Senate Democrats took a victory lap on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning, celebrating Senator Raphael Warnock’s re-election in Georgia and the new 51-49 majority they will hold in the chamber beginning in January.
“America is better off,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader. He attributed Mr. Warnock’s victory to a public realization that Republican candidates were too extreme, particularly following the Supreme Court’s June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, which eliminated the constitutional right to abortion.
“The Dobbs decision was the crystallization of that,” Mr. Schumer said. He added, “People said, wow, these MAGA Republicans are serious about turning the clock all the way back.”
Mr. Schumer also said Democrats benefited from a failure by more mainstream Republicans to condemn extremism and said the Jan. 6 hearings conducted by the House gave voters a vivid look at what transpired during the assault on the Capitol in 2021 by supporters of former President Donald J. Trump.
“I think they played an important effect because people didn’t just read about something that happened once but every night they saw on TV these hooligans, these insurrectionists being violent, beating up police officers,” Mr. Schumer said.
This was the first midterm election since 1934 that every incumbent Senate Democrat won while the party held the White House, according to Mr. Schumer. Senator Gary Peters, the Michigan Democrat who oversaw that campaign effort, said voters also turned on Republicans for not offering their own solutions despite focusing on issues like inflation.
“The American public said, yeah, we know that, we go to the grocery store, we know its an issue,” Mr. Peters said. “Tell us what you’re actually going to do about it.”
“It was clear the American people really don’t like Republicans that much,” he said.
Republicans did gain a narrow majority in the House, but even there, fell short of expectations.
Mr. Schumer said that the new one-seat Democratic advantage will smooth the way for the Biden administration’s judicial and executive branch nominees, open up the legislative process and give Democrats new investigatory tools by allowing them to issue committee subpoenas without consent from Republicans.
“Subpoena power can deal with corporate corruption and inequities throughout the country,” he said.
Overall, Mr. Schumer said, the victory energized Senate Democrats.
“It gives us just a lift,” he said. “The fact that we got the 51 votes gives us just a great feeling.”