As if Republicans weren’t concerned enough about the future of their majority in the House of Representatives after the upcoming midterm elections, it appears that they have to share some of that anxiety with the Senate as well.
“I hope when the smoke clears, we’ll still have a majority,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters.
These reports may come as a surprise to those who thought that a favorable election map would allow the Senate GOP to sail into a more comfortable majority next year. But it’s not that big a surprise. The real question is what Senate Republicans will actually do with the information.
The name of the game for this midterm election is enthusiasm. The deciding factor is whether the Republican Party will be able to outmatch the tangible anti-Trump energy from the Democratic base. On the right side of the aisle, a lot of that enthusiasm has been dampened by repeated congressional failures to deliver on issues like Obamacare repeal, Planned Parenthood funding, overall government spending, and, well, almost everything the party campaigned on, except for tax cuts.
And where did the vast majority of those legislative efforts die? Mitch McConnell’s Senate, where observers have long complained about the lack of open process and a laughably short average work week, and where liberal conference members who often act as roadblocks to these sorts of efforts never seem to face any real consequences.
If McConnell is replaced in the event of a Senate “blue wave,” it would likely be by one of his current lieutenants, like Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, or GOP Conference Chair John Thune, R-N.D. This confluence of dysfunction and unfulfilled promises already helped McConnell earn the position of most hated senator in the United States.
So if the Senate goes blue, will anything change, or will leadership just blame Trump?