BY PAM MUELLER
For the past five years, the three branches of government have all been under Republican control. These years have shown what happens under right-wing rule without checks and balances: executive incompetence combined with a lack of an opposing viewpoint in government has made America weaker, both at home and abroad.
At press time, the Democrats had gained at least 26 seats in the House, taking control for the first time in 12 years, and were apparently on course to retake the Senate. Democrats also picked up six governorships, giving them a majority on this count as well. DNC chair Howard Dean’s somewhat controversial 50-state strategy – in its first stages in these elections – seems effective, especially given the positive outcome of races in traditionally red states such as Arkansas and Montana.
If the Democrats retake both houses, it will signal a true – and long-needed – sea change in the country’s attitude toward this administration and its disregard for the needs of the American people. Regardless of the result of the two outstanding Senate races, the results of this election offer Democrats everywhere a mandate to effect real limitations on President Bush’s unchecked authority, and to pass a legislative agenda that will improve the lives of all Americans.
In these midterm elections, the Democrats offered voters a choice: two more years of the same Republican agenda, which has failed to fill working class families’ needs, or a new direction, based on honest government, real security, energy independence, and economic expansion. Rising Speaker Pelosi knows that reforms in all of these areas are sorely needed, and has made it a top priority to increase the minimum wage, repeal corporate incentives to send jobs overseas, make college tuition tax-deductible, implement the reforms put forth by the 9/11 commission, and free America from its dependence on foreign oil.
In 2004, President Bush claimed that he had earned political capital and intended to use it. These results make clear that he has squandered any capital he may have earned, and now has none to exploit for the remainder of his term. America is better off for it.
Pam Mueller is a member of the HLS Democrats.