Hope and Change at Last: Why a Republican Senate Will Be Good for America
This is an article that I know full well most of you don’t give two dung heaps about — the midterm elections.
I know this because poll after poll shows that only half of the American public are interested in the upcoming election and about 10 percent of them are lying. In the last 10 midterm elections, voter turnout has been consistently around 40 percent.
The big national story in Tuesday’s voting will be the fate of the United States Senate. It is easy to lose interest in that narrative locally because our two local Senators up for re-election, Chris Coons (D-DE) and Corey Booker (D-NJ), are expected to coast to victory, as our area becomes bluer and bluer.
Of course, we have the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial election and there have been some signs that Republican Incumbent Tom Corbett is gaining ground. But President Obama’s campaign visit to Temple University on behalf of challenger Tom Wolfe is a sure sign that the Democrats believe they have the race in the bag. The President has only been campaigning for candidates who are far ahead in the polls. Candidates in competitive races don’t want the President anywhere near their campaigns, and some have even refused admitting to voting for the President in the last election.
Here’s why you should care more about the future of the Unite States Senate.
If it goes Republican, as it is expected to do, suddenly bills will be passed and end up on the President’s desk. He will be forced to sign or veto
This will disprove the popular narrative that Republicans were the sole obstructionists. Hundreds of bills have been passed by the House and sent to the Senate, where they have died. Most never come up for a vote.
Just 14 bills have been passed by the Senate this year, that is 9 less than last year, which was itself an all-time mark for legislative inaction. The Senate has acted like a Vulcan shield protecting the President from having to make tough decisions, while hypocritically blaming Republicans for everything.
That will all change in January when the new Senate may have anywhere from 51 to 56 Republican members. If the Republicans win the Senate, Independent Senators like Angus King from Maine and Greg Orman from Kansas (if he wins), have hinted that they would caucus with the majority.
Expect the new Congress to become one of the most productive in history, with hundreds of bills sent to the White House.
There will be a trap waiting for Republicans and their newfound unshackled power. If they waste this opportunity with grievance politics by trying to re-litigate the last six years, they will be the political version of a one-hit wonder. America will punish them soundly in 2016, in a much more important election.
If a Republican Congress attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and re-investigate Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and Fast and Furious — in other words, if the Republicans play to their base — they will be left with only their base and nothing else for years to come. They will lose both the White House and the Congress in the next election.
However, if the new Republican Congress sends bills that deal with immigration reform, infrastructure, jobs, the Keystone Pipeline and deficit reduction, and they amend but don’t repeal Obamacare to keep down premium costs, they will be rewarded in 2016.
The Republicans have an opportunity to prove to the electorate that they are innocent of the Washington inefficaciousness of the last six years. They have the power to push the country forward, if they can ignore their most base desires (pun intended).
So there is a chance, however slim, for real Hope and Change. That is why you should care.
Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.