Republicans gain at midterms

Results reflect American political disillusionment

courtesy of wikimedia commons  MITCH McCONNELL is set to become the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate after the Republican Party took a majority of the Senate in the election Tuesday. It remains to be seen whether Harry Reid will be elected as Minority Leader.

courtesy of wikimedia commons
MITCH McCONNELL is set to become the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate after the Republican Party took a majority of the Senate in the election Tuesday. It remains to be seen whether Harry Reid will be elected as Minority Leader.

 

Commentary by
Bill Burke

This year’s midterm elections have commanded a considerable amount of attention as of late, and deservedly so. A substantial political shift is imminent, and that deserves attention; however, this election season feels a bit different. It is lacking a certain element despite the momentous swing in our government that is about to take place. The atmosphere surrounding this year’s elections is wrought with apathy, disillusionment and negativity.

One of the key reasons for this awkward vibe, so to speak, is the fact that very few candidates are running on relevant issues. Many citizens have been complaining that the candidates aren’t running on issues relevant to them. Democrats and Republicans alike are instead running on an anti-Obama platform. Rather than luring voters in with cogent stances on important issues, such as minimum wage, healthcare or immigration reform, candidates on both sides have decided to appeal to the people’s growing disdain for President Obama.

Republicans have been running strictly against Obama and all who supported him whilst failing to provide clear explanations as to what they plan to do when in office, other than obstruct Obama.

Democrats, on the other hand, have been hesitant, both to support Obama and to denounce him. This was evident when Kentucky senatorial candidate Alison Grimes balked when asked whether or not she voted for Obama, and she still has not answered the question. There has been job growth under Obama, unemployment and gas prices have gone down, and healthcare reform was achieved, but Democrats don’t seem willing to fight the fight on behalf of the president. Candidates are not running on real issues, just against Obama. One of the positives to take away from this, however, is that Republicans are not running, and embarrassing themselves, on sensitive issues such as gun control, abortion or gay marriage. They seem to have learned their lesson from the 2012 elections, when many were scrutinized for their views on sensitive topics.

Political candidates are not the only ones to blame for the pathetic nature of the midterm elections. Voters seem to be as apathetic as ever. Voter turnout is not what it was in 2012, and many citizens are voting in retaliation against Obama and the Democrats rather than for an issue they believe in. This is apparent at the state and national levels. Senator Mitch McConnell’s approval rating is at an all-time low, but he has been staunchly anti-Obama, which is all he needed to gain a victory in his state of Kentucky. Voters are even voting against their own self-interest. Minimum wage is a pressing issue in the U.S. and it is on many Democrats’ agenda. But the people have decided that the Republicans should control the Senate. It is as if the American people are collectively saying, “70 percent of us agree that minimum wage should be raised to about $10 per hour, but we should still vote Republican to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

This election season carries no surprises with it. Historically, presidents in the sixth year of their presidency lose control of the Senate to the other party. Predictable as they may be, the elections are still disconcerting, not because there will be a shift from a liberal to a conservative government, but because important issues are not being discussed, voters are voting against Obama instead of on issues and the priority among candidates seems to be obstruction of the current administration, not improvement of the state of the union. Also, no one seems to care that this Congress has passed less than one-fifth the legislation that the infamous “Do Nothing Congress” of 1946-47 did. This election ensures that gridlock in Washington will continue for the next two years. If one thing is certain, it is that Obama will be vetoing his fair share of bills until 2016.

Nov. 6, 2014

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