The results are in and the Republican Party has seized control of the Senate. This comes to no one’s surprise as the GOP looked poised to make huge gains due to high levels of displeasure with President Barack Obama. While at first glance this may appear to be a crippling blow for the Democrats, in truth it was arguably the best thing that could happen to them.
Why? Dysfunction within the government and Congress in particular has reached absurd levels and by some measures the current Congress is in fact the most unproductive of all time. Almost certainly that dysfunction will continue even after the GOP takes control of the Congress, and rightly or wrongly, they’ll shoulder most of the blame for it.
Up until now the GOP has been able to use the Senate and the President Obama as a scapegoat for government dysfunction. Even so many Americans have blamed GOP leadership on the deadlock that has besieged Washington D.C. Once the GOP has complete control of Congress, they’ll have to shoulder even more of the blame.
GOP: Dysfunction Likely To Continue
With Congress firmly under control of the GOP, the Democrat nominee for the Presidential election will be able to shift blame for many of the problems that crop up over the next two years. The Presidential nominee will find her (or him) self in a particularly good position if the general dysfunction in DC continues.
And with bipartisanship at all time highs, said dysfunction will likely continue unabated. Even the GOP itself is split along internal ideological lines, with hard right conservatives opposing more moderate Republicans. This will make it difficult to forge any sort of consensus and main-stream Republicans may find themselves forced to reach across the aisle.
Of course, given the refusal of the GOP in general to work across aisles these last few years, it’s questionable whether Democrats will suddenly find themselves in the mood to be bi-partisan. And even if Democrats end dragging their feet and preventing bills from being passed, the GOP will likely shoulder most of the blame.
Democrat Nominee Will Benefit
Obama’s last two years in office will essentially amount to a lame-duck Presidency. Having lost both the House and the Senate, Obama’s power and ability to push through reform has been greatly reduced. Any attempt to push through major reforms would almost certainly flounder.
Republicans are now in the driver’s seat, Democrats can now begin shifting blame. If the economy continues to flounder, or immigration remains an issue, it’ll be the Republicans who will have to bear the bulk of the blame. And come 2016, Democrats will be quick to point any short-comings out.