The 2010 election was by any measure a stinging loss for the Democratic Party in the United States Congress, and perhaps a blow to President Barack Obama. The electorate swept aside the Democratic majority with Republicans gaining 63 seats in the US House of Representatives bringing the new partisan balance to 242 to 193 in the Republicans’ favor, and reduced the Democrats’ majority in the United States Senate by seven seats to a Democratic advantage of 53 to 47. The heavy swing of seats in the House and lighter swings in the Senate tend to obfuscate the actual percentage of each parties’ vote share due to the single member district plurality system. The Republicans polled at 51.6 percent and the Democrats 44.8 percent in House races, and in the Senate races the Republicans’ vote share was 49.3 percent to the Democrats’ 45.1.1 Put simply, the Republicans had a very good night indeed and President Obama’s relationship with Congress will get much more complicated and contentious.
The Congressional Elections 2010 and Turkish Interests in the Congress
Republicans, in a classic midterm “wave election,” supplanted the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives with a large majority of their own and substantially reduced the Democratic majority in the Senate. Yet, despite their electoral success, this victory should not suggest to Republicans that the electorate has granted them any sort of broad policy mandate. Such mandates are illusory in the American political system. As such, President Obama’s impressive string of legislative victories in the past few years will most likely remain in place, though his relationship with Congress will undoubtedly become more complicated. Moreover, the Turkish-American relationship should be largely unaffected. In fact, the new majority in the House may be more sympathetic to Turkish interests than the previous Congress.
Should the people’s economic confidence begin to recover by 2012, President Obama will be well positioned for reelection; should it not, Republicans may well be competitive.
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