By Charles Brooks
The nation’s political landscape is remarkably more Republican now with their decisive victories a couple of weeks ago during the 2014 elections. Just in case you forgot – not only did Democrats lose on the national level but they suffered losses on the state level as well. For example, Democrats lost their only majority in the US Congress – in the Senate and they lost seats in the House of Representatives. Now bear in mind Democrats lost seats in state legislatures all across the country and a few key governorships in Democratic Party territory – like in Illinois, Massachusetts, and the biggest surprise in Maryland. This is what the National Conference of State Legislature had to say: “It appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 300 and 350 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920. Republicans gained seats in every region of the country and in all but about a dozen legislative chambers that were up this year. It appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 300 and 350 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats. That is their highest number of legislators since 1920. Republicans gained seats in every region of the country and in all but about a dozen legislative chambers that were up this year.” So what does that mean – what does the current political landscape look like – Republicans now control 23 out of 50 state governments, that means both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor are all Republican. They are Republican majorities in 30 state legislatures as well as in 68 legislative chambers (one of the two houses that typically makes up state government). Lastly, there are 31 Republican governors sitting in state capitols across the country. Clearly the 2014 elections has empowered the Republicans as the lines of battle are redrawn...at least until the 2016 elections. You can already sense the tension quickly building as President Obama spoke of his intention to take executive action to address immigration reform while Republicans counter by suing the president over the Affordable Care Act. The first of many battles to come over the next two years...
Meanwhile, what could possibly explain why the Democrats suffered such huge losses during the recent midterm elections? Or better yet – how could the voter turnout be so incredibly low after so many millions of dollars were spent while several critical issues were at stake? For instance, on the national level two issues quickly come to mind: the impeachment of President Obama and repealing parts, if not all, of the Affordable Care Act. The possibilities gets worse on the state level when you consider how far can the GOP can take Republican friendly items such as voting suppression measures, tax breaks, and tax cuts as well as their opposition to minimum wage.
Over the next few months, the Democrats will be going through the “motions” as they try to figure out exactly what happened on election night. Of course, there will be the typical finger-pointing, self-reflection and internal debate as they sort through all of this. You would hope that when the Democrats come through this process of introspection, they would be able to deal with their failure to respond to a political narrative they allowed to be defined and controlled by the Republicans; and the lack of support amongst the Democratic candidates towards President Obama. Now you would think that President Obama would be out there doing what he does best – out on the campaign trail drawing massive crowds - while talking up his record of accomplishments. There would be hordes of reporters and cameramen following behind President Obama - crisscrossing the nation to campaign for and with Democratic Party candidates as they all tout his successes. You could just picture the president talking about the millions of folks who are now insured due to the Affordable Care Act, the fact that folks are paying lower gas prices at the pump, or the recent economic reports of a low 5.9% unemployment rate while over 10 million jobs were produced over a period of 55 straight months – that’s about four and a half years! This has to show some indication of job growth don’t you think? Nope – you didn’t get that - instead what we found the likes of Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail along with the heralded superstars of the party - Bill and Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, despite the issues on the table and the millions of dollars spent – Democrats for the most part stayed home – but exactly which group of Democrats stayed home?
See the second part here for the answer.
See the second part here for the answer.