It wasn't a great night for the Republican Party, losing bids for the White House and control of the Senate. Republicans did retain the majority in the House, and House Speaker John Boehner found consolation in that. Speaking to supporters last night, he remained steadfast in his pursuit of a conservative agenda.
For months, Americans have been watching the presidential political drama play out nightly on the news. Now, with President Obama's victory, that story is ending.
But for the economy, an action thriller is just beginning.
Congress has just weeks to jump to the rescue of an economy moving closer and closer to the so-called fiscal cliff. That phrase refers to a $600 billion cluster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes — all coming together at year's end.
For Republicans itching to regain control of the Senate, Tuesday's election presents a rare opportunity. Only 10 GOP incumbents are on the ballot, compared with nearly two dozen Democrats and independents who caucus with them.
That means the magic number for Republicans is low. They need only a net gain of three or four seats to take over the Senate — and, assuming they keep the U.S. House of Representatives, consolidate their influence on Capitol Hill. Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to seize the House, a goal that political analysts consider all but out of reach.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:33 am
In the end, the election may not settle anything.
If the polls are correct — and there's been heated debate about that — President Obama will be re-elected Tuesday. Even if he is, he'll have to face a Republican House that appears to be no warmer to his agenda than it's been for the past two gridlocked years.
But the polls are still so close that Republican Mitt Romney might be elected. If that's the case, it appears he'll have to contend with a Senate that remains under Democratic control.
Election Day is promising many firsts — and not just the obvious ones.
Yes, the country could get its first Mormon president if Republican Mitt Romney is elected. And of course, it could get its first two-term African-American commander in chief if President Obama is re-elected.
But Tuesday offers a smorgasbord of other potential "first" opportunities across the nation — from New Hampshire, which could end up with the nation's first all-female congressional delegation, to Arizona, which could elect its first Hispanic U.S. senator.