Whether it was landslide or a mandate, Republicans across the country held onto and gained offices in the 2014 elections. At the state level, many governors, secretaries of state, attorneys general and legislatures are in the hands of Republicans. Nationally, the Republican majority in the U.S. House increased and the Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate.
Other than numbers though, how much of a change are we going to see?
Prior to the election, Gov. Nikki Haley worked with a State House made up of 46 Democrats and 78 Republicans. After the election, Gov. Haley will work with a State House made up of 46 Democrats and 78 Republicans. Of course, the make-up is not identical, but given that 93 of the 124 seats up for election had only one party running, change won’t be dramatic.
Republican control of the U.S. Senate falls short of the votes needed to end a filibuster, except in the case of budget reconciliation, or override a presidential veto. Republicans have freely used the filibuster at record levels during President Obama’s administration.
Republican obstructionism worked in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. One of the obstructionist leaders, incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said his goal was to limit President Obama to a single term. Finding common ground now might be tough going.
Likewise, common ground may be at a premium within the Republican Party. The many Republican Presidential hopefuls in the legislature each have their own agenda. After a campaign of not being Obama, what will they run on? Government shutdowns and gridlock may have resulted in some of the lowest approval ratings ever, but that was not reflected in the election results.
The pollsters were wrong projecting this election and the chattering class will continue to explain why it happened. Moving forward though, it’s hard to see much change on the horizon.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach