How Low Can Congress’ Approval Rating Get? We’ll Know After the Elections

With the midterm elections just a few days away, politicos across the country are on the edge of their seats waiting to see whether the Republicans will take back control of the Senate. It seems as though the GOP has a stranglehold on retaining a majority presence in the House of Representatives, and now the polls indicate that they might in fact edge out the Democrats in the other chamber of Congress as well.

Currently, the Senate includes 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and two independent politicians, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, at the time of this writing, the GOP has a 65.7 percent chance of taking back the Senate on Nov. 4, when Americans head to the polls. In case you don’t know who Nate Silver is, just know that his track record is pretty impressive.

But no matter which side of the aisle you’re on, does it really matter who controls the Senate in 2015?

Does the White House have a plan?


Image: CanStockPhoto

What would a Republican Senate look like for the White House? Well, it might take some time for our commander-in-chief to figure out how to deal with a Congress that is fully controlled by his opposition.

But the good news is that President Obama can plan ahead, yes? After all, there are really only three possible scenarios here: the Democrats win, the Republicans win, or the parties split. Given that a tie would hand a win to Senate Democrats (with Vice President Joe Biden casting the deciding vote) and that if the Democrats retain control things will stay the same, the president really only really has to prepare for one outcome.

That’s not so bad!

But wait.

When White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was asked whether the president has considered how he’d operate with the Republicans in control of the Senate, his response, while probably not surprising, was anything but exciting.

“Not really,” he replied. “It’s our expectation that Democrats will continue to be in the majority in the next session of Congress.”

Politicians will play politics, sure, but what the hell kind of a response is that? Especially when the president gets his news from the same places as we mere mortals, something he’s said time and time again. If that’s the case, he has to have seen the polls. And if he’s seen the polls, he has to have made some contingency plans.

That is, unless he’s completely inept, which – apologies to Democrats everywhere – appears increasingly possible.

Let’s be better than the President and assume the polls are right

That way, we can plan ahead.

What would a Republican-controlled Senate look like? Would they immediately vote on all 54 bills that their colleagues in the House crafted and passed, all of which either augment or repeal the bill altogether?

Would they work even harder to make sure that President Obama and his policies fail?

It’s actually not too hard to imagine a Republican-controlled Senate. With Congress’s approval rating hovering around 15 percent, one can’t help but imagine how low that number might drop with a GOP-led lawmaking body.

After all, it seems like all the two parties do is bicker at the other these days. Would that bickering culminate in a merry-go-round where Republican lawmakers pass bills to the president’s desk that ultimately get vetoed?

How low can an approval rating possibly get? We may be about to find out.

If only we could get rid of them all

Despite the fact that more than 20 percent of Americans say that the best way to fix Congress is to replace all of its members, when the elections rolled around two years ago, 91 percent of the Washington elite held on to their positions.

When Americans voted Obama to the nation’s highest office six years ago, they were promised “hope and change.” Unfortunately, most of the change that’s taken place hasn’t really been for the better. As for the hope? Well, the hope is still there that one day we’ll elect a leader who will actually look out for the interests of the American people.

The Republicans may very well take over the Senate in a few weeks. But it doesn’t seem like the American people will be any better off, what with a president that refuses to accept the possibility of a Republican Congress and a Republican Congress that exists solely to make the president look bad.

And it’s a real shame: We’re taught from the youngest age that we need to behave with dignity, showing our peers respect in all interactions. As demonstrated by countless politicians – including Senate Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) – that frequently fails to happen.

When our politicians collectively have reduced themselves to squabbling over the issues like a bunch of children, it really doesn’t matter which party is at the helm. With crippling debt, unfunded mandates abounding, and a group of citizens that is more politically divided than ever, we might even be better off paying no attention to these folks.

At the very least, it’s time for them to earn our respect. Let’s hope that whoever controls the Senate this November has one goal: to do better for the American people.