Tuesday’s mid-term elections have the potential to be a sea change in the governance of our country and in the direction we take as a nation. The elections have resulted in a sharp change of control of the Senate to the Republicans, giving them both houses of Congress for the last two years of President Barack Obama’s term; an expansion of House control by 13 seats; a net gain of three (so far) governorships; and an increase in Republican control, depending on how too-close-to-call local races come out, to between 67 and 69 out of 99 of State legislatures. The governorships are especially telling given some particular victories: Scott Walker in Wisconsin, John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Scott in Florida, Bruce Rauner in Illinois, and Larry Hogan in Maryland, among others.
Together, these outcomes represent a stark and clear repudiation by Americans all across our country, in Red States and Blue, of the policies of President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats. This is demonstrated not only by the broad swath of States involved in the Senate and Gubernatorial elections, but especially by the fact that every Representative in the House was up for election—Americans in every district of America had something to say on the matter—and by those state legislature results: Americans in every local district had something to say on the matter. It’s also demonstrated by the fact that Obama put his policies on the ballot—every single one of them—and the voters said, “No.”
Now Republicans need to do things.
In short order, they need to organize and publish a coherent legislative agenda, as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA) said on the night of those elections that he wanted them to do. Then, just as quickly, they need to pass legislation with specific, simple, coherent requirements. A good set of bills with which to start would include tax reform, jobs (re-execute, for instance, the 40+ jobs bills the House passed and sent to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) personally killed them); immigration reform; repeal of Obamacare; a series of bills to restore health insurance and to improve the operation of health insurance and health care systems; approval of the Keystone XL pipeline; and elimination of “green” subsidies (and subsidies for oil and gas companies).
It’s entirely likely that Obama will veto most, if not all, of those bills.
However, if the Republicans in Congress put forward a coherent plan and then act with specifics in the first days and weeks of the new Congressional Session, three things will occur: Republicans will demonstrate that they can govern better, with more coherence, and less intrusion into Americans’ lives than the Democrats have done; our economy finally will take off; and whatever Obama does—sign or veto—will enable the Republicans to shape the 2016 elections on terms favorable to them.
In the meantime, Congressional Republicans need to be alert to, and able to stop, Obama and Reid shenanigans during the Democrats’ lame duck next couple of months. The Senate Democrats, don’t forget, have judgeship confirmations to approve, and they have an Attorney General to confirm, and they have cover for Obama’s immigration travesties to provide, and they have….