Election 2000: Two-Headed Senate

With a potential Democratic victory in Washington State, the likelihood of gridlock and bickering looms large

The last time control of the U.S. Senate divided equally between the two parties was in 1881. And it wasn't a pretty sight. Democrats and Republicans each had 37 seats, with two held by independents. The Democrats managed to persuade one of the independents to join their ranks, but then Republicans peeled off the other independent, Senator William Mahone of Virginia, by dangling before him the Agriculture Committee chairmanship and the power to pick the Senate's Sergeant at Arms. Republican Vice President Chester A. Arthur cast the tie-breaking vote so the G.O.P. could take over the chamber. But legislative business quickly...

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