It is 2021, but there's one last twist in the tale for the U.S. 2020 Elections.
The polls for the U.S. Senate elections in the state of Georgia closed earlier in the morning on Jan. 6 (Singapore time), and the ballots were tabulated.
Although not all of the ballots have been counted yet, major news networks, including AP, CNN and Fox News have called the races for Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff over two incumbent Republican Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
As of 11pm (Singapore time), Warnock was leading Loeffler by some 54,000 votes, with 98 per cent of the total votes counted, according to the New York Times citing AP.
From pastor to politician
Warnock is the pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the same church where Martin Luther King Jr. once served as co-pastor. This is his maiden political contest.
Back in November 2020, Warnock stood for election, along with three other candidates, vying to challenge Loeffler.
Warnock emerged as the top-performing candidate, with 32.9 per cent of the vote and Loeffler gaining 25.9 per cent.
However, the state of Georgia has a rule that if no single candidate gets at least 50 per cent of the vote, the top two performing candidates advance to a runoff election.
Therefore, Warnock and Loeffler went head-to-head in January 2021.
Warnock will be the first black Senator in the history of the state.
During his livestreamed victory speech, he spoke about what the election meant to his family, and his mother in particular:
"The 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator.
The improbable journey that led me to this place in this historic moment in America could only happen here."
Jon Ossoff vs David Perdue, third time lucky?
The same thing happened in Democrat Jon Ossoff's race against incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue in November 2020.
The 33-year-old Ossoff first gained national prominence in 2017, when he stood in a special election to represent Georgia's 6th Congressional District.
The district strongly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election by a wide margin, but Ossoff ran his opponent Karen Handel a close race, eventually losing with around 48 per cent of the vote.
Ossoff then set his sights on the Senate and Perdue, a business executive who won election to the Senate in 2014.
In the 2020 election, Ossof lost to Perdue with 47.9 per cent of the vote.
But because Perdue did not pass the 50 per cent threshold (he finished with 49.7 per cent), both candidates had to advance to a runoff race, same as Warnock and Loeffler.
The contest included a memorable moment where Perdue did not attend a televised debate, leading his opponent to speak without interruption beside an empty podium.
As of 11pm on Jan. 6 (Singapore time), Ossoff held a lead of about 17,000 votes, with 98 per cent of the vote counted.
CNN and Fox News called the election for Ossoff around 6:00am on Jan. 7 (Singapore time).
Earlier, Ossoff claimed victory, although Perdue had yet to concede.
"It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate.
Everybody who cast your ballot, everybody who put your faith and confidence in our democracy's capacity to deliver the representation that we deserve — whether you were for me, or against me — I'll be for you in the U.S. Senate. I will serve all the people of the state."
Analysts also credited Stacey Abrams, former Democrat candidate for Governor in Georgia, with building a formidable ground operation that sought to maximise voter turnout for the Senate races.
Abrams was also credited for helping to flip the state for Joe Biden in 2020.
What does this mean for Joe Biden's presidency?
Although Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by comfortable margins in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, the Senate races did not turn out quite as the Democrats hoped back in November 2020.
Prominent Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina won their Senate races.
When the dust settled, there were 50 Republicans in the Senate -- and 48 Democrats.
Without a Senate majority, a President Biden would need to negotiate with Majority Leader McConnell to pass substantial legislation.
McConnell would be able to demand significant concessions from Biden in return for pushing through bills.
Here comes the tie-breaker
But with Ossoff and Warnock taking their seats, there would be a 50-50 tie in the Senate.
And in the case of a tie in the Senate, the rules dictate that the vice president casts the tie-breaking vote.
Vice President Kamala Harris on her way to break every senate tie pic.twitter.com/KWsiRI7Z7K— Jad (@PGiantB) January 6, 2021
More good news for the Democrats is that control of the Senate means that Biden's picks for Cabinet are more likely to be confirmed, and the president can begin nominating federal judges to hold positions in the courts once he takes office.
No wiggle room
Still, this doesn't mean that the Biden-Harris Administration can pass every bill they want to.
Bills may be filibustered by opposing Senators, in other words, a Senator may declare an objection to a bill and delay a vote.
It takes a 60-vote total to override a filibuster, numbers which the Democrats do not have.
The exception is the annual budget reconciliation bill, which can pass with a simple majority, which the Republicans used in 2017 to pass a tax law.
The Democrats will also have to keep their more moderate Senators satisfied, such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has indicated that he would not vote for legislation such as expanding the Supreme Court.
Moderate Republicans, such as Mitt Romney of Utah, may even decide to work with the Democrats to pass legislation, since his vote just became a lot more valuable.
But even with these hurdles, the fact remains that in just four years of Trump's presidency, the Republicans have lost the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
Top image from Getty Images.