When the Republicans retook the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term elections in the United States, Obama said his administration took a “shellacking.” Well, Obama got shellacked again a few days ago in this year’s mid-term elections. Conservative Republicans won three governor races, cemented their control over congress and retook the Senate.
The Senate was the worst defeat for the Democrats. Republicans won 8-9 seats, giving them control of the upper chamber. Many people are worried that the Republicans will put a lot more pressure on Obama to implement big spending cuts on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
What do the Republicans hope to accomplish? A few years ago the Republican Party was willing to plunge the United States into a financial crisis unless Obama agreed to deep cuts in social spending. But many Americans weren’t impressed by their negotiating tactics. And the Senate was in Democratic hands, acting as a buffer and a house of sober second thought.
So what’s a President to do? How aggressive will the Republicans be over the next two years?
Believe it or not, there is a slight chance the Republicans will behave themselves. The Republicans of today are not like their colleagues a few years ago. The party used to be dominated by Tea Party activists who represented the radical wing of the Republican Party. Their main goal was to destroy Obama’s presidency. But in 2012 the Tea Party suffered some big defeats in congressional races, allowing moderate Republicans to regain control of the party.
Unlike 2012, moderate Republican candidates stayed on message and avoided making any controversial comments like they did two years ago. But we really don’t know if the Republicans are willing to engage the Obama administration with a constructive dialogue.
The only good news is that Obama’s Affordable Care Act probably won’t be repealed. Any attempt to scrap Obama’s signature legislation will get filibustered by Senate democrats and get vetoed by Obama himself.
And even Republicans know that people are starting to enjoy the benefits of Obamacare. Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich admitted his healthcare bill made “real improvements in people’s lives.” Any attempt to water down the bill will face some serious opposition from millions of Americans who now have health coverage, as well as insurance providers and hospitals who are financially benefitting from the legislation. And many Americans who already had health insurance are paying less for better coverage.
Are the Republicans crazy enough to take away their health insurance in the name of the free market? If they do, they will suffer a huge hit in the presidential and congressional elections in 2016.