Thanks to the liberal Independents Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Democrats have controlled the U.S. Senate since the 2006 midterm election. Since the president is a Democrat, only a Republican-controlled House is keeping the Democrats from having absolute control of the government. To get an idea of what this would mean one only has to go back to the 111th Congress of 2009 to 2011 during the first two years of the presidency of Barack Obama. This Congress passed, and President Obama signed, more laws that affect Americans since the legislation passed during Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”
It is during this period that was instituted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Cash for Clunkers, the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, and, of course, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.
But as bad as these things are, would it be a good thing if the Republicans regained control of the Senate in the upcoming election?
Twenty-one Senate seats currently held by Democrats are up for election this year, plus the seats held by Lieberman and Sanders. Only ten Senate seats currently held by Republicans are up for grabs. Fifteen Democratic senators are running for re-election and six incumbents are retiring. Among the Independents, Sanders is running for re-election while Lieberman is retiring. Seven Republican senators are seeking re-election and three incumbents are retiring.
There are currently 47 Republicans in the Senate. This means that the Republicans need to retain their ten seats and win four additional seats (or some combination of fourteen) to have a majority in the Senate. If the Republican Romney/Ryan ticket wins the presidency, the Republicans only need to win 13 Senate elections since the vice president (as president of the Senate) can vote to break a tie if the Senate is deadlocked after a 50/50 vote.
So, it is entirely possible that the Republicans could gain control of the Senate just like the Democrats did in the 2006 midterm election and the Republicans did in the elections of 1994 and 2002.
But will Republican control of the Senate necessarily mean anything different from a Senate controlled by Democrats? Would a Republican majority favor liberty, follow the Constitution, restore federalism, and not forsake the principle of limited government?
The answer is: it depends. It depends on which party controls the House and the presidency.
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