Despite the Chaos, We’re Still Celebrating Historical Wins in the Senate and Presidential Elections
At the end of such a harrowing day, there were still reasons to be hopeful.
While Congress attempted to count the electoral votes and confirm the win of President-elect Joe Biden yesterday, January 6th, a mob of Trump-allied rioters stormed the Capitol and attempted to stop the confirmation process. However, their disjointed effort was all for naught. The Biden-Harris win was confirmed without further objection, the Georgia runoff election, which bled into Wednesday, January 6th, resulted in a Democrat-majority Senate flip, and it turns out violence and disorder cannot warp the centuries-old democratic process.
Because yesterday felt as though it lasted a week, let's start from the beginning. As votes in the Georgia Senate runoff race continued to trickle in yesterday morning, CNN projected Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock would unseat appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler—one of the Republican Senators set on objecting to the confirmation of President-elect Biden.
Senator-elect Warnock became the first Black senator from Georgia and plans to focus his attention on environmental protections, climate change initiatives, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines and stimulus funds to the American people.
Later yesterday afternoon, Democrat Senator-elect Jon Ossoff achieved victory over Republican Senator and Fortune 500 CEO David Perdue, thus making the Senate Democrat-majority and Georgia a blue state. Under President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the Democratic Party will control both Congress and the White House for the first time in a decade.
A blue wave in Georgia is largely thanks to the efforts of former Georgia House Representative Stacey Abrams, who founded the anti-voter suppression organization Fair Fight Action in 2018. She has worked tirelessly to get disenfranchised voters to the Georgia polls, and efforts paid off with a massive (mainly Democrat) voter turnout for the Senate runoff election this year.
Warnock and Ossoff's projected wins were a huge step in the right direction for left-leaning Americans yesterday morning. Despite the threats from Senate and House Republicans to object to the confirmation of President-elect Biden during the electoral vote process in Congress later yesterday afternoon, things were still looking up.
As was expected, the Arizona Electoral College vote count was the first to be objected to during the electoral vote confirmation (a tradition normally seen as a formality during other election years), with Republican lawmakers crying voter fraud. As Senators and House Representatives debated the objection in their respective chambers, a Trump rally outside the Capitol turned violent. Rioters stormed the Capitol steps and breached the thin security, causing the lawmakers inside to go into lockdown. They were ultimately escorted out of the building once it was safe to do so.
The unorganized insurrection lasted several hours, with rioters trashing politicians' offices, intimidating Capitol police and posing for pictures on the Senate floor. Four people, including one woman who was shot, are dead after the siege, and the FBI is now seeking information on those involved. Capitol police, assisted by the National Guard, were able to clear the Capitol of rioters by 5 p.m., and later arrested over 50 people for breaking the emergency 6 p.m. Washington D.C. curfew.
With many politicians and members of the American public alike calling for President Donald Trump to be held accountable for what happened at the Capitol, the first order of business was to finish what was started by Congress hours earlier.
At 8 p.m. the Senate and the House reconvened in their chambers, voted to overrule the Arizona electoral vote objection, and Vice President Mike Pence continued to count the electoral votes that were safely shuttled away from the Capitol by Senate aides during the breach.
The display of violence by Trump-allied rioters made many Senators and House Representatives formerly planning to object to the confirmation of President-elect Biden change their tune. Republican Sens. Ted Cuz and Josh Hawley, who led the initial protest, found themselves lacking the support needed to challenge the Electoral College, and were rebuked by fellow lawmakers for their attempt to nullify the democratic voting process.
No other state electoral votes were objected to after the debate over Arizona's credibility was finished, and Vice President Pence completed the electoral vote count at 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning. Biden and Harris are officially the next president and vice president of the United States and will be inaugurated on January 20th.
Though yesterday was one of the darkest days in modern American history, the way the day ended, with truth at the forefront, showed the strength of both the democratic process and those who stand by it. Let's keep marching forward.