As most know, the world of politics is ever-changing. A new week can mean a substantial shift in polls and public opinion. This was demonstrated throughout the 2012 presidential election. President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney remained close throughout the length of the campaign. After his “47% comment,” Romney fell in the polls, but rebounded after a fantastic opening debate performance. If this volatility says anything, it’s that predicting the political future can be difficult.
However, there are indicators that demonstrate what the political landscape might look like. History is certainly on the side of the GOP. The party who wins the White House typically loses in the next midterm elections, due in part to low enthusiasm for that party. 2010 was a perfect example, with Republicans sweeping the House of Representatives and nearly taking the Senate.
There are a number of issues that have left the Obama Administration in a tailspin, everything from the IRS Scandal to the Benghazi mishap. None are bigger, perhaps, than the implementation of Obamacare.
With the law still generating low approval ratings, it remains a focal point for many 2014 candidates. Portions of the law will raise costs significantly, and the consequences of the Affordable Care Act are detrimental. Doctors and surgeons certainly aren’t pleased with it. While a few Democrats are embracing the law, many are trying to distance themselves from it, especially those in purple states or those who consider themselves ‘Blue Dog Democrats.’ President Obama has done nothing but divide the country through partisan bickering and political sideshows. If he had made a serious, bipartisan effort at healthcare reform, it probably wouldn’t have been such a hot button issue.
True economic recovery has yet to occur. While the stock market has reached new highs, the job market has not. Unemployment has decreased, but many believe this is because workers are becoming disenfranchised and dropping from the workforce. The only career field that has truly benefited from the President’s economic plans are, unsurprisingly, government workers.
Finally, several Democratic candidates are announcing their retirements (not a coincidence that most had uphill battles in 2014). Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia announced he wouldn’t seek reelection next year, prompting Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito to run for the seat. Capito is a popular figure in West Virginia, enjoying landslide victories in her last two elections. Max Baucus of Montana also announced that he wasn’t going to run in 2014, leaving speculation that the GOP could take back the seat.
Winning back the Senate will have to mean winning back an ever-changing voter base. The Republican Party knows it must do a better job of engaging minorities, but they must also reach out to youth voters. President Obama’s reelection was made possible by the support of young voters, some voting for the first time.
It’s no secret that Republicans didn’t fare well in 2012, both in the Senate and in the White House. Nonetheless, conservatives have a real opportunity to elect qualified, capable candidates to Congress.
While we can’t elect a Republican to the White House next year, we can send a powerful message by electing representatives that share our values. These include limited government, individual responsibility, personal accountability, and a free market so that everyone can enjoy a real recovery.