James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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GOP may help Democrats by claiming Senate

Posted by James McPherson on November 4, 2014

It’s been tough to get excited about today’s elections, the most expensive midterms in history, for which turnout will be low. A constant barrage of ads from political hate groups may depress the vote. Conservative voter suppression efforts may have a limited effect on election results in some states, while voter fraud, as usual, will be virtually nonexistent and will have no effect whatsoever.

Republicans have found that running without a platform or ideas, while hiding from their jobs, is more effective than the Democratic tactic of running without a clue, while hiding from the president who heads their party.

That means that the most interested/extreme voices will have more influence than usual. I expect the GOP to claim the Senate, though we may not know the final results for weeks because of close results in Georgia and Louisiana. Actually, I expect we will know. Having watched very brief (all I could stand) segments of shows on Fox News and MSNBC last night, I saw commentators on both predicting that Republicans will gain seats in the Senate. We know that Fox News would predict big Republican wins regardless of the likely outcome, but if MSNBC is pessimistic about Dems’ chances, that confirms the likelihood of a GOP victory.

Of course, having the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress will mean … probably squat. Since it now takes 60 votes in the Senate to accomplish anything, and since the GOP would fall short of that total if it won every single seat up for election this year, little will change.

If anything, the worst Congress ever may get even worse. There will be a new, equally obnoxious, Senate majority leader, and new committee heads, but Democrats won’t be any less obstructionist during the next two years than Republicans have been for the past six. Both parties will continue to promote war and ignore climate change. No immigration reform will occur, which will make Latinos even more likely to vote Democratic in four years. Republicans will continue to have meaningless show votes on the Affordable Care Act, which will continue to provide health care to increasing numbers of Americans.

I heard someone say last night that GOP control of the Senate means President Obama will be unable to get his nominations approved. Apparently that person hasn’t noticed the current state of the nominating process, where Republicans have left record numbers of judicial seats vacant and where, despite a supposed Ebola crisis, the GOP and its gun lobby puppeteers have kept the U.S. from having a surgeon general for the past year.

If GOP “control” of the Senate helps anyone, it likely will be the Democrats — who two years from now will be able to point out that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for two years without accomplishing anything. Obama can veto anything that Congress accidentally passes, of course, but with Senate Democrats manning the barricades in front of him, I doubt that the president will need to track down his veto pen.

Some interesting things will happen today, though, as usual, your vote won’t matter much in the Senate races. The GOP will expand its majority in the House, thanks to gerrymandering, though more Americans likely will once again vote for Democrats in the ill-named “people’s House.” Either party may gain a Governor’s seat. Most of the meaningful elections will occur at the state and local levels, and most Americans will neglect their own interests and ignore those elections.

Among other things, more people in Arkansas may get easier access to alcohol, and folks in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia may gain the right to legally smoke marijuana. They may need it, considering that campaigning for the 2016 election, which will be the new “most expensive election in history,” starts tomorrow.

20 Responses to “GOP may help Democrats by claiming Senate”

  1. wmgates68 said

    Does anyone think anything will be any different? I think we’ve all seen this before.

  2. Indeed. Yesterday NPR ran clips of day-after-midterm-elections-shifts from Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama. The surprise would have been a Democratic victory, and it will be a surprise if the two warring parties actually start doing something productive.

  3. Of course, there are those who are delusional enough to think otherwise: http://therionorteline.com/2014/11/04/we-are-about-to-witness-squalling-on-epic-proportions/

  4. wmgates68 said

    Well that was to be expected. Problem is I have yet to here the squalling about “voter fraud” that has been commonly heard in recent elections prior to these mid-terms.

    I think most citizens just want all the bickering to stop but it seem like it’s only just begun with the threats from Boehner, McConnell and Obama.

  5. Yep — they’re already doubling down on rancor. Oh, and we’re sending more troops to Iraq. When it comes to the parties, too often — as my now-departed mother-in-law used to say, “The ass of one is the face of the other.”

  6. “Republicans have found that running without a platform or ideas, while hiding from their jobs, is more effective than the Democratic tactic of running without a clue, while hiding from the president who heads their party.”

    I haven’t seen it express any better, any where James 🙂

    Right on partner…, write on.

  7. Thanks, Scott — hope you’re well, and that your side of the state is avoiding the bitter cold that’s settling in here all of a sudden.

  8. Alma said

    Reading this blog post made me realize something…your Pulitzer is about as deserved as Obama’s was. You are so unenlightened. Let’s see if you have the guts to leave this post on your site.

  9. Aside from your reliance on a simple insult over any actual argument, if you’d read much of this blog, Alma, you’d have known that I’d be happy to let you demonstrate your rhetorical shortcomings. Of course Obama never won a Pulitzer, nor have I — at least not yet.

    James M. McPherson did win a Pultizer in 1989 and James Alan McPherson won one in 1978, though a simple Google search would show you that I’m far better looking than either of them. By the way, I’m also not the James B. McPherson who was the highest-ranking officer killed in the Civil War. Feel free to come back any time.

  10. melfamy said

    Let’s see if Alma has the moral fiber it takes to admit error.

  11. That would be a welcome surprise and might even be the starting point for a real conversation, but I suspect we’ve heard the last of poor Alma. Hope you’re well, Greg.

  12. melfamy said

    Can’t complain. I bought a pressure washer and, after pw-ing everything on my property I started doing sidewalks and driveways for local busineses. Literally just started; I will be completing my 2nd job tomorrow.

  13. Sounds like a great idea. Of course if you were doing it here, you’d be creating skating rinks. The temp right now is 28 degrees, which may be the high for today.

  14. wmgates68 said



  15. Yep, Charles seems to be one step from a birther — though as the pseudo-intellectual educator he pretends to be, he should know that academic records are kept private for a reason. Some of George W’s were leaked, but even he didn’t “release” any. Doesn’t look like I’m missing anything by not hanging out over there.

  16. wmgates68 said

    I tried to give it a chance but it’s the same ol nonsense rehashed over and over again.

    Affirmative action? Really? And even if it were true, so what? It’s funny how he mentioned Clarence Thomas that has admitted he doesn’t know where he would be without AA as he benefited from it at Holy Cross on a racial minority scholarship as well his admission to Yale. Dr. Ben Carson’s family also benefited from welfare and food stamps.

    Guess Ol Charles needs to do a better job with his research.

  17. wmgates68 said


    The bigots are back at it.

    OMG, Utah. Could he have written a more bigoted article if he tried?

  18. I used to think he was the smart one over there; now I realize there isn’t one. They’re just another group of scared, privileged, white southern good ol’ boys longing for the days when blacks “knew their place.” And the fact that he’s writing it in light of recent events is particularly pitiful.

  19. By the way, William, I wrote a post of my own on race about a week ago and hadn’t been able to decide whether to post it. Now I think I’ll go ahead.

  20. Little Joe just devoted a new post to me over there. Not surprisingly, he lies.

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