For many Americans the 2014 so-called “off-year” election cannot come soon enough. It seems that U.S. election cycles get longer and longer; more and more money gets spent; and less and less substance is discussed. More robo-calls are received and more outside groups pour so much money into the campaigns that people are even exhausted discussing about it. Except for the distinct possibility that there will be a Senate run-off in Louisiana and maybe in Georgia, it will all come to end when the Alaska results are finally tabulated on Tuesday night/Wednesday.
Baring an enormous surprise and a huge Democratic surge in turnout, as almost all polls predict the Republicans should gain control of the Senate to go with their continued control of the House. It thus may not be pre-mature to make some observations about campaign 2014 and some predictions for the next two years.
- Winning the Congress is not a sign for a Republican entering the White House in January 2017. In fact the national demographics are so skewed in favor of the Democrats that only an utter fiasco will stop them from continuing to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2017.
- As ugly as Washington politics have been over the past six years, the next two years may not likely be much more civilized for the Obama Administration. While they may not show a return of cordiality and bi-partisanship in Washington, Republicans may of necessity have to lower the rhetoric if only to make themselves look as responsible, creditable government.
- One of the major political battles of the past six years may indeed be finally over. One has a sense that while there are some outstanding court cases still to be decided; Republicans will not spend two years trying to deconstruct the Affordable Care Act. Regardless of any other accomplishments or mis-steps, it seems that Obamacare may well be the defining success story of the Obama Presidency.
- Most of the critical issues are likely to continue to not be addressed. More now than during the past six years, unless the Republicans seriously want to compromise, stagnation could well continue to rule Washington. There may be some work on tax-reform and improved budgeting, but immigration reform will only be addressed from a distance, as well as increasing the minimum wage or education.
- There will likely be major internecine rivalries within the GOP before they eventually settle down to govern, but the spill-over will hardly improve the viability of a Republican Congress leading the country.
- Democrats need to pray for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s continued good health and for no major international confrontations to erupt—maybe wishful thinking—as they prepare to join the new battles after some brutal congressional races this year.