Right now we’re two weeks away from one of the biggest midterm elections in our lifetimes. And the truth is that we don’t know exactly what to expect. It’s almost a certainty that Republicans will pick up seats in the House and Senate but no one has a good grasp on how many. And the truth is that an astute politcal pundit could have made that prediction two years ago. The sitting president’s party almost always loses seats in the first midterm. The other party is angrier and more energized than the party that has things going their way. It’s a simple matter of fact.
Also a matter of fact is that Republicans will spin this as a referendum on what America thinks of the president and his policies. The Democrats will turn around and attack each other for a lack of energy and for losing focus on all that they accomplished in the past two years. These two things are also very predictible because the storylines are already being played out before the election is even completed.
What remains to be seen is whether any of this is going to bring about actual change. Even if Republicans win by landslide majorities and manage to take control of the House and Senate, what is going to happen? At best, the current tax cuts will get extended. At worst, there will be a bunch of political wrangling with nothing actually accomplished. Just because Congress passes it does not mean that the president has to sign it. And Congress will not contain the numbers needed to pass a law without the president’s signature. So we’ll see how all of the talk about bipartisanship is talk or hogwash.
The Democrats have been unable to pass some of the things that they campaigned on and President Obama promised despite holding sizeable majorities in Congress. When those majorities dwindle further or turn into minorities we can expect two years of congressional gridlock as the parties begin posturing for the 2012 elections.
The truth is that America’s problems are going to take time to solve and won’t be magically fixed by new laws, stimulus, or tax breaks. Maybe some of those things would jump start the economy more but there are no guarantees despite the cries from both sides. After two weeks, we really shouldn’t be expecting the politicians to fix our system though because I have very low hopes for them getting much passed.