Rasmussen published a “State of the Day” that was somewhat disturbing: 46% expected noticeable change if Republicans took control of both houses while 33% did not. Now that Republicans have only taken control of one house of Congress, are people less-likely to expect any noticeable results? If they don’t they only have themselves to blame.
If we stop sending the letters, emails, making the phone calls, writing in blogs and commenting on articles that criticize or praise our newly-elected officials, they will forget this election in short-order. If we instead remind them at every opportunity that we brought them into that office and we can surely take them back out, they will be more motivated to accomplish what they promised.
The votes that were cast in this mid-term will make this much easier. State Houses all over the nation flipped from Democrat to Republican precisely at the time when Congressional districts will be re-drawn in response to the 2010 census. That means that districts that have long been drawn to favor Democrats will be more-fairly apportioned so that voters can select their candidates instead of the opposite.
Secondarily, we have the nation-wide Conservative take-over of Governor’s mansions. As the Christian Science Monitor reported, the executive branch of each state can also have an effect on the 2012 election.
A change in governors can have import beyond the individual states, political observers point out. Many governors will have a say in the redistricting of congressional seats in their states – a process that takes place after the 2010 Census. In addition, in 2012, a popular and active governor can be a big asset in a presidential campaign, particularly in a swing state. And already, commentators are talking about some new governors possibly becoming presidential candidates.
Not only did House seats change hands, but leadership and seniority have been totally scrambled a bit. The majority party controls the chair of each of the House committees, so many new power positions will go to Republicans. In many cases, the previously-selected senior Republican on each committee will get a promotion. The now minority Democrats will be downgraded to just being senior Democrat members on each committee, obviously less-powerful than the committee chairman. Some notable exceptions are the previous Democrat chairpersons that are no longer members of Congress:
- Ike Skelton (D-MI) is now the outgoing chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee after having lost to Vicky Hartzler (R-MI)
- John Spratt (D-SC) lost to Mick Mulvaney(R) and will leave the House Budget Committee headless
- Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) will be leaving an open chair on the Senate Agriculture Committee which will be given to another Democrat as Republicans did not get a majority in the Senate
A non-election consideration is how the Census numbers will re-apportion House seats to the states. The number of House districts and seats is determined by the population of each state. Progressive states such as Michigan and California have experienced net emigration due to failed economic policy and climates unfriendly to businesses. That means more House seats for the Conservative states that have experienced net immigration due to opposite political and economic climates.
Consider all of these things together and there is a real opportunity to affect real change. Certainly Republicans could rest on the haunches and blame gridlock for any lack of progress, but a more productive tact would be to remind the Democrat Senators that many of them remained untouched in the 2010 election only because their seat comes up in 24 months. They could be seen as obstructionists against the wishes of the American electorate. This puts a different spin on the “party of no” label. Where Republicans were trying to stop unpopular policies, Democrats would be seen protecting those same unpopular policies with obstructionist tactics.
The message must be clear. Our leaders must extend, if not make permanent, the Bush tax cuts. They must de-fund, if not replace Obamacare with a common-sense, affordable reform of the American health care system. They must address entitlement spending. If Democrats want to stand in the way of a well-purposed train, I can see 2012 from here.