U.S. midterm elections yield historic results

Last week, the United States was dragged to the right by the midterm elections as the majority for Democrats in the House of Representatives was lost. The Senate received some victorious Republican candidates as well who owe their allegiance to the ultraconservative Tea Party movement.

“The fact that the Republicans’ gain is not surprising, it would have been surprising if they didn’t gain. Just as the Democrats gained back in ‘06 when Bush was president,” said Laurier political science professor Barry Kay.
The expected victory of the Republicans in the House of Representatives and its progress in the Senate has not been totaled, but promises a significant restructuring of the legislature. Every indication leads to a hard era of co-operation on the part of the Obama administration.

What Kay highlighted is the size of the swing, especially in the House of Representatives. “I think that in addition to the normal out party phenomenon, sort of correcting and reacting to the President is the recession,” he added.

One of the main topics on the agenda for the next term will be to review the possible extension of tax breaks that former president George W. Bush handed down, primarily benefitting wealthier Americans. The tax breaks come to an end later this year.

The issue will be a matter of great debate as the Grand Old Party maintains a position of keeping the tax cut package as it is. “[Republicans] are concerned about the deficit and they want to cut taxes at the same time and that’s just irreconcilable,” commented Kay.

The election results so far show a 60 seat loss for the Democrats in the House, with 187 seats, while 239 for the Republicans and nine still undecided.

In the Senate, the Democrats maintained 53 seats, with a loss of six, leaving the Republicans with 46 seats, one being yet undecided.

The Republicans’ gain of at least 60 more seats in the House to take control is the largest by either party since 1948, while they picked up six more seats in the Senate, putting them close to parity with the Democrats, who maintained a much smaller majority.

-Numbers taken as of print date from the BBC.

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