In addition to weddings, births, other seminal personal and family events and your job, the most important non-family date in your life will be November 4, 2014. That’s when all of the 435 House of Representatives races are up for grabs and 33 of 100 U.S. Senate seats.
The senators will be elected to serve six-year terms expiring January 3, 2021. In averaging the world of political guru educated guesses, there are 10 safe Republican seats and 6 safe Democratic seats. That leaves 17 seats essentially vulnerable, a highly dangerous scenario when a Senate majority is an imperative for Democrats to continue to play defense.
On the House side, the Democrats are still reeling and paying for the 63-seat debacle of 2010, handing the Republicans an historic 49-seat margin that they’ve abused beyond comprehension. Prior to 2010, Democrats prevailed 257-178. The Republican post-2010 advantage was narrowed to 33 seats after the 2012 vote, but it’s still substantial enough to bring every Democratic initiative to a screeching halt and still manage to blame the President for no progress in Washington. Since a second-term President’s party generally gets clobbered by just under 30 seats in the mid-terms, it will take a Herculean effort to win enough House seats to save the sinking federal ship.
Most pundits see small Republican 2014 House gains of a half-dozen seats at most, but that still sustains an unyielding 40 seat, give or take, majority through the remainder of the 113th, not counting the wild card of a growing number of suddenly-emerging DINO dandy’s.
Ousting incumbents will still be about as rare as a day without a Kardashian story, but it can be done (reference 2010 above).
Here are the barricades the Republicans have erected in red states to maintain their grip on the House where sympathetic right-wing legislators can keep their pledge to the Koch brothers and multinationals that no meaningful taxes, regulations or oversight will find their way out of committee.
The Chinese water-torture dismantling of the Affordable Care Act will also prevail unabated with one-sided trade outs essentially gutting the intent of the legislation and handing all the power to insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. The latest deadly indignities are two-fold. A flummoxed president has now indicated that Americans should be able to renew their current coverage that is either canceled or soon to be cancelled. That’s because everybody just adores their current coverage, huge deductibles, giant premiums and pee wee insurance payments to providers notwithstanding.
For their part, the giants are now cleverly using the president’s generosity to warn of increasing premiums because some insurance companies already meet the requirements, some don’t. So, for some reason, that’s going to “destabilize the market.” Say Whaaa…?
Wasting no time in bowing to their masters, the House members rushed through a bill allowing nonstandard coverage. The Teapublicans were joined by 39 DINOs, apparently convinced that screwing constituents out of wonderful new benefits in their health coverage represented a sure-fire way to get re-elected. Here is how California Democratic Representative Henry Waxman described the legislation, “It would take away the core protections of that law (ACA).”
These are some of the lost protections Waxman was talking about. No insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. Limits to what the insurer will pay annually and over the life of the policy. The ability to cancel if you get really sick. No preventive care. None of your young adult children under 26 allowed on your policy. No accountability for rate increases or any pressure to explain the small print and, frankly, I don’t know what the impact would be on the Health Insurance Marketplaces, another ACA mandate.
In exchange, it will cost the industry a ton in campaign contributions, but passage would earn them additional tens of billions in profits. What this does is take some of the shiny veneer off ACA come November 4th. That’s because millions will have signed on to the program by then (if the Marketplaces still exist) and these people will sing the praises of the policies abiding by the mandates. If you weaken and water down ACA, despite the likelihood of its passage being near zero (the Senate and a president’s veto stand in its way) ACA doesn’t get nearly the kudos and the blame again will be placed squarely on Obama and the Democrats. If the legislation does go down in flames look for the same strategy as repealing ACA, repeated identical bills brought to the floor over and over. And post-2014, if the Republicans manage to elect enough Senators to override, who in the hell knows?
Much of PoliticusUSA is designed to up the voter turnout through objective reporting and encouraging like-minded people to vote. Here’s the bottom line: If Democrats don’t turn out in massive numbers in 2014 and 2016, it appears that pre and post-2016, we’ll pretty much have what we have today, a gridlock of federal impotence. It’s not enough to depend on Independents and moderate Republicans, though those who do vote will undoubtedly give Democratic candidates a boost.
George Mason University has been home to the United States Election Project under the leadership of Dr. Michael McDonald. The findings are very revealing and offer proof that red states pass voting laws for the singular purpose of maintaining power by making it difficult for Democrats to vote.
Higher turnout is inevitable in states that feature reasonable voting laws such as election day registration. In the nine states that permit same day, all are above the national average in voter turnout. The same holds true for mail-in ballots where four of the five states with such a law exceed the national average. Two states, Oregon and Washington are the only states that vote universally by mail. That means no polls or election workers, just the Postal Service. No hard and fast percentages, but anecdotally I’m told that turnout is high. Montana was the last state that appeared to be signing off on vote-by-mail, but, according to the January 28, 2011 Billings Gazette, 15 state House members (all Republicans) reversed their “yes” preliminary votes to “no” at the last minute, something that’s not uncommon when considering the issue.
Learn about your local candidates. Our own Justin Baragona is running a highly informative series “Taking Back the House”, a critical analysis of all House districts and their candidates. I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with, at the very least, your district.
No matter how restrictive and redistricted unfriendly your state is to Democrats, rise above it by showing up to vote. Turnout can overcome any and all shady legislation the anti-American red states can come up with.