October 24, 2014
It’s the Senate, Stupid!
By International President Michael Goodwin
In 1992, political strategist James Carville coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” for Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign against sitting President George H. W. Bush. Bush’s approval rating fell from a high of more than 90 percent in March 1991 to 36 percent in August 1992. The phrase became a popular theme that resonated with the public and made it difficult for the incumbent president to improve his approval ratings.
This year the theme should be “It’s the Senate, stupid,” because the party that controls the Senate is going to have a significant impact on a wide variety of issues important to workers. You see, there are 36 Senate seats up for reelection in 2014: 21 Democrats and 15 Republicans. In the current Senate, the Democrats are in control with 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats. It will take a turnover of only six Senate seats for the Republicans to regain control of the Senate. The Democratic senatorial victories in 2008 were a pleasant surprise, as candidates rode into offi e on the coattails of the then-very- popular presidential candidate Barack Obama and in several cases won by very slim margins.
Now, in 2014, it is very much a different story, as the president’s approval ratings have dropped to less than 40 percent. Democrats running at a time when presidential approval ratings are so low have a difficult time overcoming the negativity. As of this writing, there are very close races with a polling margin of less than 1 percent in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and Kansas, so when combined with other races throughout the country, it’s quite possible that a turnover of six Senate seats could happen.
With the House of Representatives firmly in control of the Republicans, losing control of the Senate would mean that all the outrageous proposals in the House would now be passed by the Republican Senate and sent on to the president for signature. Consider that the House has already taken more than 50 votes to repeal Obamacare, refused to extend unemployment insurance benefits and blocked any effort to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The House has been so reluctant to pass anything that the president proposes that he has had to resort to issuing a myriad of executive orders to get things done. Examples of this are executive orders affecting immigration, fair pay and safe workplaces, equal employment opportunity, and minimum wage for federal contractors.
Every OPEIU member and his or her family must come out and vote on November 4.”
Unfortunately, the president has limited authority in these areas and executive orders are not law – they can be repealed by a future president. So, the consequences of losing the Senate in 2014 will be that the president will be spending an inordinate amount of time vetoing all the outrageous legislation passed by Congress and harmful to the average worker. And to continue the nightmare, you can imagine what would happen if a Republican president were elected in 2016 who would sign all the outrageous legislation passed by Congress into law. In addition, a new
Republican president would more than likely repeal executive orders issued by President Obama. Perish the thought!
To ensure that this nightmare does not become a reality, it is critical for the Democrats to maintain control of the Senate. To accomplish this, we need your help. Every OPEIU member and his or her family must come out and vote on November 4. The stakes are too high to take any chances.
Unfortunately, voters tend to stay home in a non-presidential election year, and if that happens, we will surely suffer the consequences. Please don’t let the Senate fall under Republican control and set the scene for a disaster in 2016 with the election of a Republican president. We need to keep at least one of the three entities in the legislative process in Democratic hands.
So in 2014, “It’s the Senate, stupid.” Please keep this in mind, and make sure that you and your family come out and vote on November 4.