Monday, October 13, 2014

Will Gridlock be Affected by Midterm Results?

The likely midterm election results for the U.S. Senate are either a diminished Democratic majority (six seats currently) or Republican control. Will the change have an effect on the legislative – executive gridlock that has characterized Washington during most of President Obama’s tenure?

Harry Reid’s leadership for another two years doesn’t produce much hope of an end to gridlock. A lesser majority could cause some weakness in his control, but the House will likely be even more Republican and not interested in helping the weaker Democratic majority.

Would Republican control change the dynamics? Does Mitch McConnell come to believe some accomplishments and relief of gridlock will help his party in the more difficult 2016 environment (more Republican incumbents up in more competitive seats)?

Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell
Would President Obama, looking for a legacy and less restrained by the Reid and Nancy Pelosi leadership team, be inclined to compromise on tax and entitlement reform, some piecemeal advance on immigration reform and some improvements to Obamacare? He, of course, maintains the veto to stop changes he believes go too far.

That is, does Obama’s instinct for diplomacy and compromise and desire for a legacy align with McConnell’s desire to reposition the national Republic brand for governing and not just obstructing?

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