All indications thus far are that the Democratic party is going to keep Harry Reid as the Senate leader and Nancy Pelosi as the House leader. This is a terrific strategy if the Democrats want to stay in the minority.
One of the lessons from the midterms, and there were many, is that Democratic voters didn’t have a reason to be enthused. Their turnout was low. Republicans meanwhile were greatly enthused by the prospect of keeping the House, taking the Senate, and finally forcing some bills to make it to Pres. Obama’s desk. Hundreds of bills have been collecting dust on Sen. Reid’s desk, all while he moans that nothing’s getting done.
What has happened since 2012? Mitt Romney’s shown to be right on just about every one of his issues, leaving many Democrats to moan at the naiveté of the White House’s approach to Russia, Iraq, and so on. The second-term malaise has kicked in for Obama, seemingly unavoidable for presidents these days. George W. Bush faced it, as the electorate gave him one more chance and he squandered it. It was there for Bill Clinton who at least kept things entertaining by all his scandals.
If Nancy Pelosi keeps her leadership, she’s irrelevant. She’s gone from Speaker of the House to the smallest minority in Congress for Democrats since 1930. It’s highly unusual for a Speaker to stay in leadership once relegated back to Minority Leader. In fact, Pelosi and Steny Hoyer have been the top two for Democrats since 2003. Their time came and went.
As far as Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Reid became Minority Whip in 1999, and he moved up to Minority Leader after the voters of South Dakota ousted Tom Daschle in 2004. It’s not as unusual for Senate leadership to stay as they come in and out of majority. Harry Reid, however, has been a classic obstructionist, burying bill after bill and hoping the media helps blame those darn Republicans for everything. Now Mitch McConnell will be the Senate Majority Leader.
Election 2014 was about new GOP blood in the Senate. New blood in Colorado, new blood in Iowa, in Arkansas, in Alaska, North Carolina, Georgia, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia. Likely Louisiana. Democrats got new blood in Michigan. That’s it. Harry Reid is old blood, and it’s not normal for the Democrats to look like the older, out-of-touch party.