by Kirsty Tobin
Democrats have lost control of Congress following yesterday’s midterm elections in the United States.
With the G.O.P. claiming 239 seats, and the Democrats winning only 183, results are reflecting the approval ratings Obama has experienced in recent months. As Gallup places presidential approval ratings at a lowly 44%, the country begins to turn against the Democratic party.
John Boehner, expected to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, highlighted this change of public opinion in his victory speech last night: “The American people have sent an unmistakable message to Obama tonight and that message is change course.”
Boehner spoke at length about the voice of the American people and the shift in policy they are demanding from their representatives: “Across the country right now, we’re witnessing a repudiation of Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of politicians who refuse to listen to the American people.”
Harking back to the Obama slogan of ‘Change’, the Republican Party are now promising a new Washington.
Boehner is pledging a new approach which, he claims, has as yet been untried by either party: “cutting spending instead of increasing it, reducing the size of government instead of increasing it, and reforming the way congress works and giving the government back to the American people”.
Despite this bleak electoral map for the Democrats, there are occasional bright spots. Obama has retained majority in the Senate, albeit with a slightly narrower margin of control. The Democrats lost six seats to Republican challengers, but fought off attacks from Tea-Party favourites Sharron Angle (Nevada) and Christine O’Donnell (Delaware).
Obama has not yet offered any reaction to the results, but a press conference has been scheduled for later today. He is expected to reach out to Republicans, many of whom campaigned on platforms opposing his agenda and, particularly, his Healthcare Reform package.