The scales have finally tipped in favor of the Republicans, just like the political pundits and crystal ball clairvoyants predicted. Republicans have won control of the House, yet it is not the kind of sweeping victory that everyone was predicting; nevertheless, it is a substantial one. The Tea Part movement, backed by Sarah Palin, has to an extent helped Republicans gain its footing. As for the Democrats, it’s no longer a matter of defeat rather the scale of this defeat and its consequences. In many ways, the results of mid-term elections 2010 are reminiscent of the 1994 mid-term elections of the Clinton Era when the Republicans won the Senate and House by winning 52 seats. Here is a rundown of the way the tide is turning in seven crucial seats and what is at stake:
Harry Reid (Dem) Versus Sharron Angle (Rep) - Nevada Senate
Nevada had been tipped as a major battle ground for both the titans. Despite the tough competition, Harry Reid was able to save the day for the Democrats in Nevada. The state has been worst hit by substantially high bankruptcy, joblessness and deficit rates. Meanwhile, social security and anti-abortion measures were high on Angles’ agenda.
Rand Paul (Rep) Versus Jack Conway (Dem) - Kentucky Senate
Although Kentucky has a strong Democratic tradition; it has taken a Republican recently, due to recession and job losses. In Kentucky, Paul has defeated Conway with a substantial margin, according to the recent reports. Rand, the son of libertarian Presidential candidate Ron Paul, has been a newcomer to politics but a Tea Party favorite. Rand wants to focus on the deficit and federal spending issues and pledges to bring a series change in how things are run in Washington. There have been controversies surrounding his campaign regarding one of his supporters stomping on the head of a rival supporter and Rand’s prank involving an Aqua Buddha.
Alexi Giannoulias (Dem) Versus Mark Kirk (Rep) - Illinois Senate
The Illinois senate seat previously belonged to Obama, who has now lost it unceremoniously to a Republican. Mark Kirk, the Republican and popular local Congressman, won 48.4 percent of the vote in comparison to his rival Democrat candidate, Alexi Giannoulias, who won 46 percent votes. The failure of a bank called Broadway, which Giannoulias’ family runs, earlier this year is one reason behind the defeat; meanwhile, Kirk has been guilty of exaggerations in his career records.
Pat Toomey (Rep) Versus Joe Sestak (Dem) - Pennsylvania Senate
Pennsylvania is a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans; hence, the recent victory of the Republican Pat Toomey is a stunning and substantial one for the GOP. The race was a close call as only 2% separated the two with Toomey wining 51% to Sestak’s 49. Time and again, Sestak tried to portray Toomey as too conservative for Pennsylvania’s liberal tastes and even attack Republican candidate, Christine O'Donnell, on witchcraft allegations. Both clashed on jobs, taxes and health care reform issues. Because of Pennsylvania’s swing status in presidential elections, this has been a crucial seat and battle ground for both the parties, and it is indeed a major victory for the Republicans.
Joe Miller (Rep) Versus Lisa Murkowski (Ind) – Alaska
Alaska has been Sarah Palin’s former state and a favorite for the conservatives. The candidate winning here would have a chance of playing higher stakes in future i.e., running for Presidency in 2012. From what it seems Lisa Murkowski, a Republican-turned-independent, is winning, having 81,876 "write-in" candidates, as compared to Joe Miller’s 68,288 votes. The Democrats' candidate, Scott McAdams, has got only 24% votes. However, Miller says he would remain hopeful till every last vote has been counted. Miller is all for ending Alaska’s fiefdom on the federal government.
Meg Whitman (Rep) Versus Jerry Brown (Dem) – California
Whitman, the former chief of eBay is a Republican; meanwhile, Brown is a seasoned Democrat dubbed as the philosopher prince of California politics. Even though Whitman poured in huge amounts of money in the campaign, in the end it was Brown who came out on top.
Christine O'Donnell (Rep) v Chris Coons (Dem) - Delaware Senate
Delaware is a primarily Democratic state. O'Donnell, a voice of conservatism, has been a poster child and dark horse of the Republicans but was defeated, getting just 40 percent of the vote against Democrat Chris Coons. The defeat hasn’t gone too well with her and she blames her party for lack of sufficient support, though it might have been her nonchalant and candid comments on witchcraft, sexual choices, and misuse of campaign funds’ allegations that might have hurt her reputation.
As results from the remaining bulk of states pour in, it is certain that the winds of change are sweeping in. Republicans and their radical Right-wing Tea Party allies capitalized on the anger and disappointment of the masses with the failing economy and the change that Obama promised and failed to deliver. Republican leader John Boehner feels that the results have shown that it’s the American nation that is in charge and not Obama. However, the likes of Republican candidates like Marco Rubio are more realistic and foreboding, as he reminds his fellow Republicans that, “we make a grave mistake if we believe tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party. What they are, is a second chance — a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.” It is expected that Republicans would go for negations of health care and financial regulations and cuts in government’s spending. Hence, a gridlock is expected on certain issues and possibility of discord on major issues.
In its two years of governance, the public has lost confidence in the Obama administration due to its economic policies, the failure to curb the staggering unemployment rate, slow economic growth and recovery, bursting of the property pipe dream due to the banks’ unexpected foreclosure of mortgage, withdrawal of tax cuts and wasting tax payers’ money on bail outs and stimulus injections. Crowds no longer throng Obama wherever he goes – and he might agree with the results himself: “yesterday's vote confirmed what I have heard from people all across America… they want jobs to come back faster, they want paychecks to go further, and they want their children and their grandchildren to have the opportunity in life that they had.” And while Obama is willing to reach out and meet his opponents halfway, he is also of the opinion that this will not be easy, “I'm not suggesting this will be easy. I can't pretend we can bridge every difference ... there's a reason why we have two parties in this country….No party has a monopoly on wisdom and I'm open to good ideas where ever they come from.”
The bottom line for both parties is simple; an improved, sustainable economy. People will be hopeful in all the states regardless of whether the Democrats or the Republicans are leading them. In the long term, it might not be the party that wins, but rather one that delivers. Keeping that in mind, both the Democrats and the Republicans need to find a way to work together, otherwise the mid-term elections would just merely be another round of musical chairs.