If a patient with a terminal illness is given an over 75% chance of dying, he might as well pack his bags and hit the beaches. That is what the Democrats were no doubt prepared to do last night, as, right off in the night, they began dropping quickly. Soon, before all the numbers were even in, the probability, according to FiveThirtyEight, was 100% that they would lose. They did. Badly.
Not only were Democrats again unable to take the house, now they lost the senate, and so far at are at least two seats down there, while there will be a runoff on December 6th, in Louisiana, where neither Democrat nor Republican won a majority of the vote due to third-party candidates.
From Texas to West Virginia, Americans said no to Blue and yes to Red. Harry Reid has lost control as majority leader of the senate, and his party is no longer America’s majority party. Barak Obama came to the midterms in a state of denial, both he and vice-president Joe Biden saying repeatedly they were going to win. Now they have some explaining to do, and fast.
For the Republicans, things are looking up; not eighteen months ago it was not uncommon to hear that they were in their last hurrah. Editorials in major newspapers said they were fast becoming nothing but an opposition party. And while it is true they have not won a presidential election in ten years, riding on winning an election that was basically a referendum on Barak Obama and the Democrats, coupled with the fact that no Democrat non-incumbent has ever followed another Democrat to the presidency, things are looking up for the 2016 cycle.
Last night’s election may have had, at times the feeling of the political super bowl, with around 50% of Americans saying they were watching it closely, unlike the super bowl, however, after which everybody goes home, now the legislatures have to actually get to work.
Just what they will be doing with their new power is difficult to say about the Republicans. There is talk about working with the president. But every one of them must know that working with a president this unpopular is bound to make them unpopular as well. Rand Paul, (R.–KY) said that they will send bill after bill to the president until he gets weary of it.
As for Mitch McConnell, the projected new leader of the senate, he gets to deal now, not only with president Obama, but also such young senators as Rand Paul, Marco Rubio (FL) and Ted Cruz (TX), all young Republican Presidential hopefuls, none of whom want to hurt their chances or give too much help to anybody else’s.
Figuratively, the Democrats died last night, and the Republicans were born again. For the Democrats, with all of the results not yet in, the news can only get worse. For the Republicans the news couldn’t be better. After this new regeneration, as after every regeneration, a new man gets up and walks away. It is now up to these men and women, these new and returning senators, along with their colleagues from the house, to decide what sort of man he will be. And what he will do with the power he has now been given.
Andrew C. Abbott