Republican control of the Senate and President Trump’s unlikely 2016 victory were made possible because of the momentum that was started when the GOP took control of the House of Representatives in 2010. If the GOP hadn’t taken control of the House, President Obama would have had at least two more years to push his agenda with the backing of a Democratic Congress.
Instead, the Republican Party was able to turn 2010’s exceptional string of House seat victories into good strides in 2012. Those strides made the 2014 takeover of the Senate possible. All of that momentum equated into the 2016 sweep of the House, Senate, and White House. It’s very likely none of that would have happened if the GOP didn’t win the House first in 2010.
It’s not about direct cause and effect from election to election. It’s about the psyche of both Republican voters and party leadership. If Democrats had retained control of the House in 2010, their clean sweep would have forced many Republican voters to sour on the whole proposition. They would have been demanding answers, calling for big changes in Republican leadership, and may have even abandoned the newly formed Tea Party initiatives.
But none of that happened. Instead, Republicans were able to celebrate the debilitating damage they’d done to President Obama’s agenda. Most Americans seem to misunderstand how the dynamic between Capitol Hill and the White House works. Most of us prefer to employ checks and balances that leave control in Washington DC split so different parties control the legislative and executive branches. While this works well in high school civics classes, it doesn’t work well in practice. Checks and balances in today’s atmosphere mean deadlock.
Deadlock means nothing actually gets done.
Without the House AND the Senate, President Obama would never have been able to get Obamacare through. Republicans will say that this would have been a good result, but now the shoe’s on the other foot. Without the House AND the Senate, President Trump would never have gotten tax cuts passed. In fact, it wouldn’t even have been discussed as a possibility.
The positive economic progress we’ve made in the last two years will come to a screeching halt if Democrats win control of the House or Senate. Job numbers will start dropping. Wages will start dropping. The stock market will drop to 2016 numbers. GDP, economic growth, and nearly every indicator of fiscal health will fall. Why? Because the factors that determine economic progress and stability are directly affected by the actions of Congress in general and the House of Representatives in particular. Deadlock doesn’t just mean the President is helpless. It also means Congress is unable to get their bills signed. Both sides lose.
Without the House, President Obama was neutered by the 2010 election. President Trump will be neutered by the 2018 election if Republicans and Independents don’t keep the House AND the Senate under GOP control.
The party in power always has less-passionate voters in midterms. That may change this year. It needs to. If it doesn’t, President Trump will suffer the same fate that President Obama suffered in 2010 when his agenda was effectively stalled.