How the Georgia Senate runoff impacts the Heartland

SIU political science director discusses runoff

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - As a major Senate race is expected to be finalized soon in the state of Georgia, it could leave a lasting indent in politics for the next few years as to who controls the Senate.

John Shaw, the director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, said the outcome will impact President-elect Joe Biden’s first 24 months in office.

“The Democrats would likely change some Senate rules to make it easier to pass legislation, allow president Biden’s nominees to get through, it would be a game changer,” said Shaw.

But if the Republican incumbents win, the GOP will control the Senate.

“They are at least in a position to block President Biden’s agenda or have at least more leverage to negotiate,” said Shaw.

He said this kind of race is rare and it does not happen often.

“It’s very unusual to have two Senate seats in play in the same year. And to have both of them go to a runoff is astonishingly unique event,” Shaw said.

But why should the people of the Heartland care? Shaw said the Senate runoff will shape national policy.

“I think they should care because it’s going to shape how Washington politics, American politics unfold over the next two years. If President Biden has working democratic majorities in congress, he’s going to be able to do things that he would not be able to do if there is a republican control of the senate,” Shaw explained.

Shaw said, in fact, if the Democrats do win, they have minimum room for mistakes.

“...and the Democrats, even if they were to win in Georgia, both Seats in Georgia, they would have no margin of error,” he said. “It would be 50/50 Senate during tie votes. You would have the vice president, Vice President Harris, who’d break the tie,” he said.

Shaw said first we must move through what is expected to be a chaotic week of politics.

“This is going to be an ugly week in American Politics,” he said. “It’s not going to be very pretty.”

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