GOP win means what?

Published 11:12 am Friday, September 19, 2014

Non-presidential election years have considerably lower voter turnout than the years when America elects a president. This is such a year and this fall will likely follow that traditional pattern of fewer voters electing senators and members of the House of Representatives.

In recent years off-year elections have favored Republicans as their core voters tend to have a higher turnout rate giving them more influence in the outcome of the election.

So it has been true that most Republican gains have come from off year elections,

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In 2014 Republicans are cautiously optimistic that they may capture a Senate majority and hold on to their House majority. Should this happen the Republican party would hold significantly more power by controlling both houses of Congress.

What can we expect if the voters turn over the reins of congressional power to the Republicans? No one can know for certain, but certainly Republicans have given rise to speculation in terms of their priorities.

There is no doubt that Republicans will continue their investigations of the Obama administration on several fronts. If you think the IRS foot dragging on certifying Tea Party nonprofit status applications in 2011 is important, then Republicans will seek those answers.

Certainly Benghazi will continue as a topic of interest in a Republican congress.

If you are concerned that we need more conservative judges at the federal level, Republicans will certainly confirm far fewer Obama nominees in the next two years than would a Democratic senate.

Most likely the senate will leave considerable high government positions unfilled, including ambassadorships and agency directors, in hopes of naming Republicans to those positions should a Republican win the 2016 presidential elections.

In terms of fiscal matters Republicans will support reducing taxes on corporations, will fight not to increase taxes on the richest Americans, and will resist any efforts to pay for social projects with tax code revisions.

Republican majorities will make the annual budget battle exciting again, likely refusing to approve several line items desired by Democrats but not supported by Republicans. Obamacare will face funding challenges.

Specifically, expect Republicans to continue to seek to eliminate or diminish Roe v. Wade, the constitutional protection for abortion; they will resist any attempt at revising how elections are funded and embrace the Supreme Court rulings that have poured more money into elections; they will oppose strongly actions designed to respond to the crisis of global warming; and they will likely turn away from Common Core, an educational framework designed uniformly to increase U.S. educational standards in response to competitive global educational advances.

But most likely, beyond investigations, attacks on Obamacare, and budget battles, the Republicans will do mostly, nothing. They will do nothing because if they win in 2014 it will be a result of “do-nothing” politics and they will continue on that plan into the 2016 presidential election.

Doing nothing has made Republicans less popular than Democrats in virtually every poll, but winning elections is now more about gerrymandering and obscene amounts of outside money in campaigns than about popularity.

It may well be that 2014 is the year when “nothing” wins at the ballot box.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.