News / USA

    2014 Looks Like a Republican Year

    Washington, D.C., is struggling to emerge from the throes of a difficult winter. And when the warm breezes of spring finally begin to take hold, the wind direction is likely to favor Republicans. Looking ahead to U.S. congressional elections in November, Republicans increasingly are confident they will make gains, especially in the Democratically-controlled Senate, and a growing consensus among experts is that 2014 is shaping up as a good year for Republicans and a difficult year for Democrats.

    Lawmakers from both political parties and the White House are intently focused on the November midterm elections, when all 435 members of the House of Representatives are at stake, along with 36 of the 100 Senate seats. At the moment most political analysts say it is very likely that Republicans will hold or add to their majority in the House and have an excellent chance of gaining the six additional seats they need to win a majority in the Senate, now controlled by Democrats.

    Adding to the Republican advantage is that several Democrats are either retiring or face tough races in Republican leaning states, according to John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center. “The Senate Republicans have a real opportunity to pick up seats, but they need six seats, which is a lot. The good news for Republicans is that many of these states are in very strongly Republican states.”

    Fortier also noted that President Barack Obama’s low approval ratings in public opinion polls could help Republicans in November. “The two biggest factors underlying a midterm election are how is the economy doing, and how is the president in the White House doing. And ultimately midterm elections don’t go very well for the president’s party, they tend to go against it. And if the economy is worse, it’s even worse. And if the president’s unpopular, it’s even worse.”

    Health Care Politics

    Another major factor in this year’s election campaign will be the public’s view of the president’s health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act.  Republicans plan to highlight their opposition to the law as a major campaign theme, including House Speaker John Boehner. “The truth is you can’t fix this law. It needs to be torn out by its roots. You may be tired of hearing about this, but as long as this law is around and making things worse, we are going to keep fighting it.”

    Obama is quick to defend the law in speeches around the country, and he accuses Republicans of having no interest in trying to fix problems with the act.  “And it is not just to try to improve the law or here is a particular problem with it.  No, we just want to scrap it so that millions of people who now have health insurance, we want them to go back to not having health insurance. Well that is not going to happen.” The president also has been warning Democrats that they need to vote in November, noting that Republicans often do better in midterm elections because fewer voters overall turn up at the polls.

    Carroll Doherty of the Pew Research Center said recent polling does not detect a huge Republican surge at the moment.  He said, though, that the voters who turn out for midterm congressional elections, as opposed to presidential elections, tend to be older and whiter than the rest of the electorate, and that should benefit Republicans this November. “What it is showing is that there is no wave election for the Republicans or the Democrats at this point. It looks pretty even, which means the [voter] turnout is going to be the big factor, and Republicans in midterms do pretty well in turnout.”

    A Republican takeover of the Senate would set the stage for more legislative gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency, said longtime political analyst Tom DeFrank of the National Journal. DeFrank told VOA’s Issues in the News program that the president may need to have his veto pen at the ready if Republicans wind up controlling both chambers of Congress.  “If he loses the Senate in November he will be reduced to governing by veto, denying the Republicans what they want to do.  I think it is gridlock and damage control the rest of the way.”

    Republicans last controlled both houses of Congress during the administration of President George W. Bush. They lost control of both chambers to Democrats following the 2006 congressional midterm elections, a wave election that presaged Obama’s election two years later. Republicans experienced their own wave election in 2010 when whey they retook control of the House.

    Even if Republicans do win enough seats to win a majority of the Senate this November, it’s possible their success will be short-lived. Two years from now in 2016 there will be 33 Senate seats up for election. Republicans control 23 of seats and Democrats 10, and several of the Republican Senate seats are in Democratic-leaning states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. That should give an advantage to Democrats for the 2016 cycle. For the moment, however, they are much more worried about their Senate hopes this year.

    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    update Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Cranksy from: USA
    March 24, 2014 11:24 PM
    Mr. Malone, please fact check this: DuPage County, the most Republican county in Illinois, during the primary election of March 18th had a record low turnout. That happen when there were four contestants in their race for Governor.

    by: joe Lyman from: pa
    March 24, 2014 2:31 PM
    The problem is the red coats think this is high school !

    The republicans are despicable. Will never vote for them ever again. This article is way offf. Just the opposite will hapen.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora