Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, expressed optimism that President-elect Joe Biden can work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, if the GOP retains a majority in the Senate.
The Democrats had hoped to turn both the Senate and the White House around, with forecasts and polls suggesting that this was a realistic possibility. But when the election results became known, the Democrats actually lost seats in the House of Representatives and were only able to win one seat in the Senate. The two Senate elections in Georgia, however, will be decided in the runoff election in January, which gives the Democrats some hope for a 50-50 split in the upper house of Congress.
In this scenario, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will serve as President of the Senate, would cast decisive votes in the event of a tie. However, given the political composition of conservative Georgia and the fact that Biden leads the state by just 0.2 percent of the vote, the Democrats are far from guaranteed to win one or both Senate seats.
“I know that he [Biden] is absolutely committed to an infrastructure package. I think he’s the kind of president who wants to bring people together,” Whitmer told the Detroit Free Press in a post-election interview published Monday. “He will certainly have to work with Mitch McConnell, but they have a long relationship, and I think if anyone can find common ground, it’s Joe Biden.
Whitmer first supported Biden in early March and has often spoken affectionately about the former vice president. The governor was even considered a possible candidate for the presidential election before he chose Harris, a California senator.
The Democrat from Michigan then ran alongside Biden and Harris in her state in the Midwest, which fell behind the Democrats in the presidential contest by a margin of 2.7 percent (or about 146,000 votes). Trump narrowly won Michigan 2016 with only 0.2 percentage points (or less than 11,000 votes) after the state had fielded Democratic presidential candidates in every election since 1992.
Biden served in the Senate for more than three decades before becoming vice president under former president Barack Obama in 2008. He served alongside McConnell and many other Democratic and Republican members who remain in the upper house of Congress. Many Democrats, however, are concerned that GOP legislators will work to block all legislative priorities pushed by the Biden Administration, as they did during Obama’s term in the White House.
“We’re not naive about how great the obstruction of the GOP might be, but we do know that the Senate will be under significant pressure from the public and voters across the country – as well as from its allies in business and across Washington – to take action on the economic and health care crisis, endorse the candidates and rebuild federal agencies with competent officials,” a spokesman for Biden’s transition team said in an e-mail to Washington Newsday.
Washington Newsday approached the press for McConnell, but they did not respond immediately.
McConnell and many other Republican senators did not congratulate Biden on his victory, which many consider a worrying sign. President Donald Trump did not admit to the election and falsely claimed that his Democratic opponent had won through widespread electoral fraud.
“This is the way it must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted. All illegally submitted ballots should not be counted. All sides must be able to observe the process. And the courts are here to enforce the law and settle disputes,” McConnell said in a Friday tweet before Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election. “This is how the votes of Americans decide the outcome,” the Kentucky senator wrote. At the urging of reporters, McConnell refused to comment further on the election results.
Here you can learn how this must work in our great country: Every legal vote should be counted. All illegally submitted ballots should not be counted. All sides must be able to observe the process. And the courts are there to apply the law and to settle disputes.
Thus the votes of the Americans decide the outcome.
– Head of State McConnell (@senatemajldr) November 6, 2020
Throughout his campaign and in his victory speech, the President-Elect