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Different Players, Same Game
When President Obama came into office in 2008, he had control of both the Senate and the House. The House went to Republicans after two years, but Obama retained the Senate for the next four years. Now, that too has fallen, leaving Obama with no majority in either house for his final two years.
Why did this happen? Sure, there’s the logistics of it, like the fact that Presidents usually lose Senate seats in the midterm election, or that the Democratic Senators up for re-elections had originally been elected on the same ticket as Obama and didn’t have that luxury this time around, but that doesn’t explain everything. For the other half of the answer, we must take a closer look at strategy. Look at Arkansas, where Mark Pryor ran an ad where he literally thumped a Bible, and another ad where he talks about supporting deregulation and tax cuts. He was the “Democratic” candidate. Look at Kentucky, where Alison Grimes was holding a gun in her ad and talking about her support for the coal industry. She was also the “Democratic” candidate. Needless to say, both these candidates lost. The reason for this is simple: The way to win an election is to get your base to vote. What Democrat, liberal, or progressive in going to vote for someone advocating deregulation, or loosening gun restrictions? If you’re a Democrat, and your choice is essentially between two Republicans, of course you’re just going to stay home. What makes it worse is how simple it would have been for Democrats. The President of the United States is a Democrat. Campaigning with someone as politically powerful as the President, and as recognizable, would certainly get voters to the polls—especially when unemployment, gas prices, and the deficit are all dropping. Yet, Democrats almost entirely avoided Obama. The only exception was Gary Peters in Michigan. He won. So, what happens when the Democrats try to disguise themselves as Republicans? They get massacred. This is politics 101, yet the Democrats seem not to understand.
Why Democrats Lost
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Society of the Machine
When a power hungry robot named Sudokus tries to take control of the galaxy, Earth becomes the last safe haven. It is then up to the humans, and what else is left of the rebellion throughout the solar system, to try to halt Sudokus’s progress. But Sudokus won’t easily be stopped, as he is fighting for more than imperial gains. He is also fighting to preserve his immortality.
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Keystone and Immigration
The Keystone XL Pipeline may have been defeated for now, but remember, the Republican majority Senate has not taken effect yet. Do not be surprised if Obama and the Republican Senate pass it as part of some sort of "compromise" in the coming years.
As for immigration, why did Obama wait to take executive action? The Point is to rile up your own base, something immigration reform would have done. I heard someone recently counter that, "if he'd done that, then Republicans would have been riled up and voted against Democrats." Even if the notion that people get riled up to vote against policies rather than for them was correct, which it is not, the overall point is still clearly incorrect, because Obama supposedly did not "rile up Republicans" yet Democrats still got slaughtered. How do you explain that? The explanation is that Obama should have given an executive order on immigration before the election, not after it.
And it’s not as if they had to appear conservative because that’s what most of the voters are. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. In Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, where Republicans won the Senate races, voters decided to raise minimum wage in ballot referendums. In Colorado and Tennessee, personhood amendments failed, despite the Republicans winning. Alaska also decriminalized the possession of cannabis in small quantities. Legalization of marijuana got fifty-eight percent (out of a necessary sixty percent) in Florida, where a Republican also won (as an aside, why isn’t Governor Rick Scott in jail for his Medicare fraud?). The city of Denton, Texas banned fracking. What does all of this imply? Despite the results of the Senate and Governor races, the majority of voters were actually progressives simply unable to find a candidate that matched their political position.
But, it’s too late now for Democrats to realize the error of their ways, so what does this latest change of the D.C. landscape mean for President Obama? Not much, actually. Look at it this way: In Obama’s first two years he essentially had free reign, since his party controlled both Houses in Congress. What was the biggest accomplishment of that time? Turning Mitt Romney’s Republican Healthcare plan into a national policy now known as Obamacare. Sure, he added some progressive provisions to it, but at the end of the day, the big Democratic achievement under President Obama was a private insurance plan proposed by Republicans. Over the next four years, Obama didn’t take much action, and any attempts to do so were defeated in the Republican House and filibustered by the Republican minority in the Senate. Now, the only thing that will change is that Republicans won’t have to filibuster in the Senate, and they can now try to complain that it’s Obama who is obstructing them (laugh along with me at that irony).
Did you vote in the 2014 midterms?
However, perhaps some things will get passed. How so? Obama, in policy, has been less than liberal, extending the majority of the Bush tax cuts and cutting spending: things with which the Republican majorities in Congress agree. Expect more agreement in the future, as President Obama himself said following the 2014 elections that he wants to work on “Repatriation,” or bringing corporate money held in offshore accounts back into America by offering tax cuts on it. This was a policy former President Bush Jr. used just before collapsing the economy. Obama has also never come out against the Keystone XL Pipeline, so expect that to pass, along with some corporate friendly trade deals like TPP.
All-in-all, these 2014 midterm elections mean nothing. President Obama can veto anything too conservative for his tastes, but his tastes are fairly conservative as it is, so expect more of the same for Obama’s final two years. It’s an unfortunate way to go out, but for Democrats, you reap what you sow.
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I am a writer. I have substantial experience in journalism, and my passion is for creative writing. When it comes to writing, I've dabbled in everything.
I am a reader, a hockey player, a part-time musician, and an English major at Canisius College.