U.S. Elections Review: The Path to the White House

15364657104_dd44282c03_oThe Republicans now hold both the House and Senate, but the sights of both parties are set on 2016.

by Yatindra Bhatnagar.

The U.S. mid-term elections last November were expected to bring about more of the same, but the Grand Old Party returned with a much larger majority in the House, grabbed more state governors, and of course, got the control of the Senate. The Republicans did much more than defeat the Democrats, however. As The Economist declared, in the end it was a massacre. The Democrats fumbled, and the Republicans may have gained enough ground to take their victory on to the 2016 presidential election.

The Republican Party increased its majority in the House from 233 to 247, took the Senate with 54 over its previous 45, and got in 31 governors over 29 last time. This is the first time since 2006 that the Republican Party has controlled both the House and Senate.  It was not just a big win for the Republican Party, it represented a wave of support: in many races, their margin of victory increased, and in others, their margin of defeat by Democrats was quite small—just 2 or 3 percentage points.

Democratic president Barack Obama is partially to blame. His popularity has decreased, and his signature piece of legislation, Obamacare, did not score as heavily with voters as was expected by the White House. Many Democratic candidates have started to distance themselves from him. The Democrats were also blamed for a slow recovery of the economy, weak foreign policy, and an ineffective campaign.

The Republicans took advantage of the criticism, and mounted a vigorous, disciplined campaign that eschewed extra-conservative ideals in order to influence more of the moderate voters. An increased number of older voters, who traditionally side with the Grand Old Party (GOP), also turned out to vote.

The nation did move toward a conservative position, but it was not the extreme right as represented by the deeply conservative Tea Party movement among the Republicans. Not surprisingly, not a single Tea party candidate contested a seat in the Senate. The Republican emphasis was on economy, education, and energy, in order to appeal to general voters.

The Democrats Stumble

It has been a tradition that the last two years of an incumbent president witness his party losing in the midterm election. Obama himself conceded this when he said: “I’ve got to take responsibility when the Democrats stumble”. His popularity had also stumbled from …

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