Nathan A Zimmerman –
After the election results as of Wednesday evening, Democrats have control of 43 seats in the Senate, the independents have two seats, and the Republicans have taken control of the Senate by gaining 7 seats therefore giving them 52 seats and majority of the United States Senate.
Now the Grand Old Party (GOP) has control of the higher chamber of Congress, which is extremely important as in the past the Democrats controlled the upper chamber and prevented GOP spearheaded legislation from reaching the President’s desk. The GOP has already held control of the House of Representatives but as of the time of this report, they have picked up 43 seats and thus have control of 244 seats compared to the Democrats’ and independents’ 180. The Republicans are projected to obtain 246 seats, which would be the most its ever had since World War II.
Since the GOP now has control of the Senate and also has maintained control of the House, what will this mean for the next two years of President Obama’s last term of office?
First and foremost, and perhaps most obvious is that there will be a lot more bills appearing on the president’s desk, such as the controversial Keystone pipeline that Republicans have been a strong advocate for since its inception. Obama will have to have strong relationships with Speaker of the House John Boehner and the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans who have expressed very strong opinions against the President.
Can we really expect there to be strong collaboration between these opposing sides? My opinion, probably not.
There will be a lot of bills on Obama’s desk, that’s for sure. As a result, there will be a lot of vetoes from the President of these bills as well. McConnell has expressed interest to work with Obama; however, he stated that if Obama tries to use executive power to reform immigration or vetoes bill after bill without any attempt at negotiation, then Congress shall make their power known by blocking nominees and voting strictly along partisan lines on all issues.
In addition to even fewer accomplishments in Congress, the state legislations look very interesting as well. There was a significant number of GOP candidates for governor getting elected in states that were traditionally Democratic: Maryland, Massachusetts, and even Illinois.
Yes, if you have been in the dark and did not know, Illinois has elected venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, a Republican, as its next governor. What makes this interesting is other items that were on the ballots. Let us look at Illinois for example. We elected a Republican for governor and also voted to increase the minimum wage to $10. Now traditionally, Republicans would prefer the free market to establish wage rates. How in any way does this type of voting make sense? Well for that let us look at Congress.
With its approval rating of 14 percent, I think the midterm election can only be described with one sentence. People are tired of Congress representatives.
People do not believe Congress is effective, at all, at doing its job and thus will vote to remove incumbents from office. Now I sincerely hope that representatives will be able to compromise and get things accomplished these next two years. IF politicians can look past their party lines, work to negotiate and compromise, THEN maybe the next two years may not be so “lame.”
However, I’m not going to cross my fingers. Politics are completely polarizing, where you are defined by whether you are Republican or Democrat, red or blue, right or left. My greatest hope is to see a time return where politics are defined by compromise instead of gridlock, cooperation instead of partisanship.
I want to see the American party dominate, not the two party “battle royale.” Will that come into fruition? Well my fellow students, maybe within another generation.
Nathan A. Zimmerman, from Mt. Sterling, Illinois, is a junior majoring in Finance and Economics with a minor in Political Science. Nathan is the Organizational Outreach Chair of the Student Senate, the President of the Warren O. Billhartz Investment Club, as well as an active member of Enactus. Nathan is a features and opinions writer for The Rambler.