Octogenarian-in-Chief: How Biden’s Blunders Could Flip Congress

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Well, folks, it looks like Joe Biden has once again fumbled the ball during the recent presidential debate, giving Democrats the perfect excuse to voice their ever-growing doubts about renominating him. Let’s face it: Biden’s physical and mental decline is painfully apparent, and while the thought of Kamala Harris taking the reins is enough to keep us awake at night, the implications of a midterm presidential replacement run are much more profound.

The razor-thin margins in Congress over the past few years mean a vacancy in the presidency could significantly shift the balance of power in the legislative branch. Have you considered what happens when a president is replaced midterm and the process of confirming a new vice president? Probably not, but let’s dive in.

Remember January 2021, when Biden was inaugurated? The Democrats barely held onto the House with a 222-seat majority and had a 50-50 tie in the Senate, which tipped in their favor when Harris became VP. Biden’s age made him the oldest president in history, and any health issues during the 117th Congress would have done more than just put Harris in the Oval Office. Section 1 of the 25th Amendment is crystal clear: if the president dies, the VP becomes president. This would leave the vice presidency vacant, creating a perfect 50-50 split in the Senate.

The 25th Amendment does provide a way to nominate a new vice president, who takes office after a majority vote in both Houses of Congress. But here’s the kicker: with an evenly divided Senate, Democrats would need at least one Republican vote to confirm a new VP. Talk about political headaches!

Senators would be in a bind. National security demands that the vice presidency remain occupied, especially with threats from China and Iran. However, any Republican voting to confirm Harris’ replacement would face massive backlash for giving Democrats a tie-breaking vote to push through their agenda.

One possible solution could be for Republicans to support a consensus VP nominee in exchange for a power-sharing agreement that prevents Democrats from using the VP’s tie-breaking vote for partisan gains. However, Democrats would likely object to this, accusing Republicans of exploiting a president’s death for political gain.

While this scenario hasn’t grabbed headlines, it’s a very real possibility given the country’s polarization and tight election margins. Control of the House of Representatives is hanging by a thread, and the Senate isn’t far behind. Although Republicans have more opportunities to gain Senate seats, Democrats could still hold onto 50 seats, making the vice president’s tie-breaking vote crucial for control.

Even if Trump is younger than Biden, he would still be older taking office in 2025 than Biden was in 2021. The health of these aging candidates could throw the nation into uncharted constitutional and political waters. Control of the Senate and unified control of Congress could hinge on the vice presidency. A decline in the health of either candidate could lead us into a political and constitutional quagmire like we’ve never seen before.

So, next time you watch a debate or read about these political dramas, remember the stakes are higher than just who’s sitting in the Oval Office. It’s about the very balance of power in our government and the future of our nation.