Joe Biden has a tough time winning re-election against impeached Donald Trump in November 2024. However, his task pales in comparison to the difficulty of retaining control of the Senate, which now holds a 51-to-49 Democratic majority. In the 2024 elections, one-third of the Upper House is up for renewal and most of the seats at stake belong to Democrats. Among them are several senators from states that have become distinctly more conservative than in 2018 when they were elected to six-year terms. With West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin announcing he will not seek re-election in 2024, Republicans have a clear path to a majority.
Joe Manchin is the most Republican Democrat in Washington. His agitation within the party was a permanent headache for Biden, who was only able to win him over to the cause of deflationary legislation through concessions, his stellar action on climate, fiscal and health issues. At the time, Manchin was seen as the only Democrat with a chance of retaining the West Virginia seat for Biden’s party. He rose to prominence in his state as governor and was elected as a senator for the first time in 2010. He already won by a narrow margin in 2018, but in his home state Trump won 2020 with 68.6% of the vote, barely outpacing him by one percentage point. to Wyoming. His re-election was already very difficult. Now, a democratic victory seems unlikely.
With the West Virginia seat almost clinched, Republicans now have several opportunities to pick up the other senator they need to win a majority from Democrats. Of the 35 senators up for renewal in 2024 (33 and two to fill vacancies in California and Nebraska), 24 are Democrats and 11 are Republicans.
Donald Trump’s party may retain all its senators. Wyoming, Utah, Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and two Nebraska’s are 38 Republican states up for grabs. Changing any one of those signs would be amazing.
The opposite is true for Democrats. West Virginia’s case is more clear-cut, but there are two senators defending their position in states that Trump clearly won: Jon Tester, in Montana, and Sherrod Brown, in Ohio. Additionally, states that Biden narrowly won include Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan, which hold many Democratic seats. As if that weren’t enough, another insurgent Democratic senator, Kirsten Cinema, has left the party and will seek re-election as an independent from Arizona. That has left Democrats in a quandary over whether to back him for re-election or field their own candidate, risking a split vote handing the position to Trump’s Cary Lake.
Losing the West Virginia seat alone would result in a 50-50 tie that would be broken by the vice president. But Republicans need to steal just one of the other half-dozen at-risk seats from Democrats to reach the majority. If Trump wins the presidential election, he won’t need that extra senator, but rather a 50-50 tie and his vice-presidential casting vote.
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Control of the Senate is crucial to any president’s political agenda. Not only is its majority necessary for the approval of any law, but it is the House that has the power to approve or veto appointments of federal judges (including, as Barack Obama knows, Supreme Court appointments), ambassadors, advisers. Federal Reserve and many other senior officials. A second Biden term with the Senate in Republican hands would be hell for the president.
The decision of the House of Representatives to renew its 435 members is highly unpredictable. In the 2022 assembly elections, a total of 11 seats were decided by a margin of less than 1% and over 20 by a margin of less than 3%. The winner of a presidential election does not always wield enough influence to guarantee a majority. It remains to be seen whether voters will punish the spectacle of chaos and anarchy brought about by the impeachment of Kevin McCarthy and the election of Mike Johnson as president. However, the elections are almost a year away and any predictions on the Lower House are too early.
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