August 19, 2014

A tie in the senate may not be so bad for the GOP

By no means am I trying to lower the bar for Republicans here.  A tie in the senate after the 2014 midterm elections is a possibility.  But it is also about the lowest the senate bar could possibly be set for the GOP without actually going beneath the floor.  Even a tie though could have a silver lining for the GOP.  

Of course a tie would mean the VP Joe "foot in mouth" Biden would become the tiebreaker on senate votes.  That  raises the profile of Biden for a 2016 presidential run.  Given that he could be the single worst possible nominee for the Democrats, that alone is a win.  Biden is the most beatable candidate in either party.  If he could squeak out a Democrat nomination that would be highly beneficial to the GOP, increasing their chances of a presidential win significantly.

There's more reason not to get despondent in the event of a tied senate.  If the GOP can stay united and force numerous ties in the senate,  Biden will have to cast a lot of deciding votes. That might serve to enlighten some of the ill-informed electorate who pay little attention to politics.  They might become aware of the fact that it has been do-nothing Democrats in the senate that have been the source of so much gridlock and have been getting their way in the senate for years.  The news will no longer be able to hide how little voting has happened under Harry Reid.

Of course an out of the gate Republican senate passing all sorts of legislation would be a marked contrast too, but the press would no doubt find a way to spin it as an activist senate bent on undoing all the positive change in America.  Good deeds will not go unpunished - sad, but true.  

And a tied senate certainly is not as good as bill after bill hitting Obama's desk to face veto after veto.  Yes, he'd argue he's vetoing bad legislation, but he'd look to be the obstructionist.  He'd look to be the one digging in his heels and not making deals.  But the media loves a tie.  It gives that air of sudden death playoff overtime that makes for a good story.  And in the end, their liberal guy wins, so they'd report on every tie, every time.  And on some subconscious level, slowly, cumulatively people will start to see that Republicans have not been doing nothing all this time.  It's been the Democrats putting a halt to a productive senate.

All the party line votes will at a minimum paint Democrats at least as obstructionist as the GOP.  That spreads the taint of gridlock more evenly.  That too, is a win.  A small win, but a win nonetheless.  Worst case voters cast a pox on both their houses and voter turnout among Democrats gets suppressed for 2016.  

Liberals might howl at the voter suppression angle of that last paragraph.  Tough.  Conservatives have been the victims of voter suppression and phantom voter rolls for decades.  The party that claims to want to rock the vote, only wants to rock their own voters, and works hard to create a distaste for Republican candidates among the Republican base. So don't get all holier-than-thou on us.  We aren't buying it.  Democrats don't want Republican voters to turn out and vice versa.  Voter suppression simply because of voter distaste for their own candidates is not suppression, it's a cold splash of reality.

This is of course all pre-game speculation.  What really will matter in this scenario, or any other if a Republican wins the White House in 2016 is what happens next.  More of the same will be an option for absolutely no one in the electorate.  Bold ideas with a high powered sales job and of course follow-through will be expected demanded.  After eight years of stagnation and a tepid recovery at best, voters will require no less.

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