Jan 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Trump implosion

Georgia flag over White House
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Republicans, who enabled President Trump with their silence and compliance, are privately furious with him for blowing their Senate majority.

Driving the news: Democrat Raphael Warnock was declared victor over Sen. Kelly Loeffler in one of the twin Georgia runoffs at 2 a.m., and will become the Southern state's first Black senator. Democrat Jon Ossoff is on track to beat former Sen. David Perdue in the other runoff, with most of the outstanding votes in Democratic strongholds.

That second victory would mean Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer becomes effective majority leader, taking power from Mitch McConnell.

  • In a 50-50 Senate, Vice President-elect Harris would break ties.

Why it matters: It's a fitting and predictable end to Trump’s reign.

  • The party has now lost the House, Senate and White House on his watch.
  • He leaves Democrats in full control of Washington's agenda, with only the Supreme Court's conservative majority as a counterweight.
  • As a curtain call for Trumpism, approximately a dozen senators and 100+ House Republicans today will publicly support an idea that many of them think is idiotic and doomed to fail, as they protest congressional certification of President-elect Biden's victory.

What Senate control means for Dems and Joe Biden:

  • They can try to do big spending and tax hikes via budget reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority.
  • They can jam through nominees and judicial picks if they stay united.
  • They control what comes to the floor and when.

Between the lines: It'd be tough to go big with a 50-50 Senate, so don't assume a substantial shift. But Democratic control would be a massive blow to Republican hopes of blowing up anything they truly loathe.

👀 What we're watching: Biden sources tell Axios he now can go more progressive on remaining Cabinet picks, notably attorney general and secretary of Labor.

  • Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who was fired by Trump, could now go back on the table to be Biden's attorney general.

A big winner: Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost her 2018 race for Georgia governor, galvanized Black voters and became the face of yesterday's massive Democratic turnout.

The big loser: Top Republicans blame Trump for sabotaging what should have been two easy wins — turning off suburban voters with his chaos and craziness, and sowing distrust of the Peach State election machinery with base voters.

Go deeper: Why AP declared Warnock the winner.

Go deeper