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Will Obama get the midterm blues?

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Will Obama get the midterm blues?


Midterm election blues are nothing new for incumbent US presidents.

Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all suffered electoral setbacks during their tenures in the White House.

The jubilation (for some Americans) that surrounded Obama’s 2008 victory has all but faded from memory.

With the unemployment rate hovering around nine percent and a fragile economic recovery, voters are worried about hanging on to their jobs.

They are so concerned that opinion polls suggest the Republicans will win a majority in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, which has 435 seats in total.

Midterm malaise for the Grand Old Party (GOP) in 2006 saw Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, California, become the lower house’s first-ever female speaker.

Disastrous results for the Democrats in this vote would see the 70-year-old mother of five replaced by the current Republican Minority Leader John Boehner.

Surveys indicate the GOP could add 39 seats to its current total of 255.

In the upper house, a handful of Democrats are facing tough re-election campaigns including Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Reid is neck-and-neck in the polls with Republican Tea Party challenger Sharron Angle.

Thirty-seven of the 100 Senate seats are up for grabs. The Democrats currently hold 57 of them.

The Republicans would have to add 10 seats to their current total of 41 to gain a majority.

Boehner has vowed that if the Republicans win big in the Senate, they will start unpicking some of Obama’s landmark reforms.

The former Illinois senator might then be tempted to use his presidential veto to strike down congressional bills that he objects to.

Both the House and Senate would have to get a two-thirds majority in favour of a particular bill in order to override the presidential veto.

While the referendum on whether Obama remains at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is not for another two years, major midterm losses could scupper his efforts to convert his lofty electoral promises into law.

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