As it looks now, Democrats control the Senate with 51 senators to the Republicans’ 49 senators. The House is divided with 231 Democrats, 197 Republicans and 7 seats are still undecided.
What might be the result?
1. Gridlock. If the Republicans play the filibuster card as the Democrats did, there will probably be enough votes to get basic issues passed like funding the military and ongoing programs. But, not much new legislation will be coming out. Overall less government action is a plus.
2. Nominees. Except for Robert Gates (because Demos hate Rumsfeld so much), nominees will have a tough time getting through. So what’s new? After four years of having the majority in both houses and the presidency, the Republicans never figured out how to confirm crucial conservative nominees except on Roberts, Alito and a few other cases.
3. Expectations. Republicans have failed pretty miserably in terms of conservative expectations. Now the Democrats have a load of expectations put on them by their leftist base. But most of those issues do not resonate with the American electorate. So it will be tricky to pull out a win with the base and a win with the electorate at the same time.
4. Conservative Democrats. Though still an extreme minority in the party congressional caucus, conservative Democrats have been strengthened in this election. (A clear indication that the American electorate leans to the right.) This could result in forging an alliance between conservative Republicans and conservatives Democrats, since both are now in the minority (the Republicans at large and the Democrats within their party). Any cooperation between the two groups is a plus for the nation. And any strengthening of conservative principles within the Democrat party is a plus for the party which has too long been veering toward the leftist fringe.
5. Election 2008. Republicans will have a clear target to shoot at. Democrats won’t have the leisure to run on a mere anti-Bush platform (though undoubtedly they will try that again). Already the pass that they have been getting on having a plan for victory in Iraq is evaporating. Mixing tax cuts with a strategy to balance the budget and add new social programs will be pretty much impossible. Two major campaign issues used against Republicans in 2004 and 2006 will be difficult to sustain.
Every cloud has a silver lining.