That is not the headline we want to see the day after Election Day, Nov. 4.
If that nightmare scenario unfolds, Mitch McConnell, the GOP senator from Kentucky, or some other Republican, will replace Harry Reid, the Democratic senator from Nevada, as leader of the Senate.
“So what?” some may ask. “You’re just replacing one career politician with another.”
The leader sets the agenda, however, and a GOP takeover would transform the Senate calendar to reflect the concerns of people who have nothing but scorn and contempt for working people, democracy or any type of good government. Whether it’s union organizing rights, the minimum wage, consumer protection, Social Security, Medicare, health care, regulation of Wall Street, voter rights, women or anything else, a Republican-controlled Senate will do all in its power to turn the clock back.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) put it this way: “If you want to know what a wholly Republican Congress would do, the thing to do is to look at what they’ve done in state capitals where they can. In Ohio, they’ve gone after voters’ rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights. They’d bring that to Washington.”
The Republicans have already laid out their plans for the weeks after their hoped-for takeover.
Once they install Mitch McConnell they will propose and pass a federal law banning all abortions after 20 weeks. Next they will propose and pass a law to cut the funds the government needs to implement the Affordable Care Act. Then they will gut both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, both of which they hate so much.
If there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court the Senate will stall until President Obama’s term is up, preventing the seating of a progressive judge who can rescue that court from the current right-wing pro-corporate grip.
And the GOP Senate leaders will crank out a steady barrage of right-wing measures, forcing President Obama to veto bill after bill. Any liberal or progressive legislation put forward by the president would go down to defeat in the Senate.
The GOP-controlled Senate will thoroughly “investigate,” whenever it can, any plausible Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2016. It will also “investigate” members of the Obama administration itself – all in an attempt to improve GOP prospects for taking over the White House in 2016.
A GOP takeover of the Senate will guarantee that almost nothing in the interests of the people will get done. The Republicans will conclude that their obstructionism was a good strategy for them, that it helped them take over the Senate. They will, if anything, ramp it up. The present gridlock situation in Washington will look like Gridlock Lite. In this warped view, it will make sense to continue hurting, rather than fixing the economy because that will improve the party’s presidential chances in 2016.
It doesn’t have to happen this way, however.
Working people and all progressives must not allow themselves to be out-voted in this year’s elections. Too often they stay home during such “off year” elections while more conservative voters turn out in larger numbers. That trend, for the sake of all Americans, must be reversed this time around.
There are many reasons to vote this November. High on the list of those reasons is one we believe is crucial – preventing the “nightmare” of a GOP takeover of the Senate.
CORRECTION: In an earlier version, Harry Reid was identified as a senator from Utah instead of the state of Nevada. We regret the error and thank our eagle-eyed readers for pointing it out to us.
Photo: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, and GOP lawmakers, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, talk to reporters after a GOP caucus meeting. AP