In the days leading up to the election, the biggest question keeping the pundits busy was whether Republicans would become the majority party in the Senate. As of early Tuesday morning, Nate Silver, of perfectly predicting how all 50 states voted in 2012 fame, gave Republicans a 76% chance of claiming the majority.
As the evening progressed, the media called the various “swing” Senate races in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Democrats saw a brief reprieve by winning in New Hampshire and the announcement that the Louisiana race will go to a runoff election, as neither candidate received a majority of the votes. Democrats’ troubles continued as the networks called the Colorado, Georgia, and Kansas Senate races for the Republicans. With results at this point, the Republicans held 49 seats in the Senate, only two away from a majority.
With the announcement that Republicans also won North Carolina and Iowa, the question of the Senate majority came to a close.
The Republicans are now the majority party in the Senate, although the size of their majority won’t be determined until December 6th, when Mary Landrieu (D-LA) faces a runoff.
So what does this change mean in terms of what we can expect from our federal government?
Republicans now control both houses of Congress. I expect this will mean more “White House vs. Congress” conflicts. Regarding the Republicans’ political agenda, Mitt Romney predicted that the Republican Congress will pass what he calls immigration reform. I suspect this version of immigration reform will look remarkably like the “enforcement only” approach that the U.S. Catholic Bishops, as well as many other immigration rights activists, flatly reject as insufficient.
But we’ll have to wait and see what the new majority party actually does with its new responsibility.
Other notable political happenings from Election Day 2014:
- Clay Aiken lost his race for the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Rick Scott defeated Charlie Crist to remain Governor of Florida. Maybe that fan didn’t help Crist very much, afterall.
- Medical marijuana was rejected in Florida and recreational marijuana was approved in DC and Oregon.
As a deeply engaged political junkie, I’m looking forward to seeing what more news comes from Election Day 2014’s results, and how the newly elected and promoted political officials use their offices and influence.
But more importantly, as a Catholic and an American, I’m concluding these thoughts by reminding myself of a few things that matter a great deal more.
The “Democrats vs. Republicans” tribalism that the media can push us into is not particularly helpful. Being safe to participate in our country’s political processes and observing a peaceful transition of power is anything but a given in our world, and we are united by far more than what divides us.
God bless America.