Ok, let’s admit it fellow liberals and Democrats. The Republicans absolutely kicked our butts last week at the mid-term elections. Most of us who follow politics closely pretty much knew the Democrats were up against the wall with this election cycle, but few of us expected this level of beat down.
Republicans gained even more control of the House of Representatives, and picked up at least seven seats in the Senate, giving them control there too. As if that wasn’t enough, they also won most of the Gubernatorial races that were up. Up and down the ballot, voters turned out and went for the Republicans.
So the big question is how worried should those of us on the Left be? My answer is a little but it is not going to mean the country has reverted back to the old conservative days.
There aren’t more Republicans and conservatives than there were before. They just turned out and were more motivated than the Left for these mid-terms. The hatred for President Obama on the Right is a huge inspiration for them. And in politics, fear and hatred moves people a lot more than, well, a lot more than not having anything to fight for, since the Left failed to focus on an issue that would inspire their voters.
In the week since the election we have already heard the Republican leadership talking smack, so to speak. Already they have gloated about repealing the Affordable Care Act, dubbed 'Obamacare,' which would take away one of Obama’s biggest victories in his two terms. House Leader John Boehner admitted they might not be able to totally reverse Obamacare, but they would try. “Just because we may not be able to get everything we want doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get what we can,” he said.
But right now the American people have gotten used to Republican obstructionism of Obama’s policies. The more pressing question is: will Republicans be able to use their control of both sides of Congress to enact their own conservative agenda? Not likely. Democrats can do what Republicans did and even as the minority party, block certain actions. And there is always the President’s veto power and the bully pulpit that is the Presidency.
Of course what matters most is how all this plays out in 2016 and whether this mid-term election impacts the Democrats in the race for the White House in two years. Some say this election is a strong message that Hilary Clinton is not a shoo-in for presidency. But I don’t think this election cycle will have any impact on 2016. Presidential elections bring out the voters, it gets people motivated in ways that mid-terms just don’t. And Republicans, of late, simply suck at Presidential elections. The electoral map, that favors Republicans for mid-terms and “local” voting still does not favor them in the electoral college. Democrats still won even last week, in the places that deliver the most numbers in the electoral college. The math is still on the Left’s side when it comes to the White House.
So while the next two years won’t be much fun in Washington and elsewhere for liberals, the walls have not collapsed completely. The sleeping giant that is the Left is very much still here.
Photo Credit: Associated Press, Gage Skidmore/Flickr