Loading articles...

How the Georgia Senate runoffs could impact Canada

epa08919443 US President-elect Joe Biden appears during a campaign rally for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock at the Georgia State University stadium parking lot in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 04 January 2020. Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are running to unseat Republican US Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in a 05 January 2021 runoff election. EPA/EDWARD M. PIO RODA

Political observers are casting Georgia’s Senate runoff elections as pivotal to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to make decisions that will affect the entire United States, and in some cases, the entire world.

“It’s about literally life or death for communities all across this country,” said Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright. “Because if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do not have a collective Congress to help them pass necessary legislation that will move this country forward, what are we going to be able to do?”

On Tuesday, Georgians will cast their ballots for the state’s two outstanding Senate seats. The outcome will decide which party will have the upper hand in the upper chamber.

Seawright tells 680 NEWS the stakes include whether laws get passed, potentially boosting Biden’s policy priorities, both domestic and foreign.

“That’s why you see so much attention around Georgia and making certain people understand how high the stakes are,” he said.

Democrats have a president in the White House and run the House of Representatives. Republicans currently control the Senate. A Democratic sweep in the runoffs would lead to a 50-50 split, in which case, tie-breaking votes would go to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Sarah Goldfeder, a former U.S. diplomat under two American ambassadors, is in favour of a gridlocked Congress.

“I do think having a tight government, having very tight margins in the House and very tight margins in the Senate are better for government and better for America overall,” she said.

Whoever wins will hold only a slim Senate margin, says Goldfeder, now an Ottawa-based consultant. That will make it harder to implement significant legislative changes.

“In many ways you can think of it like a minority government here in Canada. They have to negotiate,” she said. “If the Republicans want something or the Democrats want something, they’re going to have to win over their more moderate members.”

Regardless of what happens Tuesday, Seawright says these races will shape the coming years in U.S. politics.

“This election in Georgia is about who will be able to govern effectively and get things done for the collective United States of America,” he said.