By Jacob Reiskin, Staff Writer
Next week is midterm elections in the United States. The lead up has been rather typical: midterm elections do not get much attention, and for good reason. Nate Silver, the historically accurate analyst, predicted today that Republicans have a 68.3% chance of winning the Senate. That’s no certainty, but it is fairly comfortable in the world of politics. If Republicans win the Senate, however, it will not make much difference. The real stakes are in 2016.
The last four years have been characterized by a stagnant congress. The Republican Party has run a program of obstruction. They have jeopardized the future of the country by refusing to lead. Good conservatism requires effective leadership with restraint. In the next two years, Republicans will be better able to prevent government functionality. The only significant change may be the ease with which Obama will be able appoint his people to leadership positions. In general, the country can expect more of the same, which is to say more of not much.
Obama has increasingly operated using executive orders. Pushing policy this way has serious constitutional issues and sets a precedent for future presidents that Congress is unnecessary. Working with the President on some issues would allow Republicans to better keep executive power in check, but this will not happen. Obama has been fully convinced that the Republicans in office are not allies.
The real consequences of a Republican victory are the implications for 2016. Historically speaking, an unpopular president working with a Congress completely controlled by the opposing party has fought an uphill battle. Obama was swept into office in wake of a Congress controlled by Democrats and an executive controlled by a Republican. If this is a lesson, Republicans have a good chance at combating naive idealism two years from now. Republican control of the Senate will exemplify a conservative shift in the mentality of voters. It is no guarantee of a Republican presidential victory in 2016, but it’s a good start.