- - Friday, October 24, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The upcoming midterm elections are looking very promising for Republicans. Democrats continue to make claims that they are in a good position to keep their majority in the Senate. However, every major poll, including the New York Times, shows that the GOP is likely to add at least 7 seats in the Senate, giving them a 52-seat majority in the upper chamber.

However, will this election end up being the victory that the GOP was hoping to have?

For the past several years that Democrats have held the Senate, they have engaged in an unprecedented level of obstructionism.

Throughout his tenure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has turned the Senate into an egregiously partisan chamber. Instead of working with his GOP colleagues, or take up any of the hundreds of House bills sitting at his desk for a vote, Senator Reid made the decision that was a better use of his time to engage in partisan political attacks on the Senate floor.

Not only has Senator Reid successfully turn the Senate into a partisan do-nothing chamber, he and his Democratic colleagues were successfully able to convince a disgruntled American public that the GOP was at fault for the gridlock.

According to a 2013 Quinnipiac survey, 51% of voters blamed Washington gridlock on congressional GOP. While voters disproved of the job Democrats were doing by 63%, it was still better than the 74% disapproval rating of their GOP counterparts. President Obama won his second presidential campaign, in part, because he was able to exploit and expand upon this perception.

Unfortunately, obstruction and partisanship will not disappear with a GOP led Senate. It will simply bottleneck at a different location. Using his veto power, President Obama will continue Senator Reid’s work of obstructing Congress.

While the President has threatened to veto dozens of GOP bills, to date President Obama has only vetoed two bills. The President has successfully been able to curtail the use of his veto because Senator Reid has been able to halt any legislation from reaching the Presidents desk. With the GOP controlling both chambers, the President will be forced to make good on his veto threats.

While Senate Democrats will be hurting this election cycle, President Obama may find himself in a windfall position.

With the GOP only expected to win a simple majority this election, the ability to override the President Obama’s veto will be elusive. In addition to President Obama following through on his threat to veto GOP bills, his threat to bypass Congress with executive orders will likely come to fruition.

President Obama has held off on fulfilling his promise to use executive action, to avoid hurting Democrats in the upcoming election. However, with the election out of the way a new level of partisanship will take place, as Obama will be able to both marginalize the role of Congress and further advance his legislative agenda. Additionally, because it is has been a winning strategy in the past, we are likely to see Democrats revive the obstructionist argument against the GOP in the 2016 election cycle.

The GOP needs to sweep the election and win at least double the predicted Senate seats in order to avoid this outcome from occurring. If they are unsuccessful, the GOP’s euphoria of winning back both chambers will be very short-lived.

Alex VanNess is the Manager of Public Information for the Center for Security Policy.

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