Friday, October 12, 2012

US Elections: What about the House? And the Senate? The news is not good

House of Representatives - No change
In 2012 the control of all three of the political bodies is up for grabs: the Presidency, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.

Right now the President is a Democrat, the Democrats loosely control the Senate, and the Republicans control the House.

Come November 7, the Democrats will most probably control the Senate, the Republicans the House, and Obama will enter his second term.

So how will the next eight years shape up? Here’s one view. It all depends on Obama:

In practice, then, Democrats have just one election that gives them a remotely fair chance to win: the presidential election. They have no chance to control the House or to wield effective control over the Senate. The whole weight of the party’s agenda — protecting health-care reform, progressive taxation, and everything else that might be mowed down by Republican-controlled government — rests on Barack Obama’s shoulders.

Why? Because only the presidency is really up for grabs:

Second, the political system that exists gives the Democratic Party almost no
margin for error. The House is locked into the GOP for another eight years. The Senate, meanwhile, is tilted very heavily to the GOP. The Senate over-represents people who live in small states, and people who live in small states lean Republican. (That’s why George W. Bush won 30 states in 2000 even while slightly losing the popular vote.) All things being equal, Republicans will enjoy a pretty large Senate majority.

The two parties have approached this underlying fact differently. Republicans have instilled powerful discipline on their Senators, giving them almost no leeway to depart from the conservative line. In several cases, the party’s almost fanatical discipline has made it risk or throw away seats, by driving electable moderates out and nominating crazies. The upside to this strategy is that the Republicans who do win recognize that they have to toe the party line. Basically, Republicans are spending down their natural Senate majority, making their party smaller but much more disciplined.

Democrats have the opposite approach. Forced to hold Republican-leaning territory, they give their candidates wide latitude to break from the party. The upside is that this helps Democrats hold more Senate seats than they should. The downside is that many of these Senators fear identifying too closely with their party. In 2001, twelve Democrats in the Senate voted for the Bush tax cuts. Democrats appear well-poised to hold the Senate in 2012, but anybody counting on this to restrain a President Romney is probably deluded.
That’s why who wins the presidency is so important to tens of millions of less-advantaged Americans.


  1. Latest Miami Herald poll (only 800 people):

    But middle-aged voters — the bulk of the Florida electorate — shifted almost 12 points in Romney’s favor.

    Romney even started to gain more support from Hispanic voters, who moved 11 points in Romney’s favor.

    The majority of the electorate, non-Hispanic white voters, were always in Romney’s corner. Now they’re even more solidly behind the Republican, backing him 61-34 percent over Obama.

    “All of this is tied to that debate,” Coker said. “There’s no question in my mind that that debate really made people stand up and pay attention and it really wiped away questions people might have had about Romney who were either undecided or soft for Obama.”

    The election is far from over.

    Though Romney made up major ground, he and the president have two more debates and four weeks of campaigning to go.

    Read more here:

  2. I've made several comments in the past few months and they didn't appear, I thought I'd been barred!

  3. You have not been barred, Ligneus! You are always welcome.

    Of course, there not be any landslide for either candidate; Obam needs to recapture Florida and cement Ohio in order to deny Romney the prize....

    The next debate is key: if Obama beats Romney decisively (which is very unlikely because Obama speaks in first gear only), the game is over.

    If Obama fights Romney to a draw, he has a good chance to squeak by.

    If Romney beats Obama per the instant polls, he will be president.

  4. Well that's good, I know I'm a bit of a cantankerous, disputatious, speak my mind kind of guy but I don't think I'm rude to anyone, it's just that I find many people a bit thin skinned, can't take an opposing view.

    I still say landslide for Romney, have been saying it all year, have a couple of bets on it! one of them with Norm, ex Marxist/political Prof at Manchest U in England who blogs at Normblog.
    As for the Tea Partiers, much maligned by the left, they are ordinary Americans who want better governance than they've been getting the last thiry odd years, above all, a sound and sane fiscal policy. Remember how the Occupy movement was touted as the left's answer to the TP's? Remember the filthy, vermin ridden, crime infested sites of the O's? Do you know that even after huge rallies by the TP's they left no trash atall? Took it all away with them. It's like grown ups on one hand and adolescents on the other.
    Love your description of obama speaking in first gear only!

  5. Tea Partiers leave plenty of trash behind after their rallies, Ligneus: the airwaves are full of their garbage.

    If you really listen carefully to some of these Tea Party spokespeople, one thing leaps out: their ignorance of what government is, and their simplistic solutions to complicated problems.

    If you couple these two faults with their adoption of slogans in many cases as a substitute for a proper analysis, you have a wonderful concoction of utter nonsense, fiercely expressed, firmly believed in, and clearly out of touch with reality.

    The Tea Party form of dialogue is often a regrettable degrading of conversations in the political space.

  6. "their ignorance of what government is"

    It isn't ignorance of what government is, it's disagreement with what it has become.

  7. .....and when you look at the trillions of dollars in both debt and deficit, you might concede that they have a point.


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