The Republican Party has won enough seats in nationwide senatorial races to overtake the U.S. Senate on Election Day. Along with the majority of the house, this major feat gives the party full control of Congress for President Barack Obama‘s final two years in office.
Analysts predicted that the Senate races would be decided by a handful of seats, the magic eight of which were considered tossups. The first of many foreboding signals of doom for Democrats was the early announcements of Senate Minority – now Majority – Leader Mitch McConnell taking back his senior seat for his sixth term in Kentucky. While most expected the longtime senator to win, McConnell handily vanquished his Democratic foe Allison Grimes by a hefty margin.
Soon, other tight races were being watched like hawks and slowly the Republicans continued making gains in Senate seats. In Arkansas, 37-year-old House Rep. Tom Cotton was the first Republican to defeat a Senate incumbent in Mark Pryor. Another close race and a heavy blow to Democrats and voting rights activists was the loss of U.S. Junior Senator Kay Hagan to state congressman Tom Thillis in North Carolina. The state had become one of the battleground arenas in the fight against restrictive voting rights laws.
As it was in the 2010 elections, the Republican wave somewhat demonstrated the sentiment highlighted in exit pols that voters were not satisfied with President Obama and Republicans in Congress. However, Republicans were able to galvanize voters and best the Democrats at the polls by way of turnout. Routinely, the midterm elections are far less attended that the presidential elections and even far less by Democratic voters in recent times. The Democrats dismal showing in the Senate and gubernatorial races reflect a possible combination of political apathy, lack of civic participation, and flat out disinterest from voters of all demographics.
There have been many reports of issues at the polls at certain states, including faulty lines, long lines, misinformed staff among other red flags. How this may have affected turnout and numbers has yet to be examined but there has been reports of frustration across major and smaller hubs nationwide.
There still may be hope that President Obama can salvage his legacy, and many experts assume that there will be a “honeymoon” phase as Senate leaders will pledge their allegiance to the new majority. Current Majority Leader Harry Reid has already called to congratulate Sen. McConnell on his win on Tuesday.
Because of the 2016 elections looming, some analysts predict that Republicans will not go too far in advancing partisan-driven policies as not to alienate a wider base.
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