“Make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” This line was included in a speech President Obama gave at Northwestern University in early October. Some of these policies include making it easier for first-time homebuyers to get a loan, investing in clean energy technology, making schools stronger, reforming the immigration system, and raising the minimum wage.
Now, the Democrats lost big on election night. In the US Senate races, the Republicans picked up at least 7 seats (Alaska and Louisiana have still not officially been called). In the US House races, Republicans have gained at least 12 seats, giving them the largest majority since 1946. Republicans now have 31 of 50 governorships across the country, defeating 4 Democratic incumbents on election night.
President Obama wasn’t very popular on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates in contested states. He did campaign on behalf of 9 candidates in the weeks leading up to the election. Unfortunately for Obama, candidates lost 5 of those 9. Hillary Clinton, widely thought to be the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2016 fared only slightly better. Clinton campaigned with 10 Democratic Senate candidates, only three of which were victorious. She also appeared in 11 governor’s races of which her candidates only won 5.
So what does this mean? No, President Obama was not on the ballot, but like he said, his policies certainly were. On Election Day, the people spoke loudly and clearly. As the results rolled in, one thing was evident: Obama’s policies are not highly favored by most Americans.
In his post-election day press conference, Obama stated, “To those of you that voted, I hear you.” He went on to say, “I’m committed to making sure that I measure ideas not by whether they are from Democrats or Republicans, but whether they work for the American people.” We have heard similar rhetoric from the President before, but I am anxious to see how this election shapes the next two years. I choose to remain optimistic.
Moving forward there are three things that can happen. First, President Obama can continue his rule by iron fist technique and be stonewalled by the Congress. Second, the Congress can pass law after law that attack everything the President believes in and be stonewalled by the White House. Third, the two can find common ground and move forward on legislation that puts America first.
As you can probably imagine, I am elated by the Republican victory. These results appear to me as a newfound awareness of the difficult situation America is finding herself in. From terrorists to economic development to Ebola, America faces a variety of issues that simply cannot be talked out of. Even though this victory reenergizes the GOP, we must move forward with great caution. 2016 is right around the corner and the next two years will play a significant role in determining who moves in the White House on Inauguration Day.
If you are anything like me, the last six years have been less than satisfactory as far as the government goes. In January, the Congress will be given a new opportunity to prove to the American people that Republican principles can turn things around. President Obama can no longer hide behind Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. As legislation passes, he will be forced on record to veto or sign, a position he has yet to find himself in.