Goodbye, Republican Congress! Hello, Whole New Day

The Republican Congress may cease to exist in 2017.
Photo adapted from flickr and pixabay.

One of the main charges flung at Bernie Sanders by the Hillary Clinton camp is that he won’t be able to get any legislation through a Republican Congress. The argument then gets turned around to point out that Hillary probably wouldn’t be able to do that, either. But both sides are asking the wrong question.

Who Says The Next Congress Will Be A Republican Congress?

This may well be the wildest political season of modern times. The fact that voters are ready to throw all the bums out has been made abundantly clear by the amassing of support by insurrectionists — Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Why wouldn’t that same instinct apply to the Congressional elections?

Americans are worried about jobs. ‘It’s the economy, stupid!’ They want someone to save the scraps of a life that they still have before it all goes down the drain. Trump and Sanders have put that as the centerpiece of their campaigns. Are there any Republican members of Congress who have done the same?
The GOP has been tone-deaf to the concerns of the public. Republicans have been obstructionists to anything that helps average citizens obtain and hold a job, or even have transportation to get to one — from refusing to pass a jobs bill to refusing to fund the infrastructure that keeps cities vital.

Congress is vulnerable this election season. It’s currently dominated by Republicans and it has an 11% approval ratingEleven per cent!! Sixty-one per cent think that most Congressmen are willing to sell their votes for cash or campaign contributions. Even more startling, 61% also think their own representatives have probably sold theirs.

How Much Of Congress Is At Stake?

Every single seat in the House of Representatives — 435 of them — is at stake in the 2016 election, just as they are every two years. In addition, 34 Senate seats are up for election. Ten of those Senate seats are currently Democratic while 24 of them are being defended by Republican incumbents. Democrats only have to gain 5 additional seats to have control of the Senate.

How do those odds look?  One of the most vital tasks of the Senate is approving the nomination of Supreme Court Justices. If Democrats gain control of the Senate, it’s no longer a Republican Congress. GOP leaders can kiss the obstruction of nominees good-bye!

Flipping control of the House of Representatives would be a tougher slog. Democrats would need to gain an additional 30 seats. Tough, but not impossible. It’s been made more difficult, of course, by the GOP effort to restrict voting rights, which disproportionately affects Democratic voters — of course.

What Will Make The Difference In Control Of Congress?

The presidential candidates who generate the most passion will turn out the most voters. A big turnout can change the make-up of the 2017 Congress. Those people would be Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Hillary Clinton’s support is soft and often tepid. New voters aren’t flocking to her, especially millennials who are voting for the first time.

What the effect of Donald Trump’s turnout would be isn’t very clear. He’s far from a traditional Republican candidate. The voters he attracts aren’t necessarily Republicans themselves, although he certainly has cultivated a bigoted, right-wing following. A recent report by Working America disclosed why the situation is so fluid. The organization’s Deputy Director Matt Morrison said:

“We found a churning political landscape with anxious voters no longer loyal to traditional political parties. The reality is that the white working class voters with whom we spoke are open to and hungry for the type of serious economic and political solutions we bring to their doors.”

A key finding of the report was this fact:

While most of Trump’s support came from a staunch GOP base, 1 in 4 Democrats who chose a candidate showed a preference for him and 58 percent of his backers said they would support him as an Independent.” 

That does not bode well for the current Republican Congress. No one really knows what the result would be.

The GOP may well self-destruct during this election. No matter who their candidate turns out to be, the party appears to be on life-support. It would be a bold assumption to believe that, whoever the next president is, he/she will be dealing with a Republican Congress in 2017.

Feature photo adapted from Ron Cogswell, pixabay images, and Sean MacEntee.

About Deborah Montesano 72 Articles
Deborah Montesano is a political writer and activist, living the liberal dream in Portland, Oregon. It's well deserved after freeing herself from a long, hard slog in ultra-conservative Arizona. The harsh desert honed her far-left sensibilities, but she is now wearing off the brittle edges by lounging along the Columbia River and gorging herself at food trucks. Above all: “I am, and always have been a progressive woman.” (Belva Lockwood)

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