- - Thursday, October 30, 2014


It’s almost a foregone conclusion that President Obama and the Democrats are going to suffer a humiliating defeat in next week’s midterm elections.

What would this mean for the last two years of his deeply unpopular presidency, the outcome of the 2015-16 presidential election cycle and the Republicans’ chances of winning back the White House?

Certainly, a huge, game-changing win for Republicans on Nov. 4 will dramatically reorder the political dynamics of the next two years, including the next presidential election. This election is also shaping up as a very big victory for the GOP across the nation.

Not only are all the political prognosticators forecasting that Republicans will take control of the Senate, they’re predicting they will strengthen their majority in the House, hold the majority of state governorships, and win a record number of state legislative chambers across the country.

When you look at the number of major elective offices across the nation, you discover that the GOP — whatever the polls say about them in Congress — now control a hefty chunk of the nation’s political power structure.

They already have a tight hold on the House, are within six seats of taking the Senate, control 29 of the nation’s 50 state governors, and rule 59 of the country’s 98 partisan legislative chambers. Democrats hold only 39.

A Washington Post survey of the 6,049 state legislative races in 46 states says a “record number of statehouses could go Republican” in next week’s elections.

These are the sobering political realities that are now facing Mr. Obama and the Democrats when voters go to the polls next week to decide who they want to put in charge of the nation’s gubernatorial and legislative machinery.

It should be clear by now that it’s the Democrats who are unpopular, or at least the Democrats who have been in lockstep with Mr. Obama’s agenda to move the country in a sharply leftward direction, one in which more government, more spending and still more regulations are the answers to every problem.

So how will all of this play out during the next two years?

It’s certainly going to have profound impact on the 2015-16 presidential campaign, which will officially begin the day after Tuesday’s results.

Hardly a day goes by, it seems, that some news story doesn’t appear in one of the nation’s major newspapers, usually on the front page, extolling Hillary Clinton as the savior of the Democratic Party, with her on a fast track to follow Mr. Obama into the White House. She also faces a hornet’s nest of political obstacles, though, that no one wants to mention.

First and foremost is that the nation’s electorate has not only grown tired of the Democrats’ botched rule and its handling of the economy, it has turned bitterly against them.

A majority of voters now say the government’s ability to address the nation’s biggest problems has declined in the past several years. By an overwhelming ratio of 3-to-1, far more voters blame Mr. Obama and the Democrats than the GOP, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Mrs. Clinton is certainly not immune from this deep hostility toward Mr. Obama’s big-government approach to domestic issues, as well as his bungled handling of national security and foreign policy matters, which she carried out as secretary of state. She also coldly turned a deaf ear to the desperate pleas for added security from the doomed embassy officials who lost their lives in a fiery terrorist attack in Benghazi.

One does not have to be politically clairvoyant to know that the GOP’s campaign cry in 2016 will be “it’s time for a change,” and that means putting the Republicans back in charge of the government.

Meantime, what can we expect from the White House if the Republicans end up in charge of Congress in the last two years of Mr. Obama’s presidency?

It’s hard to imagine him signing any of the economic reforms the GOP wants enacted to accelerate growth, significantly boost new-business formation, job creation and higher middle-class incomes, which have remained flat.

Still, Republican congressional leaders will want to show the American people the kind of changes that are needed to turn the country around, especially in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

To do that, they will have to pass pro-growth legislation to reform the tax code by cleansing it of costly corporate tax exemptions and other loopholes, and lowering the tax rates on business, families, individuals and investors.

They will have to tackle a common-sense replacement for Obamacare that lowers health care costs, including the rising cost of medical insurance premiums. They should dare Mr. Obama to veto their pro-growth agendas and, if he does, they will become the virulent issues of the 2016 race for the White House.

It is more than likely that Mr. Obama will not give an inch on any of the issues he has steadfastly opposed over his rocky years in office. He can’t be expected to give in on badly needed budget cuts to slow the growth in spending, tame the deficit and shrink an $18 trillion debt. He certainly won’t junk Obamacare or expand trade and anger his party’s union bosses.

We’re most likely in store for two more years of gridlock in preparation for the presidential election battle to come.

The Republicans had better choose their standard-bearer carefully — someone who, unlike Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton, has been in charge of running a government and getting an agenda enacted.

The voters are clearly ready for sweeping change, and that’s the midterm message they are going to deliver loud and clear on Tuesday.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.

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