Out With the Old, and In With the New: From a Political Point-of-View by Cecilia Mehan

The recent mid-term elections in November of 2014 have sent Capitol Hill into turmoil in the political department. The 2014 Midterm Elections took place on November 4. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were in play in this year’s election. The Republicans had control of the House, and according to a wide variety of polls, the party holding the majority was not expected to change, although the Republicans had the opportunity to enlarge the amount of seats they held. Between the two Congressional Chambers, the chamber which held everyone’s gaze was the Senate. A total of 36 seats was being contested for the Democrat-held Senate. Despite the 53 seats that the Democrats currently held, polls—and candidates— were projecting that the Republicans could take the majority of the Senate—and therefore, hold the majority of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, despite having a Democrat presidential administration. Finally, 36 governorships were being contested throughout the country.

Across the board, campaigns became very dirty, very quickly. Calls of sexism and racism were heard from Louisiana. Race became a major issue in regards to both the killing of Trayvon Martin and also to the more recent protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Another factor in these elections was outside spending donors, who made the 2014 Midterms one of the most expensive elections this country has so far seen. Number projections for the amount of spending have been up to $3.67 billion, coming very close to the approximate numbers of the 2012 Presidential Election, which total up to $4 billion. Questions were raised on this money, debating the legality of certain campaigns while simply wondering how well the high amount of advertisements even appealed to the voters. Unions also became involved in the elections, specifically in gubernatorial elections throughout the U.S.

As election results rolled in, the Republicans began picking up seat after seat for the House, for the Senate, and in gubernatorial races all over. The final result for the House of Representatives was 244 to 186 in favor of the Republicans. While not an upset, these numbers were huge in another way: this is the largest majority the Republicans have held since 1928, which is more than any poll, unless completely biased, projected. The final result for the big show, the Senate, was 53 to 46, also in favor of the Republicans.

What surprised many people were the states which the Republicans did win. There were some states, such as Colorado and Kansas that were believed to go to Democrats, which instead went to Republicans. Also, there were states such as New Hampshire, which were believed to be landslide victories for the Democratic candidate, but whose races were instead much closer. Meanwhile, the gubernatorial races completely shocked people. A total of 24 out of the 36 races went to Republicans. This is especially significant when certain states in which a Republican won are factored. States such as Massachusetts, Illinois, and Maryland are considered liberal states, but still elected Republican governors. In other states where races were believed to be closer, certain Republicans blew the races wide open.

These elections are widely believed to show, more than anything else, a rejection of President Obama’s policies. This is evident even in the months leading up to the elections, when certain Democratic candidates attempted to distance themselves from the President, with some candidates going as far as to avoid admitting that they voted for the President. Now that the Republicans control both the Senate and the House, they hold several powerful cards. An Attorney General nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate as current Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning. Any Supreme Court Justices need to be confirmed by the Senate. The Republicans are able to choose which bills make their way through to the floor. Beginning after the inaugurations in just a couple weeks, all eyes will be on the Republicans to see what they choose to do, or, whether they do anything. The ball is in the Republicans’ court: they must make a move.

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