As much as any other recent election, the one coming up this November is going to shape our national well being for at least the two years that follow and possibly for a good while thereafter. There is absolutely no question that Republicans will retain control of the House. It is the Senate and its majority that are really up for grabs.
If that majority becomes Republican, then here is what you can count on: The Obama presidency will for all practical purposes be over. His nominations of people for cabinet positions and judges’ chairs will be dead on arrival. Progressive legislation, some of which has been in place for 70 years, will be under assault and that includes Social Security, Medicare, same-sex marriage, voting rights, equal pay for equal work, and women’s rights. Regulations protecting workers in hazardous occupations, and our air and water will be rolled back. All this will be done in the interest of reducing the size of government. The cost of that decrease in terms of our health, sense of fairness and the environment have little place in Republicans’ plans for the country.
Added to the foregoing, you can also depend on this: With the Senate in Republican control, the House will promptly initiate the impeachment of President Obama. The intent is to so denigrate him that his tenure as our Commander-in-Chief will come to be viewed as a monumental voters’ mistake; the election of someone other than a “real American”. The racist or xenophobic motivation for this is unmistakable.
To push impeachment along and give it a patina of credibility, House Republicans will resurrect every “scandal” that they investigated without success over the last two years and re-litigate them (1). A perfect example is the tragedy in Benghazi where four Americans were killed. It won’t matter that the Senate has already issued a bipartisan report that cleared the Obama administration of criminal negligence or indifference. No matter; it will still be re-hashed.
Republicans are counting on two things: A massive voter turn-out among their base, and exactly the opposite among liberals/progressives. As regards the latter, they have reason to be optimistic. History has repeatedly shown that young and minority voters who reliably “lean left” simply do not take midterm elections seriously and so don’t find their way to the polls. The result has been that Republicans win seats and Democrats lose them. Look back no further than the 2010 election for a classic case in point.
If you thought the last five years were marked by increasingly ugly partisan warfare, the likelihood is that it will get even worse. The country will suffer because a Republican-controlled Congress will find itself stalemated by the president’s power to veto whatever they attempt, and the GOP, even with a Senate majority, won’t have the votes to over-ride Obama’s blocks (2). Critical problems will be left unresolved.
The purpose of the foregoing was to provide a reasonable set of expectations regarding what the next 2.5 years will hold. To the extent that these projections are valid, voters will have a critical choice: If you are very much in favor of what a Republican Congress will do, then you will vote accordingly. But, if you are appalled at those prospects, then you had better be sure to get yourself to the polls and do your part to prevent all that from coming to pass.
1. In addition to Benghazi, look for the exhumation of “fast and furious”, the IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking 501c-4 status, and the alleged assault on the free press in the Justice Department’s probe of James Rosen and the Associated Press. In blogs posted at this site last year, most of these so-called “scandals” were shown to be unsupported by evidence and thus without merit.
2. With 100 seats in the Senate, 51 constitutes a majority. But 66 votes are needed to over-ride a presidential veto and to support the removal of Obama from office.