New Congress, Old Problems

By ZAC PALMER, Staff WriterElection2014

Let the 2016 campaigning begin! The commercials and calls are over, but we won’t have to wait much longer for them all to begin again. Next time with even more vigor though, due to the fact that 2016 is a presidential election.

This time around we spent $3.7 billion. The Republicans were the winners in the money coming in with $1.75 billion, while the democrats were only able to round up a scrawny $1.64 billion. Those numbers are up from the last election, as our two major political parties know how the game is played. When you win the money game, chances are you’re going to win the election, and that rang true for the Republicans in the 2014 election.

Going into the election the outlook for the Democrats was bleak, as they were most likely going to lose the Senate to the Republicans. After the votes were tallied, it was clear that the Republicans had gained the majority in the Senate, and they will now control both houses of Congress.

How much of America actually cares about our government though? One easy statistic that answers that very question is the voter turnout rate. 36.6% is your answer. Out of all the eligible voters in the country about a third of us cast a ballot for this year’s election. Congress’ approval rating is about 14% right now. If America disapproves so strongly of what our government is doing, then why do more of us not vote?

Younger voters are the biggest culprit of them all. According to exit polls, voters under thirty, represented only 13% of the voters. Our election results could have been much different if all of us went out and voted. We need to get out there and vote. There is no excuse for not voting. If you’re over eighteen, let your voice be heard.

Democrats in particular were unenthused to head to the polls this past Tuesday, while Republicans held steady and or voted more than normal. That certainly explains why pretty much any race that was close went to a Republican.

Our government will look and behave a little differently now that the Senate has switched hands. Mitch McConnell will most likely be our new Senate Majority Leader, and John Boehner will remain Speaker of the House. Now instead of the Republicans filibustering anything the democrats propose, it’ll be the opposite.

One major issue that the Republicans ran on is the repeal of ‘Obamacare’. Their success in pursuing this objective though will certainly be blunted by a filibuster in the Senate, plus President Obama would never sign a full repeal of the new healthcare law.

Gridlock has become synonymous with Congress for the last few years. Now that both houses belong to the same party it may not be as bad, but I remain unconfident that we will come to compromises on issues and actually get things done.