Why The Republican Victory Is Good For The Left (And Good For America)

Republicans won back control of the House of Representatives Tuesday, in what Republicans are calling a “Republican mandate” or a “Republican tidal-wave” against The Obama Administration and its “agenda”. There are a few things that I find funny about this factually inaccurate statement.

The Republicans have given the people that elected them a false conception that by taking control of the House of Representatives that they have won control of our Government. This is incorrect, the Republicans won control of 1 out of 2 of the legislative bodies, and the Democrats still hold the Presidency.

The Republicans had the largest gains in the House of Representatives since 1948, and the largest midterm election gains since 1938 They think this is a clear sign that the American people want the Republicans to implement their policies and have control over the direction our country is heading. Let me break down Tuesday’s results for you:

The Democrats lost a total of 67 seats in the House of Representatives, 22 or approximately 33% of those seats that were lost were “Blue Dog Democrats”, conservative Democrats that tend to vote more with the Republican Party. Democrats still hold 189 out of 435 seats, or about 43%. Republicans hold 54% of the seats.

In the Senate races, 37 seats were up for election and 19 of those seats were held or previously held be a Democrat. Of those 19 seats Democrats only lost 6 which is about 1/3 of the seats that were up for election, still giving the Democrats a majority with 51 seats and 2 Independents that caucus with them. Democrats have 53% of the seats in the Senate and Republicans have 47%.

Out of 37 gubernatorial races, the Democrats went from holding 26 seats, to 19 seats, basically losing about 1/5 of their total gubernatorial seats. Democrats have 19 of the Gubernatorial seats, Republicans have 29, and Independents have 3.

How exactly is this a “Republican mandate” or a “Republican tidal-wave” when Republicans barely have a majority in the House of Representatives with 54%, the Democrats still have a majority in the Senate, the Democrats still hold the Presidency, and Republicans only hold 58% of the Gubernatorial seats? It’s clearly not, but Republicans would like you to think it is.

Now this might surprise you, but I actually support allowing the Republicans to over exaggerate their victories on Tuesday night, for several reasons;

1. If Republicans let the American people believe that by gaining a small majority in the House of Representatives they have regained control of Government, then there will be endless sound bites to play during the 2012 election of the Republicans claiming that they have retaken control of the Government in 2010, and therefore we can hold them accountable for any stalled progress in our economic recovery. The same way they held Obama accountable for the economic problems left over by the previous administration, and the last Republican majority in congress.

2. Republicans will actually have to pass legislation now that they’re “back in charge”.  The American people expect the Republicans to pass legislation that will create jobs. Republicans only solution to create jobs is to cut taxes because they believe that wealth creates jobs. It’s basic economics that demand, not wealth, is what creates jobs and there’s no money to spend to created demand if they don’t inject capital into the economy, which they won’t.

3. Republicans will be FORCED to work with Democrats. If anything, Tuesday’s election was more a bipartisan mandate than a Republican mandate. The electorate wants the Republicans to have a seat at the table. When they realize that the only people blocking any significant progress for our country are the Republicans they will be wishing that the Democrats still had the majority.

4. America will see the Republicans actual priorities. If they spend the next 2 years stomping their feet about health care repeal and tax cuts for the rich, the American people will see what their priorities are and realize that they are not really concerned with creating jobs. Instead Americans will see that the place Republicans have been trying to “take our country back” to is actually the Bush Administration and its policies, and since Bush only had a 30% approval rating when he left office the American people will not be happy about it. Republicans will also let unemployment extensions expire and when they do the almost 10% of Americans who are unemployed will realize that Republicans don’t care about them. Republicans have also said that they want to cut money from the Department of Education, and the EPA. Cutting money cuts jobs and when people start losing their jobs because of the Republican policies that will make even more people frustrated with the Republican Party.

The reason that Republicans did so well in this election is because they convinced the American people that not enough has been done to help them in the last 2 years. Another reason is that 25% of everyone that voted in this election was 65 and over, a demographic that tends to vote Republican. Do they actually think the Republicans are going to improve our economy any more rapidly than the Democrats did? The Republicans have made lofty promises to the American people that they know they can’t keep. In 2012 there is going to be an actual tidal wave of anger against them when people realize that Republicans have no real solutions to our economic woes other than implementing the same failed policies of cutting taxes and deregulation that caused the Recession of 2008. In 2012 the Democrats will have a sweeping victory over the Republicans and will be able to implement policies that will actually help our economy, and the Democrats will be able to run real Democrats against the Republicans who defeated the Blue Dogs. If the Democrats had maintained majorities in both houses then the Republicans would be able to blame all of our economic problems of the next 2 years on the Democrats, but since they have convinced a large part of the electorate that they can control Government from the House of Representatives the American people are going to hold them accountable to deliver on the promises they made.  Republicans will spend the next 2 years exposing their inability to govern and in 2012 they’ll be back in the minority again. If the Republicans do badly enough there’s a good chance the Democrats could even get a filibuster-proof super majority. See you at the polls in 2012.