Not to be outshone by its predecessor, 2021 gave us an unexpected first week of the year. Politically, this was going to be an important week in America. We had the final two seats in the Senate being contested, and if the Democrats could overturn the incumbent Republicans, it would give President-Elect Joe Biden a clean sweep and potentially give his administration a greater chance of pushing through changes, such as climate change and healthcare reform.
The Georgia election, where the two seats were being contested, had to be rerun as none of the candidates in the election in November had achieved the 50% needed for victory under state rules. So, on Tuesday the people voted, and the Democrats secured the final two seats in the Senate, giving them an equal number to the Republicans at 50 seats each. This gives the Democrats full control of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the White House, for the first time since 2009.
How does an equal split of seats in the Senate give the Democrats control? The incoming Democratic Vice-President Elect, Kamala Harris, will preside over the Senate once she takes office and in the event of a tie, she will have the all-important tie-breaking vote.
Both votes in Georgia were extremely close, with the winning margins being 50.7% and 50.28% for the two seats. As you can imagine, this stoked the ire of President Trump, who continued to make unsubstantiated claims for electoral fraud.
What happened is unimaginable outside of a Hollywood blockbuster. Shortly after hosting a rally outside of the White House, hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where Congress were meeting to confirm Joe Biden’s election victory.
The pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, while those inside either took shelter or were evacuated. In the melee four people died and scenes of windows being smashed, and doors being forced open, were broadcast around the world to a stunned audience. The finger of blame was pointed squarely at President Trump for inciting this violence, through the rally and his subsequent comments on social media. Facebook and Twitter took steps to block President Trump and his accounts were, and remain suspended.
This has resulted in a push by Democrats to impeach President Trump for an unprecedented second time. A motion will be introduced today, calling on Vice-President Mike Pence to strip President Trump of his office. If Mike Pence refuses, then the Democrats plan to vote to impeach President Trump later this week, which would make him the first president to be impeached twice. There are conflicts within both parties on the best way to resolve this crisis and while President Trump’s resignation would be the best possible solution, it is unlikely that this will happen.
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