The Battle at the Capitol: Gridlock and Divided Government

Andrew Kline Staff Writer

At this point, almost all of the election results from around the nation are  solid and not much change is likely to happen. Georgia had both of its seats in the Senate on the ballot for the election and both races are going to a runoff vote, along with a House of Representatives election in Louisiana. Despite both of these rare occurrences, it appears that the Republican Party has held its majority in the Senate with 50 seats of 100 currently claimed, while Democrats only have 46 seats and other parties have claimed two seats. The House of Representatives also stayed true to the current majority with the Democratic Party earning 219 seats when 218 are required for the majority. Just in case you have been living under a rock for the last two weeks, former Vice President Joe Biden is now President-elect.

You might ask, what is the issue? People who are registered Democrats or who voted for Biden are ecstatic about the fact that he beat the current president in the race to reclaim the White House for the Democratic Party, but the problem is that we still are facing a divide in Congress. Also, the President’s cabinet is filled with appointed positions that need approval from the Senate, which is controlled by the opposite party.

Many people are expecting Biden to make lots of big changes over the next four years, but without a full majority of the federal government, no party will ever get its full agenda fulfilled. The reality we face is that although some representatives try to cross those division lines to make the country a better place, too many are steadfast in their party’s ideas, which results in little change.

Biden campaigned on a very different set of goals and ideals than President Donald Trump and many Republicans, but the president doesn’t set the agenda for the House or the Senate. The same idea was true four years ago when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton and four years before that when Barack Obama was reelected in a race against Mitt Romney. 

When Trump was first elected, his party held the majority in both the House and the Senate, but two years into his term, the Republican Party lost its decently-sized majority in the House to the Democratic Party. We still saw changes made and legislation passed, but Trump’s agenda was very different from what was passed.

As excited or disappointed as you may be with the results of our latest election, I think that it is best to let time tell us how much will change over these next four years. Trump is still the president for approximately two more months, and Congress will make its representation changes just before then, but the reality is our current situation is not yet over and our future situation is truly nothing but a mystery. The only thing we know is that we have to wait and that America will get through this.