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Story Archives: No mandate for Democrats--yet
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|No mandate for Democrats--yet|
After each national election it is a common occurrence for the pundits on television to tell us what took place or didn't take place on Election Day. While every effort under the sun is still being made to paint the outcome of Nov. 4 elections as a huge win for the Democratic Party, the facts fail to support any argument that suggests the Democrats were handed a mandate last week.
Instead, results of the 2008 election cycle told us the country remains vastly divided. That was more than apparent once it was realized Barack Obama only garnered a slightly larger percentage of the popular vote than George W. Bush did four years ago. About 1.5 percent.
The upside for the Democrats in the fall elections would entail the 20 seats the Dems picked up in the House of Representatives. That was 20 seats on top of the some 30 seats Democrats picked off in the House in 2006. As we all know, Democrats took control of the Congress in the 2006 midterm elections. Thus, their majority in the House has grown in light of the 2008 election cycle.
Yet, the gains Democrats made last week fell far short of the 25-30 seats some pundits predicted the Dems would pick up when the people had their say at the polls, proving that Republican congressional candidates were not as vulnerable as the pundits claimed.
While we basically know what the composition of the House will look like when the 111th Congress convenes, the make-up of the Senate remains undecided. It's undecided because votes are being recounted in Alaska and Minnesota, while a run-off election in Georgia looms on the horizon.
In spite of having been recently convicted on seven counts of making false statements to federal authorities, Republican Sen. Ted Stevens is expected to survive a recount in Alaska. You read that right. Stevens was re-elected with a conviction hanging over his head.
Further South, Sen. Norm Coleman, another Republican, is expected to survive a vote recount in Minnesota. His re-election scare was courtesy of a comedian, Al Franken.
Meanwhile, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican as well, should win the December run-off in Georgia. Obama most likely will campaign against Chambliss, offering us an opportunity to learn how far the president-elect's coattails extend.
If Chambliss, Coleman and Stevens are still standing when January arrives, Democrats will basically control some 57 seats in the Senate. Republicans, of course, will hold 43 seats. At least that will be the case if Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut is forgiven for supporting Sen. John McCain in the presidential race.
An Independent who caucused with Democrats in the 110th Congress, Lieberman is at odds with the Democratic leadership for the obvious reasons. In fact, Democrats are so angry with Lieberman that they're threatening to prevent him from caucusing with them.
That would sit well with Republicans, who would be more than happy to have Lieberman caucus in their corner, diminishing the advantage Democrats will hold in the Senate beginning in January.
Though we won't know for sure how the stars will align in the Senate for another few weeks, the pundits missed big-time in predicting what the future held for the GOP in the world's most exclusive club. In other words, for weeks the pundits told us the Democrats most likely would take control of 60 seats in the Senate, or enough seats to stop Republicans from filibustering any legislation an Obama administration may propose.
That didn't happen, or at least that hasn't occurred yet.
The yet concerns Chambliss, Coleman and Stevens.
If the suspects in question fail politically or otherwise, Democrats will own an all-important 60-seat majority in the Senate for at least the next two years.
If that happens, God help us.