Bad news for the Democratic Party and President Obama – the Republican Party has taken control of America’s upper legislative house, the Senate, and retained their lead in the House of Representatives.
November 4th saw elections taking place for a plethora of different government bodies in America: all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 36 seats in the Senate (which has a total of 100 seats), 38 governorships, 46 state legislatures, and 4 territorial legislatures.
The elections saw sweeping gains by the Republican Party in the Senate and House, alongside winning 24 governorships. Although the Republican Party was already the majority party in the House prior to the elections, they gained a further 13 seats, thus increasing their total to 244 seats against the 177 held by the Democratic Party. 218 seats are required for a majority, so with the increase the Republicans now have a strong lead in the House.
Going into the elections, the Senate was controlled by the Democrats with 53 senators, with 45 representing the Republicans and 2 independents. Following the mid-term elections, the Democrats have been left with 43 senators, the Republicans gaining 7 more seats making a total of 52. With 51 seats needed to make a majority, the Republicans have therefore claimed victory in the Senate, even if this victory is a narrow one.
With the Republican led lower-house having already caused a lot of difficulty for Obama, his last two terms as President are surely set to present even more of an up-hill battle with Congress (the term given for both bodies of the US legislature) now under the complete control of the Republican Party.
In light of the results the new Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, and President Obama both promised to end the political gridlock that has plagued Congress for much of Obama’s presidency. However, it is hard to see this promise working in Obama’s favour, and many Democratic compromises will be demanded from the Republicans to pass any pieces of legislature originating from Obama and the Democratic Party.
Cover image: Flickr/Cristian Ramírez under Creative Commons licence.