Winning both houses in the midterm election may or may not be a good thing for the GOP. Republicans can no longer blame Democrats for the gridlock in Washington, and they will be forced to address the important issues. In other words, they’ll have to do something. Another issue, possibly more important to the overall future success of the GOP concerns evidence of greater infighting. Long-time and more traditional Republicans are facing challenges from the TEA Party and their young, brash, and inexperienced members. As predicted long ago, the Republicans are beginning a Civil War.
Here are the issues. House Speaker John Boehner, and expected Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, have already stated that they will work more closely with the President and attempt to find compromise on contested issues. They said that there will be no more government shutdowns, and that it appears impossible to overturn the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.
TEA Part extremists don’t want to hear this sensible rhetoric; they want it all or nothing. Supported by the wealthiest Americans such as the Koch brothers, their hunger for power supersedes their already minimal abilities to intelligently deliberate the issues and then pass sensible legislation. If the truth be known, the TEA Party has been the primary obstruction for the previous six years.
The good news for Americans in general is that TEA Party members are already reacting in fear of domination by true members of the GOP. Many of the newly elected Republicans a less volatile than members of the TEA Party. True conservatives who have displayed an ability to move more towards the center in their efforts to solve the problems of our nation have gained larger numbers, and therefore greater power.
At present the only consolation for the junior wing of the GOP is a bill which will be proposed by McConnell. He will introduce legislation next year which would ban all abortions after 20 weeks. If it passes in both houses President Obama is expected to veto the legislation.
The most important revelation in the victory of Republicans is their lack of promised change in the party’s relationship with minorities, women, and younger voters who tend to be less religious. They remain the same old party which continues to cater to old white men who are dying. The average age of those elected to office was 62, and the average age in the United States is 39; and although whites remain the largest ethnic percentage, that too is deceptive; white includes Hispanic voters.
With the election now a week in the past, analysts have given their assessment of why so many Senate seats were lost. Reasons such as anger at the system, an open hatred of the President, and a low voter turnout, especially among women, younger voters and minorities have been heard frequently. In addition, of the seats which became open, many were in traditionally ‘red’ states.
The Civil War inside the GOP will be interesting to watch. Although our nation’s people will unlikely see a change in their quality of life in the next two years, what happens between two factions of one party may secure a positive outcome in the 2016 election.
By James Turnage