the wishes of POC communities, and pass fiscal and monetary policy that directly stimulates the economy through direct stimulus payments to Americans and economic programs that provide aid to small businesses and industries particularly impacted by COVID.

What Joe Biden’s victory and the Democrat’s new majority in the Senate means for the American people is that these promises are not only possible, but realistic.