The rhetoric surrounding the Nov. 2nd Congressional mid-term elections is about to get seriously ramped up now with the Labor Day holiday behind us. Choose your news source and you will hear all possible outcomes presented. The most widely promoted is a repeat of 1994 with the Republicans taking back the House, but not the Senate. Again, pick your news source and you can find someone predicting the outcome you may desire yourself.
This much we know for sure. All 435 House seats are up for grabs as they are every two years. Current make-up is 256 Democrats, 178 Republicans and one vacancy. History shows that roughly 93.34% of incumbents will retain their seat. In fact, a study was done by the Center for Responsive Politics that shows the results from the ’64 thru the ’08 elections. The worst showing ever by incumbents was 85% in 1970. Using that number, nearly 205 Democrats would retain power, transferring power to the GOP with 230 seats. History shows this is certainly possible. Using the straight averages, 239 Democrats will hold on leaving them in power, but this is highly unlikely. Here is the chart of the history.
The Senate is always vastly different. Not every seat is up for re-election every two years. 36 will be fought over this year. Current make-up is 58 Democrats, 40 Republicans and two Independents. One of the GOP seats is up for special election as well in January with Scott Brown taking Ted Kennedy’s’ old seat. History varies widely on the results. The same center did a study on the Senate over the same time period and found as little as 55% holding on. The average here was 81.60% as the following chart shows.
So, we can see that the House is fairly predictable. Yet, even the Senate is as well if you study the political climate of the day preceding the election. This will likely be the case this year as well. The policies of Obama have failed and the results will be reflected in both chambers. The GOP are hopeful of a return to power in at least the House. The bigger question is what will follow. The GOP cannot get simple majorities to guarantee power as both chambers have their share of RINO’s which will crossover to the left. They need solid majorities and they may be out of reach. And then what if they get that? Who can honestly say that the GOP will really have an ephiphany and change their pathetic policies as well? The excuse option would be gone for the 2012 election against Obama.
I don’t buy it for a minute. Regardless of outcome in these mid-terms, we are in big trouble. We may hear the public clamor for real change and responsibility in D.C., but a sprinkling of Tea Party candidates is not nearly enough to enact it. We seem to muddle along with the economy obviously not good, but apparently not bad enough to really get people motivated and out in the streets demanding the change that is necessary. Giving the GOP another chance is the “safe” option. Taking radical steps to eliminate huge government bureaucracies is too scary a prospect for most Americans. Drastically cutting spending and truly becoming fiscally responsible will require very drastic change. That is way out of the comfort zone for us even if we aren’t specifically benefitting from any of those programs. The sad reality is that we must truly feel the pain before we will be willing to change. What has happened thus far is merely inconvenient for most. Losing jobs and homes is certainly not desirable, but when the government is there to provide hand-outs, the vicious dependency cycle kicks-in. The trick is getting people to see the potential danger before it affects them and they are out of options. These people are the key to ever reversing course. I just don’t see or hear the right response from these people yet. At least not nearly enough of them. Some have declared these mid-terms the most important elections of our time. I don’t see it as not much will really change despite the headlines blaring it. Our true crossroads aren’t here yet, but they are coming soon.