We’re weeks from Election Day. There’s still time for the polls to tighten, and the polls might just be wrong anyway.
But boy, do those polls not look good right now. The most likely outcome at this point is for the Republicans to lose the presidency and the Senate, giving the Democrats control of the entire federal-lawmaking apparatus.
At this writing, FiveThirtyEight gives Democrats an 87 percent chance at the presidency, a 73 percent shot at reclaiming the Senate, and a 95 percent chance to keep the House. The “no toss-ups” maps at RealClearPolitics have Biden winning the Electoral College 374–164 and Democrats taking the Senate 51–49. (Bear in mind that the vice president breaks ties in the Senate, so a 50-50 split coupled with a Biden-Harris victory would still give the edge to the Democrats.) For weeks the betting market PredictIt has given the Democrats a better-than-even shot at a “clean sweep.”
If the Democrats do in fact win everything, we could be in for a miserable and acrimonious couple of years.
Toward the top of the agenda will be an intra-party debate over whether to kill the legislative filibuster and pack the Supreme Court. I highly doubt they’ll have the votes for the latter, and with a narrow margin even the former will be out of reach because some moderates are sure to balk. But there’s at least a chance the Democrats could have unified control and no limits on how they use it.
If the filibuster goes, the Democrats can pass just about anything that 50 senators agree to. And even with the filibuster intact, the party can achieve many things through the “budget reconciliation” process. That’s how the Republicans passed their tax bill in 2017, and it’s how they tried to handle health-care reform too. (The big rule for a reconciliation bill is that each provision must affect the budget.)
Democrats’ priorities will obviously depend on their margin of victory. But Biden wants to ban “assault weapons”; further expand the government’s role in health care, including by having a public plan “compete” with private options and lowering the age for Medicare eligibility at great cost; hike taxes, especially, but not exclusively, on higher earners; and much more.