As bleak as things look for the GOP in the short-term (and they do look bleak), it’s stunning to consider the entirely possible scenario whereby Republicans could control the presidency and both houses of Congress in the very near future.
Consider this: As Romney learned, history says it’s difficult to defeat a sitting president in the modern era. But it is arguably even harder for a political party to win three consecutive presidential elections.
Only George H.W. Bush (who was essentially awarded Reagan’s third term) has pulled it off in the last fifty, or so, years. And that’s just what Democrats will attempt to do. What is more, in all likelihood, they will nominate Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. Having passed the torch to a new generation of leaders, what are the odds Americans will choose to go backwards generationally?
History, of course, doesn’t always repeat itself. But if history is a predictor, then Republicans appear to be due for a presidential victory in 2016.
But what about 2014? The president’s party typically loses seats during mid-term elections, and since Republicans already control the House, it’s probably safe to assume they will retain control at least until 2016.
Meanwhile, the Senate seems poised for Republican pickups next year. Democratic incumbents are defending seats in states like Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, and the news keeps getting worse. As the AP’s Thomas Beaumont and David Espo write,
Republicans must gain six seats to win a majority in the Senate, and South Dakota now leaps to the top of the party’s list of most favorable states. Republican Mike Rounds, a popular former two-term governor, has been campaigning for the seat since last year, though he declined to comment Monday on [U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson's] retirement.
Democrats won open Senate seats in places like North Dakota in 2012, so nothing is guaranteed. Blowing such a golden opportunity in 2014 could further add to the GOP’s identity crisis, causing more introspection and soul-searching.
But having said that, it is interesting to note that — with all the handwringing going on among conservatives (I’m as guilty as anyone) — the GOP’s electoral prospects in the near future look pretty promising.
Despite all the problems, it’s entirely plausible that Republicans could control almost everything in a few short years. I wonder if we will start hearing ridiculous talk about a “permanent governing majority” if that happens?