Regardless of which party does come out on top at the end of the night (GOP just 3 seats away from a simple 51-seat majority as I type this), there are going to be some major challenges for the Senate when they come back early next year. Here are just a few of those:
- IF the GOP manages to win control of the Senate, it's not yet guaranteed that current Minority Leader (and re-elected tonight) Mitch McConnell will end up being the new Majority Leader. He is still fairly unpopular in the more conservative and Tea-Partier sections of the GOP, that opposition at least partially headed by junior Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. That said, given his strong finish (~10-11 point win over his opponent), trying to move him off that top position may be trickier than his enemies within the GOP originally thought.
- IF the GOP fails to win majority control of the Senate, we will likely witness a level of GOPers "eating their own" much greater than after Mitt Romney's loss in 2012..No party does it better!
- Even if the nights turns out really great for the GOP, it doesn't seem likely they will have the same kind of majority the Democrats had going in and thus one has to wonder how effectively the GOP will be able to run the Senate. Harry Reid with a relatively small majority was able to successfully defeat the GOP at seemingly every turn for many years now. Folks may despise Mr. Reid, most political wonks will tell you all day long that he IS an "effective" Majority Leader in that he is very capable of stepping his opposition from having their voice heard. Can Mitch McConnell (or some one else) do the same once in power?
- Expect President Obama to attempt to "make nice" with the GOP in the next few months and do so very publicly. Why? Because if they spur him while he is so publicly reaching out to them, he could garner additional support for further "executive actions". Further, with the GOP potentially in control of both houses of Congress, the term "lame duck" is going to really start to get thrown around (except for at FoxNews where they have been chatting it up for months now..). What better way to remind folks he is still there than a political showdown?
- May not actually know the final tally by tonight's end or even by tomorrow. Louisiana's election could turn into a run-off that goes into NEXT YEAR..
- In addition, while we will all be glad to NOT have to see any more nasty and idiotic political ads on TV for at least a little while, we should expect talk of 2016's presidential election almost IMMEDIATELY..For better or worse.
Overall, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that this year's midterm congressional elections are the most watched and most participated in for many years (we'll wait for some actual data to back-up that up or not). That, in its own right, is a pretty big deal in American politics.
Generally, midterms do not have the same levels of turnout as Presidential elections, not even by a long shot and yet this one is potentially going to have an even bigger impact than the GOP's return to power in the House back in 2010.
For those who did vote in tonight's elections across the country, kudos to you for doing your part to move the political system and actively participating in a political system that far too many see as irreversibly corrupt and pointless.
For those slackers who did NOT vote in this election, here something to keep in mind:
You don't get to whine and bitch about how the federal government is screwing you over if you are too lazy to get off your duff and do something about it.
If you think the government is doing everything wrong, stop just being part of the idiotic and childish echo chamber and try and enact some "change" yourself.
All comments and/or opinions expressed in the above work are purely those of the author unless otherwise noted and do not represent that opinions/positions of any political or non-political organization or the Department of the Defense. Any/all distribution of this work MUST contain this disclaimer.