It's a race to the finish line, but Republicans seem to have a decisive edge in Tuesday's midterm elections. Should the Republicans gain control of the Senate, they will control both houses of Congress and the consequences will be dramatic.
Turnout in the 2014 midterm elections may reach a record low. Yet, the outcome may affect every American. The gridlock that currently plagues Washington will only increase with Republicans in control of the Senate. Memo to Democrats: an array of important issues, currently being blocked by the GOP, will either be bottled up or repealed.
The Democrat president has been stymied because it takes 60 votes in the Senate to end a filibuster that blocks legislation or nominations from passage. Currently the Democrats are unable to overcome this roadblock because they have a bare majority, and the Republicans have fully leveraged their position. A Republican majority in the Senate will mean open season for the party.
Take the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which is the law of the land and has been implemented in many states. Presently, millions of formerly uninsured Americans are now covered by President Barack Obama's signature program. The law has had dramatically positive results, especially in helping to reduce the growth of health care costs. While the program is not perfect, it is working. Yet Senate Republicans, led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, will be emboldened to kill this law. They see the ACA as an entitlement that must be eliminated.
Equal pay legislation for women will be a lost cause. So will attempts to raise the minimum wage. Governor Chris Christie spoke for most Republicans when he recently said, "I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage." He continued, "I don't think there's a mother or a father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in America who are saying, 'You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all our dreams would be realized.'" Yet most economists believe the minimum wage should be increased.
The Democrat controlled Senate passed an immigration reform bill, but the Republican House, led by Speaker John Boehner, has refused to vote on the measure. House Republicans want to close the southern borders and deport most undocumented immigrants. Their idea of the Dream Act is sending all undocumented immigrants home. They actually believe that the undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away from able-bodied Americans.
Several important government positions have not been filled because Republicans are sitting on the nominations. Should the Supreme Court have a vacancy, the GOP will do all it can to block any nomination by President Obama. Republicans would prefer a nominee who will role back a woman's right to choose, same sex marriage, and allow interest groups to anonymously spend enormous amounts of money on their candidates. Their ideal nominee would support expansion of voter ID laws, which adversely impacts the elderly and minorities, typically Democrats.
If you think you have heard enough about the GOP manufactured scandals of Benghazi and IRS, which have been thoroughly investigated, you better fasten your seat belts. A Republican controlled Senate will spend millions of taxpayer dollars trying to score political points against Democrats, like Hillary Clinton, the party's probable 2016 presidential candidate. The will do so by opening new investigations and dragging them out through 2016.
It seems inexplicable that the "party of no" will gain control of Congress. Congressional Republicans have an approval rating of 21 percent, while 69 percent of those polled last month disapprove of Congressional Republicans. That is half the president's approval numbers. Yet the GOP may be rewarded with control of both Houses of Congress.
Following the 2008 presidential elections, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who is currently the Minority Leader, made it his number one priority to destroy President Obama and his agenda. He calculated that the president would bear the blame for a dysfunctional government, so McConnell did all he could to bollix up the works with partisan tactics, including shutting down the government. Now, even though he is unpopular in his home state of Kentucky, he is on the verge of being rewarded for his partisan tactics with reelection.
President Obama has been hammered by the GOP for his handling of ISIS, the ruthless terrorist group that has gained control of significant territory in Syria and Iraq. But it was the Republican President George Bush, who lied to America in order to launch the Iraq war, who started the turmoil in the region by his misguided war. A decade later, had President Obama given arms to the so-called moderate factions fighting Syria's government, ISIS would have ended up with the weapons and Obama would have still been blamed by Republicans for the group's rise.
Republicans are critical of the president's foreign policy. For instance, the removal of American combats troops from Iraq. Yet, the troop withdrawal was in accordance with a status of forces agreement negotiated by Bush.
Speaking of President Bush, his economic policies, based on traditional Republican principles and ideals, led to the worst recession this country has had since the Great Depression. The "trickle down" economic theory espoused by Republicans has not worked, and has led to a further gap in this country between rich and poor. President Obama has dug this country out of the deep economic hole he inherited following the Bush Recession, by increasing employment, reducing the deficit, and putting tougher banking regulations in place on "too big to fail" type institutions. But Republicans want to roll back government regulations.
To those Democrats who don't think this election is important enough for them to exercise their precious right to vote, especially African Americans, Latinos, the young, and women, you will only have yourselves to blame for what comes next. And, yes, it can get worse.