Now that Republicans have achieved what Conservatives have waited six long drought-filled years for, will they capitalize on this golden opportunity, or will they squander it and make it business as usual in Washington?
The President himself alluded to the fact that this election was a referendum on his policies. The American people resoundingly concurred, with a number of polls showing dissatisfaction with the direction the country is going in. Thus, those unhappy voted with their feet. This begs the question: now what?
Several politicians stumping this cycle have stated a number of ideas as to what this new GOP majority might accomplish as their initial priority. Many have called for the repeal of Obamacare, and/or defunding or replacing it. Others have mentioned economic reforms. Some have mentioned educational reforms regarding school choice and reversing Common Core. There are some who would like to do away with the complexity of our tax code. Still others have discussed initiating investigations and/or charges related to a number of scandals plaguing this administration: Benghazi, the IRS targeting, Fast and Furious, to name a few.
One thing is certain: though some of the American people may have voted GOP in a fit of pique because they are fed up with the status quo, Republicans have an opportunity here to educate the populace as to how conservative policies and free market principles benefit us all.
Though the time frame is short, and there is still a Democrat in the highest office that must still be worked with, Republicans can make some inroads. Additionally, they can prevent additional policy failures by this administration. They can block ultra-liberal appointments during the confirmation process. They can defund unpopular bills and programs to mitigate fiscal damage for unpopular programs. The most important thing they can do, however, is gain the trust of the American people for 2016. They must be accountable; they must be honorable and not “career politicians;” they must not seem to be “out for revenge,” since we know most Americans hate attack campaign ads (effective though they may be); and they must be transparent, something this administration promised, yet did not deliver. Additionally, they cannot be involved in the same sorts of administrative “hanky panky” that this administration has been. We must set the stage for the next election cycle while mitigating the damage done by this administration.
These are tall orders in a short time frame. However, given the fact that the GOP was bolstered by unlikely voters (more on that next time), and that there is an infusion of diverse new lawmakers on the scene, this is the beginning of a new era for the Republican party. People will be watching from Day One, and they won’t tolerate missteps, as fair or unfair as that may be. The GOP has had to sit back for six years. Surely, in that time, they’ve developed some sort of game plan. If not, they’ve got two months to come up with a cohesive one now. America, and especially Conservatives who have been waiting for this opportunity, will be holding this new majority’s feet to the fire.