LIZ LEVEY ’DOAH STAFF WRITER
In the end, it was a massacre on Nov. 5. The Republicans easily gained control of the Senate in the mid-term elections after a bitter campaign in which anger at Wash- ington gridlock was turned against a president who took office promising to surpass it.
By midnight (Eastern Time) Republicans already had 52 Senate seats confirmed. Results were still outstanding in Alaska and Louisiana, which will hold a runoff election in December after neither candidate reached 50% of the vote. Two more Republican victories would leave the party with as much as an eight-seat advantage over Democrats. They took seats held by Democrats in Iowa, Colorado, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and North Carolina — more than enough to seize control of the Senate for the first time since 2007.
Even in the state of Virginia who most Democrats thought would be a blowout victory – became too close to call. The sea of red that overtook Virginia on election night had most Democrats in Virginia holding on to their seats. Sen. Mark Warner was running against Republican nominee Ed Gillespie, former ENRON lobbyist. Gillespie ended up conceding the race a few days later. What most are pointing to is low voter turnout as well as Sen. Warner spending to much time in rural Virginia.
Two years after handing the Democrats broad victories, voters again seemed to be reaching for a way to end Washington inertia, yet the results on Nov.4 may serve only to reinforce it. Voters appeared unsure of just what they wanted, according to surveys. Among those who voted for a Democrat, only one out of eight expressed an unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party. Republican voters were more conflicted; among those who voted Republican, on of
four viewed the party unfavorably stated a poll in the New York Times. Even though a record $4 billion was poured into the election from the campaigns, parties and outside groups for advertising and other candidate support — the money did little to stir enthusiasm as the campaign set a more dubious mark for its low levels of voter interest. For their part, Demo- crats were hindered by their inability to persuade members of the coalition that delivered the White House to Mr. Obama young voters, women and minorities to turn out at levels seen in presidential elections. Decisions like the President’s delay of executive action on behalf of illegal immigrants also angered crucial constituencies. What will happen now is to be seen. Pessimists in Congress seem to believe that the parties are too polarized to agree on anything. Plenty of Republicans think the President is a menace that patriots must thwart and resist. Many Democrats believe there is no point in trying to cut deals with Republicans. Instead, they want the White House to spend his last two years in office ignoring Congress and using executive orders and federal regulations to pursue progressive goals, such as curbing greenhouse-gas emissions, shielding illegal migrants from deportation Under this scenario, no significant laws will be passed until after the presidential election in 2016. On the other side, optimists retort that once Republicans control both arms of Congress; they cannot just grumble from the sidelines. Unless they show they have a positive agenda, they risk a defeating in 2016.