What if the GOP actually catches the car it is chasing?

The wise folks at FiveThirtyEight.com report that there’s a 64.5 percent chance of the Republicans gaining control of the United States Senate next year. Let’s assume that happens.

What next? Over the previous six years, one could rarely go wrong predicting that congressional Republicans would choose the more confrontational, at times really dumb option in any situation. To be honest, I don’t expect that to change if voters give them control of both chambers of Congress. Quite the contrary.

Take the matter of nominations. With the Senate in GOP control, one of two things would have to happen: Either a handful of Senate Republicans would have to vote to confirm Obama nominees, exposing themselves to attacks from within a party for whom unity is a primary virtue, or no nominees for the executive or judicial branches will be confirmed in the rest of Obama’s term.

That latter outcome would certainly please the GOP base, which has long sought all-out confrontation with Obama; the question is what impact such a strategy would have on moderate and independent voters who may not necessarily be thrilled with Obama, but who still see value in a functioning federal government.

And where might those GOP confirmation votes come from?** Well, of the 34 Senate seats up for election in 2016, 24 are held by Republicans. Of those 24 Republican seats, seven are in states that went for Barack Obama in 2012. Those seven senators might be more inclined than their counterparts to cast votes allowing them to seek re-election as moderates. But again, should they do so, they also make themselves vulnerable to a challenge in the Republican primary.

Tis a conundrum.

With control of both chambers, Republicans also would be forced by their base to vote on a total repeal of ObamaCare, including a repeal of Medicaid expansion that has provided coverage to millions of Americans. (Obama would of course veto the effort.) But based on their record of the last six years, the GOP also would be completely incapable of drafting anything to replace that coverage.  Again, the base wouldn’t care, but for everybody else, replacing an arguably flawed approach to health insurance with no approach at all would make the GOP appear destructive, mean-spirited and incompetent.

Again, tis a conundrum.

On immigration, congressional Republicans are even less capable of passing something to deal responsibly with the 10 to 12 million people who are living here illegally and have been doing so for years.  For example, it is almost certain that President Obama will take executive action soon to address that problem, but GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is predicting total, all-out war should he do so. As Priebus promised party activists in a phone call this week:

“We will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen: Defunding, going to court, injunction. You name it. It’s wrong. It’s illegal. And for so many reasons, and just the basic fabric of this country, we can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen. I don’t know how to be any stronger than that. I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we will.”

GOP policy on immigration is completely in the hands of the most reactionary elements within the party, and despite recognizing the danger, Priebus and other party leaders have been unable to wrest it away. The chances of that changing are near zero, and that will have consequences for the party for at least a generation.

Overall, as we know, Congress is already the least respected institution in America with a 13 percent job approval rating. With control of Congress shared between the two parties, blame for its dysfunction can be shared as well. But with total Republican control would come total Republican responsibility. On the bright side, if McConnell and John Boehner can craft their respective chambers into a well-disciplined, responsible, governing majority, they will get — and certainly deserve — all the credit for that unlikely transformation.

if not ….

Finally, the GOP is increasingly reliant on a fast-shrinking share of the electorate. It is telling that Pat Boone, the singer who has been famous for being old-fashioned and out of date for at least a half-century now, has been making robocalls to senior citizens on behalf of Republican candidates around the country, including David Perdue here in Georgia. It’s smart:  In the AJC’s most recent poll, Perdue was up just two points over Michelle Nunn, and that margin was entirely the product of his 19-point advantage among senior citizens. Getting those people to the polls is essential to Perdue’s hopes.

But like so much in the GOP strategy, the sell-by date for that strategy is approaching quickly.

——————-

** That of course assumes that Mitch McConnell, as majority leader, would allow such nominations to even be voted upon. And if a vacancy opens on the U.S. Supreme Court in the next two years …. woo boy. Republicans could block confirmation of an Obama nominee, but at potentially high political cost. They would also have to worry that a new Democratic president elected in 2016 would name an even more liberal nominee for the vacancy, and would have the Senate votes to confirm. Conundrums conundrums …

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573 comments
patty7beth
patty7beth

The GOP leadership realizes that soon they won't be able to win national elections without voter suppression, which is why they're working overtime to put that strategy in place. Suppressing millions of votes, gerrymandering districts so that the "elected" leaders bear no resemblance to the political views of those they "represent," and the Supreme Court's firesale of our democracy to the highest bidder will keep Republicans in office for the foreseeable future. It's not democracy, or even a republic, but it's what we're stuck with with no end in sight.

kitty72
kitty72

Feels like the soul of the country is up for grabs. What kind of country are we? Selfish with our god of money or generous...like a real "Christian" country. Scary stuff.

Surelyyoujest
Surelyyoujest

"or no nominees for the executive or judicial branches will be confirmed in the rest of Obama’s term."

And this a bad thing?

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

@Surelyyoujest Only in a functioning Democracy.  Of course if you like so many of the misguided Repugs prefer anarchy then carry on. 

Astropig
Astropig

The demographics of the Republican party are very,VERY similar to the declining base of newspaper readers.Skewing older,pretty well informed,a little better off...


Newspaper pundits are LESS than a dime a dozen. Any joker with a laptop can whip up an opinion site and deliver the news for a fraction of what this paper spends.I'd say that Jay and the AJC  won't be around in their current form to print the obituary of conservative political opinion.


Tis a conumdrum,indeed.

adrian925
adrian925

@Astropig 

No conundrum, never in my lifetime has our country been so polarized with neither side giving in, much less compromising.  Part of it is the fact that we can sit in the comfortable safety of our homes and forget about civility, consideration and actually trying to understand an opinion that is not ours!  The America of 1864 had more patriotism, kindness to their fellow man/woman and the largest majority still believed in our Creator!

WE have far more to unite us than to continue the polarization or rather the fracturing of the fabric of our society into total gridlock!  Groups have a better chance of compromising than individuals, yet our groups, GOP and Demo's are failing US and we are no better individually.  Just look at the individual debates or arguments throughout this blog on any day.  And this is the best blog in this newspaper!

Peachs
Peachs

The Democrats have the Republicans celebrating victory in the third quarter, happens a lot now days. Democrats are a grass root constituency, unlike the tea party, that has a network that gets out the vote that is underground to the polls. The right is trying to destroy this by ID voting, they want to identify their enemy in uniforms. I really don’t think even modern day journalist understand what is going on and have been amazed listening to local pundits totally discount the chances of the state going blue like Presbyterian College beating Mississippi type stuff. We are in a very changing world, very hard to keep up and relying on old formulas to predict it just doesn’t work anymore.

WGA1990
WGA1990

Jay needs to put up something soothing for his followers today. From the posts lately you can see the nervousness among libs about the potential loss for Democrats in next weeks national election. Maybe a topic about global warming, same sex marriage or abortion might calm them down.

ByteMe
ByteMe

Can a turtle (McConnell) actually catch a moving car?

Peachs
Peachs

When you isolate Obama against himself you find weaknesses, it is only when you put a candidate against him and find more weaknesses in the opponent than O that you have a full view of what is happening. The less the public knows about the Republican the better his changes of winning. The Republican Presidential primacies were a prime example of the microscope blowing up candidate after candidate. Democrats don’t have to be prefect just better than the Republican they are running against.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Peachs Exactly.  Doesn't matter Obama's approval rating, when the Republican Party rating is so much worse.

LeftisnotRight
LeftisnotRight

Oh the hollering when folks get unplugged from government money......and the power hangover....what a spectacle it will be......the "caring" libs/dems will really kick in.....they are howling already

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LeftisnotRight Sure.  Remember when the Republicans held all three branches of government at one time last decade?  How much of that "government money" did they take away from people?  Oh, right... none.  In fact, they went crazy with tax breaks and ran huge deficits instead of any kind of fiscal responsibility.  But you keep voting for them!

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LeftisnotRight Won't happen under the Republicans, that's for sure.  It's a "Nixon goes to China" thing.  You have to be the party who supposedly is against something to suddenly make that thing actually happen.  So what if Republicans call themselves the "party of fiscal responsibility" when they don't act on it?  But if the so-called "tax and spend" party suddenly acts responsibly (oh, like right now), that's when real changes happen... unless the other party decides to block everything regardless.  Like now.

Peachs
Peachs

I don’t see them winning.I’ve yet to see us read a poll correctly on this stuff especially this close a race. Nunn had no chance according to all pundits and polls a month ago. I think as people sober up to the task of voting they see the flaws in the Republicans. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing them win and get this thing over with. It would be like the president, and Bush, I doubt you will see a Republican president anytime soon unless they start sounded more like the rest of us. If Republicans win the Senate they will have a two year whoa, show they are just antiAmericans, and won’t be elected again, for a generation to come.

ByteMe
ByteMe

Recent poll says Americans are unhappy with economy but think it'll get better next year.  And yet economy has expanded at pretty much the same rate as last year and year before.

Meanwhile, looks like $4 billion will be spent on this election cycle.  That's $4 billion that mostly corporations are spending on political "consultants" and things that are not going to expand the economy.

I see why Americans are thinking next year will be better.... next year there isn't a money-sucking election going on.


Peachs
Peachs

@ByteMe it is very hard to get a message out in this forrest.  The problem is real life is a political tool for the right, they have hijacked religion, health and the economy and turned them into their facts not real facts and win elections based on false information and fear. 

LeftisnotRight
LeftisnotRight

We need a new car....libs/dems have made a mess of the current one....and nobody is happy with Obama policies......




JackClemens
JackClemens

@ByteMe @LeftisnotRight However, the Administration needs to stop playing politics with some of the reforms within the law by delaying their implementation. Keep that up and many people might be able to afford any policy.And no, I'm not excusing the GOP.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LeftisnotRight We could afford the policies all along... the insurance company refused to offer them.  Now they have to.  You don't have to be "special" to afford insurance.  Just have money.  Oh, but in your world "libruls" don't have money, huh?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LeftisnotRight I'm happy with them.  My wife can get a real individual health insurance policy for the first time in 15 years.  THANKS OBAMA!

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@ByteMe @LeftisnotRight You libs haven't explained how Medicaid expansion is going to be paid for.

Nothing is "free."  Someone picks always picks up the tab.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LeftisnotRight  Oh, and actually if the governor hadn't been such a pen!s and not expanded Medicaid like other states did, you wouldn't even need much money to afford insurance.  But that's a typical Republican governor for ya!

ByteMe
ByteMe

@DownInAlbany And you cons haven't owned up to Reagan's "deficit spending increases GDP to make it look like we're having a huge expansion" technique either.

The tab is already being picked up.  Taxes are paid in to the Feds already and distributed to the states to pay for it.  But if you don't expand the numbers, your state pays in more taxes than you get back.  Pretty simple, really.  Surprised you didn't see it.

straitroad
straitroad

Bookman, that is one long-winded temper tantrum, even by your standards.  Maybe instead of blaming republicans you should face the fact that you and the democrat base are far left of the American mainstream.

WGA1990
WGA1990

@straitroad There has been a bit more rancor in Jay's commentary lately. It's indicative of the fear liberals have generally about the upcoming election and the decline of liberalism in America.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@WGA1990 You've been wrong on everything else so far... no reason for you to try to be right now either.

adrian925
adrian925

Mr.S@straitroad 

I ask you to specify any part of Mr. Bookman's writing today that is considered to be a temper tantrum, what most people call a rant.  You know as well as I do, you cannot find any hint of hatred, anger or vilification.  Mr. Bookman is what he is, for the most part, Liberal in thoughts and words.  That doesn't mean that he acts like those who we associate the word, Obama, Pelosi and Reid.  None of these people share the one thing that separates Mr. Bookman from them, honesty and integrity.  Reread his article with an open mind, please; and understand what a treasure we have in a person who you may not agree with but you can always count on his personal honesty to keep antipathy at bay. 

I presume that you are Conservative.  I am too, barely right center, but I celebrate when I read someone's thoughts about national politics that is reasoned and largely accurate as this article predicts possible scenarios.  Here is my prediction, if the GOP wants to stay relevant, they must change to a uniting party, stop giving lip service to the middle class and lower their price of true admission to the party from  a quarter of a million dollars per year income to all levels of income. Failure will result in the death of the GOP as a national party.  The Baby Boomers and older seniors are soon to be extinct.  I am one. Young people across generations have generally started liberal and become conservative through age and experience.  The GOP is out of time waiting for the Millennials to change philosophically and politically. Ten years of relevancy is all they have, only two years after this election if they continue as they are, unless they decide to govern fairly across the aisle as our Founding Fathers designed our government!

Joel Edge
Joel Edge

From calling Americans cowards in a recent article to saying conservatives are akin to dogs? You're on a roll, Bookman.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Good that Jay uses conundrums during blog intercourse.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

I doubt things will change much if the GOP gets control of the Senate.

They may find a way to defund Obamacare.


To that I say, be careful what you wish for cons, you may get it.

It will ensure a DEM sweep in 2016.

Hillary (who is far more liberal than Obama) and a DEM controlled congress = your worst effin nightmare.

St_Simons_he-ne-ha
St_Simons_he-ne-ha

"What if the GOP actually catches the car it is chasing?"


they'll steal the hub caps (do they still make hubcaps?) no wait.....first they should

overturn Roe v Wade

repeal the ACA (50 more times)

stop immigration reform

impeach Obama the Mamba for PWB

remove the burdensome regulations from Ebola control & let da freeee market decide

and anudder tax cut fer me, mrsstsimons and Genral Dollah

Salt-n-Light
Salt-n-Light

" moderate and independent voters who may not necessarily be thrilled with Obama, but who still see value in a functioning federal government." Guess that's why Harry Reid has the Senate at a stand still. Just sayin'

Brosephus
Brosephus

Y'all have fun.  I've had enough fun laughing at some of the posts.  Truly entertaining they are!!!

St_Simons_he-ne-ha
St_Simons_he-ne-ha

"...GOP Chairman Reince Priebus is predicting total, all-out war should he do so. "


picture Walter Mitty in the black knight suit doing the Monty Python sketch hahahaha