The Importance Of Maintaining A Democratic Senate Majority

Many people, who do not understand the importance of midterm elections, have wondered whether it makes any difference if we have a Democratic Senate or a Republican Senate.

There are many reasons why it is extremely crucial that the Democrats retain the Senate, since it is clear that the Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives, and may gain more seats, and go from a 233-199 (with three vacancies) total to over 240, due to gerrymandering, and the power of incumbency.

A Democratic Senate gives Barack Obama the chance to gain a new Supreme Court Justice of his own choice, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg or any other Justice decides to retire in the next two years, or if any Justice should die while a member of the Court. Also, ability to have circuit and district court judges, and cabinet positions, and other appointments approved would be very difficult if the GOP controlled the Senate.

A Democratic Senate prevents any serious move toward a likely impeachment of Barack Obama, as the Republicans would see no point to doing it, if there was no chance of a conviction, which in reality would not happen in any case, as it would require a two thirds (67) vote to convict and remove. The Republicans might be fully aware that it would not succeed, but might wish to besmirch the historical record of Obama, much as they did with Bill Clinton in 1998-1999.

A Democratic Senate insures that in two years, with two thirds of the seats up for election being Republicans, that the Democrats would likely gain 6-8 seats, and might, in 2017, reach the magic number of 60 or more, preventing any possible use of the filibuster tactic.

A Democratic Senate would insure the survival of ObamaCare, and the inability of any further move to destroy this signature program. Additionally, attempts to reverse other changes and reforms that have occurred would be impossible, all to the good.

A Democratic Senate would make it unnecessary for President Obama to utilize the veto power, which he has used very sparingly in his time in office.

A Democratic Senate would mean that the Republican Party had lost its last opportunity to gain control of both Houses, and in 2016, with a strong Democratic nominee for President, and the likelihood of coattail effects in those states that are “blue” or “purple”, would likely lead to a flip in the House to Democratic control, and the GOP would never again, any time soon, gain control of either House of Congress, as they have shown no desire to deal with the important issues that face the nation in domestic policy, and refusal to support Barack Obama in foreign policy, having abandoned the long held view of a sense of bipartisanship when dealing with the world and its problems.

Could The Problems With ObamaCare Hurt The Democrats In Midterm Elections In 2014?

The massive problems with the roll out of ObamaCare could hurt the Democrats in midterm elections coming up in November 2014.

The Republicans, by their shutting down of the government, were on the defensive, but now the unbelievable troubles with ObamaCare seem to be wiping out the edge that the Democrats had just two months ago.

It is clear that the American population is changing its views on government and major issues, based on each new controversy which arises, and that anything could happen eleven months from now.

It is also evident that IF the American people could defeat all incumbents, they would do so, and that many, at least in theory, would like a new political party.

But the American system of government is such that the reality of defeating incumbents is very difficult, and only a small percentage will be defeated next year. At the same time, having new political parties that can compete for power and influence is nearly impossible, as our party system, with its ups and its downs, has not changed in 160 years when 2014 arrives next month.

We are in a very difficult period politically, and trying to predict the outcome of the midterm elections, and even the Presidential race of 2016, has become ever more something one would not wish to bet on!

Disgust With Federal Government At All Time High: What Can Be Done About It?

Polls this past week demonstrate how a majority of Americans are totally disgusted with the stalemate and gridlock in the federal government, which has become a norm of American politics.

Sixty percent in a poll would want to replace every member of Congress, and only eleven percent have a positive view of Congress, an all time low.

The Republican Party brand has suffered heavily, although the Democrats are not exactly looked upon as a paragon of virtue either by the American people.

Of course, there is no way that all members of Congress could be defeated due to the fact that the US Senate has only one third of its seats up for election every two years.

Additionally, while the House of Representatives faces election of all of its members every two years, the reality of gerrymandering makes replacement of incumbents highly unlikely, with maybe ten percent of the seats truly competitive, if that much.

And of course, were it possible to defeat all members, it would be unwise, because that would leave us with new members with total lack of experience and expertise, and this is the the problem with the Tea Party Republicans, who mostly come into government without any knowledge or understanding of what is possible in government, and the role of compromise in making a political system work.

All that a new Congress would accomplish is the growing power of unelected staff, which would be the only continuity in American government, and that would not be a good situation.

What can be done is to have higher turnout for midterm elections, with the hope that it might lead to the party of whoever is President having a real mandate to accomplish the goals that any President has been elected on two years earlier. The tradition has been that the party in the White House loses seats, with a lower turnout by party faithful.

Of course, if somehow, gerrymandering could be overcome, and the filibuster in the Senate modified, real progress and continuity and compromise would be more likely, but that is, at this time, a utopian dream, sad to say!

Congress Approval At All Time Low: What It Means

A new poll shows that only TEN percent of those polled have a positive view of Congress in 2012.

The Gallup Poll showed the unbelievable reality that Congress has a lower rating than BP during the Oil Spill, or Richard Nixon during Watergate, or banks during the banking crisis of 2008.

This could mean, in theory, that we could witness a wholesale removal of members of both parties in Congress in November, but that is really highly unlikely.

The fact that many Americans are unhappy with Congress as an institution does not mean that they do not like THEIR member of Congress, and most members routinely get re-elected, particularly in the House of Representatives, with a higher chance of defeat in the Senate races.

Also, reapportionment of seats, which occurs once in a decade, will probably promote less turnover since boundary lines change. And since a substantial number of members of Congress are retiring, some of them are leaving because they see the handwriting on the wall, as the saying goes!

More than incumbents losing who do not retire, is the question of whether the Republicans can retain control of the House of Representatives, and whether the Democrats can continue to control the Senate.

What seems most likely at this juncture is that we may see a switch in party control in both chambers, as the Democrats only need a 25 seat gain to take control, and there is great discontent with the Tea Party Movement membership in the GOP, which has made life miserable for Speaker of the House John Boehner and his party.

And the likelihood is that the US Senate will see a Republican takeover, needing only four seats to accomplish that.

This will present a new scenario for President Barack Obama if he is re-elected, but it is a more normal situation to have a Democratic House and a Republican Senate historically, having occurred from 1911-1913, 1931-1933. and from 1981-1987. The present opposite party control in the two chambers–a Republican House and a Democratic Senate–has NEVER happened, and seems to have proved to be less able to accomplish ANY cooperation as a result!

The Trend Is Overwhelmingly To Keep Incumbents In Office After All The Hype!

One of the big stories of 2010 has been the belief that the country was ready to rebel against all incumbents in office, both in Congress and the Governorships, because of citizens’ disgust with the economic recession, and anger at government’s reaction to the crises the nation faces!

So therefore, it was supposed to be through the primary system that the “rascals” would be thrown out and replaced by “rebels” who would radically change the way the states and the national government operate!

So as we await the challenges to incumbents John McCain in Arizona and Lisa Murkowski in Alaska tomorrow, we should stop and observe how has the primary system gone so far!

The shock is that the grand total of SEVEN incumbents have been defeated in primaries, but 317 incumbents have been renominated!

So a little over TWO PERCENT of incumbents have been retired by the voters, and it is highly expected that Senators McCain and Murkowski will be renominated and likely win their contests in November, after all of the expectations that J. D. Hayworth would overcome McCain, and that Sarah Palin’s support of Joe Miller in Alaska would defeat Murkowski! But that is apparently not to be!

So all of the talk and discussion has led to little change, and it makes one wonder: Could the same thing happen with Congress and in some states in November? Could it be that the Republican Party might not gain that many seats from the Democrats? Could it be that Barack Obama will be seen as gaining an endorsement for his actions as President despite the public opinion polls?

No one can possibly know the answers now, but it certainly makes following the campaign for Congress and the Governorships more interesting, and makes one look forward to see what will happen on November 2!

It may be, as the author has indicated in other earlier entries, a very different result than many have predicted!

The Coming “War” Against Incumbents In Congress: Is It Good For America?

The anger among the American people is strong, based upon recent polls, and the indications are that we are about to see more incumbents, those already in office, losing their seats than possibly at any time in American history! This, along with retirements, portends more turnover than is customary!

Already, Republican Senator Bob Bennett of Utah, and Democratic Congressman Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, have lost their seats, and the evidence is strong that Senate Democrats Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas are in deep trouble in their primary contests coming up on May 18, as well as Republican John McCain of Arizona in his primary in August!

Other Democrats are in trouble in November including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and those Republicans who are not facing election in the fall are getting hints that they will be fought against when they come up for reelection in the future–including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin Hatch of Utah, and even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky!

While this is an attack particularly, it seems, on Democrats, even Republicans who have been on Capitol Hill for too long and are seen as not conservative enough, are therefore at risk! Kentucky is seeing Rand Paul, favored by outgoing Senator Jim Bunning as his replacement, attacking Senator McConnell as if he were his opponent! This could be because McConnell is favoring Trey Grayson, seen by many as the “establishment” candidate, while Rand Paul, the son of Ron Paul, libertarian Congressman from Texas, is seen as the hero of the Tea Party Movement!

So with the decision of many Republicans and Democrats to retire, and many others facing defeat, there will be a lot of new members of Congress come next January, probably at least close to 50-60, meaning more than ten percent of Congress!

This is not necessarily better, as although new blood can be a good thing, the problem is that the likelihood is that we will see much more gridlock and stalemate, and more refusal to “cross the aisle” to cooperate on legislation, than we have now! The John McCain and Orrin Hatch style of bipartisanship at times may be gone for good, and the country will suffer as a result, as the chasm between the parties, and between the Congress and the President will only grow!

So the American people will continue to be angry, and the likelihood is further defeat of incumbents in future elections! Flux and chaos is likely in the halls of Congress, in a way not seen since the era leading up to the Civil War in the mid 19th century!

Is this good for America–the housecleaning? In the short run, it may satisfy, but in the long run, it is detrimental to the smooth functioning of American democracy! 🙁

Anti Incumbent Fever At All Time High In History Of Polling

It is very obvious that the American people are frustrated, angry, and furious at public officials as the economic downturn continues to affect millions of Americans.

Two thirds in a recent poll claim they want to kick out their public officials, but face the facts: It is simply emotional, not rational, to have that feeling, as having two thirds or even a majority of the Congress being new would not improve the Congress one iota.

In fact, the lack of experience and institutional knowledge would guarantee WORSE performance in public office, as being in public service is not just a job–it is a profession, and expertise and skill is needed to operate a government efficiently, and get the many responsibilities of government accomplished.

There may well be a larger amount of turnover than is traditional, but don’t expect more than ten percent of either the House or Senate to change by throwing out the incumbent, as he or she still has a great advantage in most cases.

The few incumbents who actually lose will get a lot of attention, but particularly with a large number of incumbents choosing to retire, the actual number thrown out of office by their constituents will be lower than now seems the case, based on the polls.

There is the old saying: Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t know!