Emboldened, Republicans predict Dem Doomsday for 2012
Friday, November 5th, 2010
Such was the veiled threat that McConnell, the Republican Senator from Kentucky, aimed at Democrats after Tuesday’s election results. It reflected the message that most Republicans seem to be sending out — the Dems should be prepared for some changes and, if they don’t change, they should prepare to lose big in 2012.
After two years of a Democratic-controlled Congress, Republicans picked up at least 60 seats in the House of Representatives Tuesday night, gaining the majority there, while they narrowed the Dems’ majority in the Senate by picking up six seats. While incumbent Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was able to keep her seat and majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was saved from an embarrassing defeat, incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), who has been in the Senate since 1998 and served in the House before that, lost to her Republican opponent.
President Obama, in a press conference on Wednesday, called the results “humbling.” He said he’d been “reflecting” and acknowledged that his administration had to do a better job of getting things done. Still, he didn’t concede failure, claiming that his administration has made the right decisions, but that the effects of those decisions have yet to be felt by most Americans.
The Republicans, however, were singing a different tune. They took their victory in the House as a sign that voters have “rejected” the Democratic agenda and Obama’s far-reaching policies, and they already seem to be predicting bigger gains in the 2012 elections.
But just because the map turned a bit redder Tuesday night doesn’t mean the Republicans should get big heads. One of the biggest issues for Americans right now is the economy, and how that changes in the next two years will have an enormous effect on the next elections. If the economy improves, it will definitely increase the Dems’ chances of surviving 2012. But, as Ruy Teixeira, an elections analyst at the Center for American Progress, puts it, “If there’s absolutely no improvement in the economy, Republicans can run a puppy dog for president in 2012 and have a chance to win.”
Of course, other factors will contribute to the next election cycle as well — especially gridlock in Washington, which seems an even bigger possibility after Tuesday’s results. While both Democrats and Republicans have expressed a desire to reach across the aisle and work together for the next two years, there’s some threatening undertones to their words — especially coming from the Republicans, who seem to think they’ve gained the upper hand. They’ve especially been voicing their determination to repeal the health care legislation, or ObamaCare, as they call it, something that would represent a huge setback for Obama.
The next two years will certainly be a challenge for the President, who, since his inauguration, was lucky enough to work with an all-Democratic Congress. Even then, though, it wasn’t easy to push legislation through — so it will be interesting to see how the newly-red House will receive Obama’s ambitious agenda. We can probably expect a number of compromises to weaken the Dems’ legislation.
How Obama and the Republicans will work together is going to determine what happens in 2012. Voters have made it clear that they want to see change, but the combination of a Republican House, Democratic Senate and Democratic President seems to be a recipe for bipartisan battles that will allow little to get accomplished.
More by this Author