A Republican Congress In 2014? GOP Senate Takeover Gains Momentum


In the years in between Congressional elections, punditry over each party’s bid to control the U.S. House and Senate tends to die down. But with the announced retirement of one Senate Democrat who hails from a largely red state, political forecasters are reviving the 2012 election-season talk that predicts a GOP takeover when the 2014 elections roll around.

Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.C.) announced Tuesday he won’t run again when his Senate seat comes open in 2014. That brings to 21 the total number of Senate seats currently held by Democrats that will come up in the 2014 election cycle. Five of those 21 will be available because Democratic incumbents like Johnson retired.

That’s double trouble for the Democratic Party, because retiring Democrats from Republican-leaning States often take with them a measure of moderate, crossover rapport that dries up as younger and, often, more liberal candidates come on board. Johnson’s retirement marks the second instance of a Democrat — one representing a State that voted Republican in the 2012 Presidential race — stepping away from the Senate after his current term.

In contrast with the Democrats’ bid to retain 21 seats in 2014, Republicans must retain only 14.

Right now, there are 53 Democrats in the Senate and 45 Republicans. Two more independent Senators caucus with the Democrats. That means the GOP must gain at least six seats to form a simple majority. There might be other political eras when those kinds of numbers would present a tremendous challenge to GOP leaders. But in the lame-duck days of President Barack Obama, Republicans are already sharpening their knives.

“It’s murderous in 2014,” said The Washington Post of Democrats’ chances, back before the 2012 elections had even taken place.

The Obama voter-backlash factor could be decisive on a national scale this time, expanding far beyond the 2010 and 2012 backlash witnessed in conservative regions, where polls saw an abundance of straight-ticket GOP voting. Voters everywhere will finally be getting their first real taste of Obamacare — a big wild card that could strongly affect public opinion going into the 2014 season. And in order to retain some good will among even Democratic voters in all but a handful of predominantly urban states, the President would have to swerve course dramatically, between now and next year, on hard-line gun control, civil liberties, spending and White House transparency.

“The playing field and weather conditions are great for us,” a GOP spokesman told The Hill Tuesday. “Now we have to go out and execute.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/guff.abbott Guff Abbott Jr

    Alex must be 14 years old. Young people today are more shallow, more self-centered, less knowledgeable, and more dependent on their parents than ever before. They are also less informed. I have fought tooth and nail against these trends with my own children, and I have largely succeeded. It has taken a Herculean effort to do so against the backdrop of narcissism and brain-damaging filth my kids faced every day at school, on television, and in dealing with their spoiled friends.

    Alex, your statements are at complete odds with the real world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/guff.abbott Guff Abbott Jr

    Look, all Republicans in Congress want more power, longer terms, and more money for their cronies. Same as Democrats. Republicans are better only because their base does NOT want these things, and they will destroy the country at a slower pace than their Democrat buddies.

    The only way to stop this madness — peacefully — is through Constitutional amendment. Wrest the power seized by the Feds away — and return it to the people. That could only happen by the States calling a Constitutional Convention. Congress would NEVER vote to limit government power. Not gonna happen.

    That could be dangerous, though, as there is no telling WHAT kind of government would pop out the other side. There might not be a right to bear arms — or freedom of speech — or any other protection.

    At some point, though, the people will have nothing to lose, and a new Constitution would start to look appealing.