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.

You May Like

Afghanistan, Pakistan Leaders to Hold Icebreaking Talks in Paris

Two sides are expected to discuss ways to ease bilateral tensions and jointly work for resumption of stalled peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban officials

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs