Republicans sweep 2014 Midterm Elections
The polls are closed, the results are in, and it looks like America will be seeing red, at least for the next two years, as the Republican Party has won an undeniable mandate in the 2014 Midterm Elections.
Dwarfing even the gains of the 2010 Midterms, the GOP made historic gains across the board, with the Republicans as of the time of this posting having won seven Senate seats, gaining at least 13 seats in the House, three more governorships while Republican governors like Scott Walker or Brian Sandoval all winning reelection handily, and even sweeping to power in multiple state legislatures.
Notably, one factor behind the GOP success this year was the party managing to put a lid on social conservatism, play it safe and back moderates when it proved wise – hopefully this means they’ve begun to learn the painful lessons the last few elections have made all too clear about the shifting social values of the country.
With two more likely Senate seats in Alaska and Louisiana, and a number of still ongoing House races likely to go in the GOP’s favor, the Republican Party is likely not just to have full control of Congress, but by the largest margin since before the Great Depression. With a number of races still too close to call, the Republicans now have full control of Congress, with a 52-44-2 majority in the Senate and a 244-184 majority in the House of Representatives.
The Democrats are in complete shock, if not by the defeat, than by the degree of it. Defending a number of seats won in the 2008 election, the Democratic Party watched on in horror as it lost nearly all of them, as they lost ground in “purple” states like Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa, and even deeply Democratic states like Massachusetts and Maryland elected Republican governors.
Rather laughably, soon-to-be former Senate majority leader Harry Reid claimed the election is proof that the electorate wants the parties to “work together”, when today’s defeat is the direct result of the Democrats refusal to do the same. When elected to majority in 2006, the Democrats promised openness, reform and to “drain the swamp” – like with the House in 2010, they’ve lost the Senate for failing to do so.
More so than even the Democratic Party though, the biggest loser of the 2014 Midterms is President Obama. Despite winning re-election by a comfortable margin in 2012, his second term has been defined by scandals on the home front and the utter collapse of the Administration’s foreign policy abroad. Many commentators, myself included, have in the past pointed out President Obama had a choice for his Presidency – show some leadership and vision, prove willing to compromise, and get work done, or stick to his ideological guns, and watch his legacy capsize before his very eyes.
Having entered the White House with a clear mandate and a Democratic supermajority in Congress, and having squandered both, he will now spend his last two years as President with a Republican-dominated Congress in the same position. Once more, President Obama must make choice – read the writing on the wall and change course, or once more double down, and either hole up or lash out against the impending reality that America has loudly, clearly and repeatedly rejected his policies.
Looking at that, the newly minted Republican Congress would do well to learn from the message President Obama has thus far ignored. The election may have gone in the favor of the Republican party, but that has more to do with them disliking President Obama and his policies more than it does them suddenly converting to conservatism. Discontent with Congress and the GOP remain high, and with third-party votes once again getting record highs, they had best keep an ear to the ground and listen to the voters who gave them control in the first place. With the 2016 Presidential race before them, the GOP has a brief chance to prove they learned from the years of wandering the political wilderness – one hopes they use it wisely.