The lazy explanation from the media and political chattering classes is that Democrats lost their Senate majority because of Barack Obama. The truth is that the Senate Republicans ran a years long con on the American people that resulted in the GOP’s election win.
Republicans originally had a plan to obstruct everything that President Obama attempted in order to make him a one-term president.
Here is what Sen. Mitch McConnell told National Journal in 2010,
McConnell: We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, “Those of you who helped make this a good day; you need to go out and help us finish the job.”
National Journal: What’s the job?
McConnell: The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
It was the last sentence about making Obama a one-term president that got all of the attention, but it was his second sentence that was revealing. Republicans had a plan to take back the government. Step one was to win back the House, which they did in 2010. Step two was to win back the Senate, which they accomplished in 2014. Step three has always been to win back the White House in 2016.
The genius of the plan was that it was a hostage situation. Republicans took the legislative process hostage and refused to pass anything. Senate Republicans obstruction legislation big and small all with the goal of building frustration and discontent with government. After the American people had become enraged by “broken Washington,” Republicans promised that Washington could be fixed if they were given control of the Senate.
Never did Republicans admit that they were the reason Washington was “broken.” Instead, they blamed the people who were trying to get things done. Republicans blamed Sen. Harry Reid and President Obama. The GOP ran a con on the American people. They created the problem then promised to solve it.
The bad news is that the con worked like a charm. On Election Night, Democratic Senate candidates never had a chance. Candidates who ran good campaigns were defeated, and in every state the Republican message was the same, “Elect us and end the gridlock in Washington.”
It was all a scam that has led to Republicans being two-thirds of the way towards accomplishing their goal of a government takeover. The problem is that the Republican plan may have worked a bit too well. The American people are expecting action from the Congress, and Democrats are now poised to whip up outrage as the Senate minority.
In 2016, it won’t be red state Democrats, but blue state Republicans who will be on the ballot fighting for their seats. Republicans won’t have Obama to blame anymore. The GOP will be held accountable by a bigger electorate.
Given these factors, it will surprise no one if the Senate confidence men and women meet their 2016 demise at the hands of their own con.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association