Vice President Joe Biden has a 1-in-10 chance of becoming the most powerful person in the world today. No–not because President Barack Obama will resign after the election results, or that–God forbid–something will happen to him. Rather, Biden stands a 10.5% change of becoming the tiebreaking vote in the U.S. Senate, according to fivethirtyeight.com, which will happen if there is a 50-50 tie between Republicans and Democrats.
Nate Silver forecasts that it is far more likely that Republicans will pick up at least six seats and win a majority, deposing Minority Leader Harry Reid and taking over all of the Senate’s coveted committee chairmanships. However, if Republicans only pick up five seats (but no fewer), the parties will be deadlocked. According to the U.S. Constitution, that would means that Biden would be called upon to cast deciding votes–and frequently.
The tiebreaking vote in the Senate has become more important than ever, since Reid and his party did away with the filibuster rule with regard to presidential appointments. Now, since only 51 votes are needed to confirm judicial appointments and senior executive offices, a tie in the Senate means that the road to confirmation heads through the Vice President’s office, effectively making him the most powerful person in the U.S.
Biden has been much more visible than Obama on the campaign trail, appearing to stump for candidates in competitive races in the midterm contest. Though he clearly harbors presidential ambitions post-2016, his candidacy is not taken seriously by political analysts, who note that his penchant for gaffes has likely doomed his chances. However, he could assume great influence, and reshape the 2016 landscape, with a 50-50 Senate.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak