Republicans won big, now have tough task
The elections of 2014 are pretty well complete now with the 56-44 percent victory of Bill Cassidy in Louisiana and so a review of what happened is at hand.
The Republicans now hold 54 seats in the Senate, a gain of nine, and 243 in the house, a gain of 12, giving the Republicans the largest majorities in congress since 1929. Voters continued purging Democrats who voted for Obamacare and now half of the senators are gone. Every Democratic senator who lost had voted for Obamacare. Identifying as a Clinton Democrat also didn’t work — not even in Arkansas!
This election capped the largest turnaround in American history, as 87 congressional seats have changed party affiliation between 2010 and 2014. In the end, the vaunted Democrat ground game came up short and its voters frequently stayed home — the glow of 2008 has mostly evaporated. The house has sent to the senate nearly 400 bills — including 57 jobs bills — where Reid has let most of them languish for lack of action. In the information age people know this. In January the logjam will begin to break up and bills will be passed in both chambers and sent to the president.
Democrats spent millions of dollars trying to demonize and defeat Gov. Scott Walker three times now, and they failed miserably. The wealthy Mary Burke spent $4 million of her own money in her futile attempt to overturn the will of the people of Wisconsin. Walker has become the national model for other governors and voters who are serious about taking on union excesses, high taxes, undue borrowing, unfunded debts and other budget busters. He has also set himself up nicely as a successful and attractive governor who might want to make a run at the White House.
Republican governors now sit in 31 states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Maine, and Nevada, while Democrats won 18 states. Republicans now control 31 state legislatures, which includes an increase of 432 seats, while Democrats control just 11. This is a massive political turnaround for Republicans at the local level and leaves the Democrats with the smallest local control since 1868.
The war on women was levied on many Republicans — even women — which voters failed to buy into. This was especially the case with Mark “uterus” Udall who became the butt of jokes. The youngest woman ever elected to congress, 30-year-old Elise Stefanik, romped to a 22-point victory over her Democratic challenger in New York’s 21st congressional district. Joni Ernst is the first woman elected to the senate from Iowa. Even the worn out race card didn’t fly this round, particularly against black GOP candidates. South Carolina’s Tim Scott became the first African-American senator to win election in the South since Reconstruction. Mia Love is black and a Mormon, who was elected to congress in Utah, while Will Hurd was elected in Texas. These and other minorities made significant political gains for the Republicans. GOP candidates were outstanding this round and many rising stars for future leadership and higher office made their successful bids.
Now the Republicans have the unenviable chore of trying to unwind years of fiscal irresponsibility and work towards government fiscal solvency. Given the president has contributed mightily to the national debt, printing fiat currency, unfunded liabilities and unprecedented expansion of government, it appears to be an uphill battle for the majority. This battle will certainly set the stage for the 2016 elections.
David Johnson is a businessman in Carson City.