If Democrats lose the House, how big a deal is losing the Senate?

At this point, I think it is highly unlikely that the Democrats maintain control of the House. Assuming that they lose it, how is losing the Senate the Armageddon that talking heads are predicting? They won’t be able to accomplish anything in the House regardless of who controls the Senate. At this point, I feel that all is lost.

The only argument that I can think of regarding the importance of keeping the Senate involves the Supreme Court. If somehow, one of the members were to resign, McConnell would not hold a hearing until the next presidential election regardless of when the resignation occurred.

The filibuster and veto are still in place, so it’s going to be gridlock, no matter what. In other words, business as usual but with all the finger-pointing going the other direction.

Well Thomas and Alito are both in their 70s so I think the possibility of those seats being open in the next 2 years is real.

Additionally the dems want to have as many seats as possible irrespective of a majority this time because those senators will still be serving in the next presidential term when the senate could swing the legislative balance.

I can’t see Thomas or Alito even taking the chance that their replacement be chosen by Biden.

Not just the Supreme court but many lower judges and appointments in the executive branch require Senate confirmation. Control of the senate is a big deal.

I mean if the dems hold the senate and they die they have no say in it.

That’s possible of course, but neither of them look like they’re at death’s door.

Very important – SCOTUS and other nominations, being able to vote on Democratic-favored legislation, even if it’s blocked in the House (blocking popular legislation has a political cost, so it’s good to force the other party to do that when possible), and chair committees that can conduct investigations.

Control of the House and Senate also means control over committees, the power to appoint special prosecutors, and all sorts of admin stuff that has been politically weaponized through multiple administrations. Impeachment conviction, however, requires a two-thirds vote, so that won’t be happening.

It’s possible (but not likely) that the Republicans could wind up with as many as 55 seats (51 or 52 more likely if they win the Senate at all). With 55 seats they get close to being able to collect enough moderate Democrats for a filibuster-proof majority on some issues.

But the most important advantage is that any left-wing judges that Biden might pick are going to be DOA. Not just Supreme Court justices, but all the other lower court judges, which are arguably just as important.

One other factor: if it truly is a ‘red wave’ and Republicans pick up five Senate seats and say 40 House seats, it could be seen as a rebuke of the left, and moderate Democrats will start asserting themselves. Chuck Schumer and the other octogenarian Dem leaders may be done and there will be pressure for a new generation of Democrats to assume the leadership.

Any judges Biden picks will be held up, no matter where they fall on the ideological spectrum. If the Republicans win a Senate majority and Clarence Thomas drops dead in February, Mitch McConnell will keep an open seat on the Supreme Court for two years. A Republican Senate is not going to allow a Democratic President to appoint another Supreme Court justice, ever.

Unless they do an RBG, and go ahead and die at an inconvenient time for their party.

As others have said, it’s not just about Supreme Court justices but nearly as importantly the appeals courts. Since the vast majority of cases never make it to the Supreme Court, these courts are often the final say for important disputes. When Republicans took the Senate for the last two years of Obama’s term, McConnell successfully stalled several circuit court nominees that allowed Trump to fill those seats.

Biden’s picks have been far from “left wing.” I’m not sure how much detail you get about this in Canada.

I was in front of one last month who was excellent (and probably conservative–former prosecutor)

As others have said, the Republicans will try to block all judicial appointments. Even those has non-controversial as Garland should have been.

If anyone is interested in the whole battle(s) over the Supreme Court nomination stuff, this is an excellent documentary on how the Senate Majority Leader has outsized control of the process, as we saw recently with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, and that of Merrick Garland earlier. Say what you will and think what you want about McTurtle, but he certainly has triumphed for his party in this area.

They won’t block left wing judges, they’ll block all judges.

Check out this Wikipedia page:

The day Republicans take over the Senate you can carve that page in stone.

Also there’s a shit ton of other government positions that require Senate approval and unless Mitch is feeling particularly pro-Joe on a given day, a single republican senator can keep them from even getting a vote.


On February 7, 2014, Obama nominated Cassandra Butts to be the Ambassador to the Bahamas and that’s not usually a role that anyone gives a shit about.

The senate held one committee hearing on this nomination but held no vote and the 113th Congress ended and the nomination lapsed.

Obama nominated her again for the same position on February 5, 2015. The foreign relations committee referred her nomination to the full senate on May 21, 2015. Then Ted Cruz got involved and enacted a blanket block on all State Department nominees because he didn’t like the Iran Nuclear deal. Cruz eventually lifted those holds and somehow Ted fucking Cruz is not the villain of this story.

Enter Tom Cotton. He jumped in to block this nomination and two others (Amb. Sweden and Amb. Norway) because he was mad about something the Secret Service did. Cotton later dropped the Sweden and Norway holds but maintained the hold on Butts.

Frank Bruni (NYT) interviewed the people involved and wrote an article on the whole affair. Here’s the paragraph from that article about why Cotton wouldn’t drop his hold on Butts.

Cotton eventually released the two other holds, but not the one on Butts. She told me that she once went to see him about it, and he explained that he knew that she was a close friend of Obama’s — the two first encountered each other on a line for financial-aid forms at Harvard Law School, where they were classmates — and that blocking her was a way to inflict special pain on the president.

That’s not really a legitimate use of the advise and consent power. That’s being a dick just to be a dick.

Expect a lot more of that if the Republicans take the Senate.

If there is gridlock, then in 2024 the Pubs will be able to blame Biden and his veto. But now that impeachment is a political weapon, the question is how long after January 3, 2023 will Biden be impeached?

If the last 6 years have taught me anything, it’s that impeachment doesn’t mean anything. In fact, if I were Biden and I were impeached, I wouldn’t even contest it. I’d just say “OK, let’s go vote in the Senate.”


Should Republicans take both the House and the Senate this year, one of their top goals will be to send Biden bills that will impose politically painful choices on the President – ideally things that are broadly popular but unpopular with some particular component of the Democratic coalition. A Democratic Senate can ensure that those bills never have a hearing after they pass the House and never make it to his desk. They’ll still have the filibuster even if they lose the Senate, but that would make it a much more public fight to kill the offending bill and depends on the Republicans not killing the filibuster.

Ginsberg had multiple notices over several years that her health was in a potentially precarious state. It’s a matter of historical record that many justices resign when they find themselves in similar situations.
But none of the present conservative justices have had any health scares that I’m aware of.