So what’s gonna happen next November and beyond?
First, let’s talk about what’s NOT gonna happen.
The Democrats are not going to regain control of the House. The math just isn’t there. They might pick up a few seats, but not nearly enough to regain control. They are currently down 50 seats (242-192) which means they would need to pick up 26 seats. Unless things change there just aren’t that many in play.
Secondly, let’s talk about what is almost certain to happen:
The Republicans will take control of the Senate. They only need a net gain of four seats, and the Democrats have to defend 23 seats to the Republican’s 10. Even worse, several of the current Democratic seats were part of the 2006 tidal wave that put the Democrats in power. Those seats normally trend GOP and the Republicans only need to get half of them back.
Now here’s what might happen:
Obama might win reelection.
I’m not saying he will. In fact, he really shouldn’t have a chance. But he does. Let’s assume for a moment he succeeds.
Obama is not going to morph into a progressive hero. He wasn’t one before when the Democrats controlled both the House and Senate, and there is no reason to think he’ll change now. He’ll be a lame duck facing a GOP-controlled Congress. They’ll pass what they want, and the only question is how much of it he’ll veto.
My guess will be not much.
Obamacare will start taking effect. If you think it’s unpopular now, just wait. This will be one area where Obama will use his veto pen – he won’t allow the GOP to repeal his signature achievement. This won’t help the Democrats in 2014 and 2016.
Other than that we’ll basically see four more years of the same old, same old. Even if the economy improves it will be unlikely that the voters will be willing to give the Democrats four more years in the Oval Office in 2016.
Next chance will be 2020, more likely 2024.
Obama could lose.
This is more likely, no matter who the GOP nominee is.
Right now I would have to say that the most likely nominees are Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is more likely to win the nomination, but Romney is more likely to beat Obama.
Regardless of which Republican is the nominee, if they win you can expect a full-out effort to repeal Obamacare, “reform” Social Security and Medicare, and a lesser effort to make cuts in government spending.
This is actually the best long-term outcome for
the Democrats liberals and progressives.
When Reagan ran for president he promised to cut taxes and spending. Once he took office one of the first things he did was cut taxes. But when he tried to cut spending he ran into a buzz saw.
Every piece of government spending has a constituency. There is only so much “waste, fraud and abuse” that can be cut. The really big-ticket spending programs are taboo.
Military spending? Military retirees? Old people? Children?
If anyone tries to do anything more than tinker with Social Security and Medicare they’ll find out (like Ronnie did) why it’s called “the third rail of American politics.”
Anything the Republicans do to cut spending will anger lots of voters, including a big chunk of their own base. Everybody wants government spending cut, except for their own programs. Remember the Tea Partiers with signs that said “Government hands off my Medicare?”
Here’s the bad news:
Things have to get worse before they’ll get better. Remember when the Republicans controlled Washington. That was only a few years ago. They had Congress and the White House, plus a majority of the Supreme Court.
The voters were so impressed they voted the Democrats back into power in 2006-2008. But the Democrats blew it. Seriously, it was like they were determined to sabotage themselves. They didn’t try to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They didn’t investigate Bush-Cheney lawbreaking. They shoved Hillary aside for an empty-suit puppet of Wall Street.
If the Republicans take full control next year, things will get worse. Actually, they’re gonna get worse either way. But if the Republicans are in charge they’ll get all the blame.
The question is, when the Democrats get another chance, will they choke again?