President Barack Obama faced a political rebuke and a curb on his policy ambitions on Wednesday after Republicans seized control of the US Senate and captured their biggest majority in the House of Representatives in more than 60 years.
Tuesday’s midterm elections gave Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since elections in 2006 and since Obama entered the White House nearly six years ago.
The so-called Republican takeover will force Obama to scale back his ambitions to either executive actions that don’t need legislative approval, or items that might gain bipartisan support, such as trade agreements and tax reform.
When the new Congress convenes in January, Republicans will be armed with the biggest majority in the house since Democrat Harry Truman’s first term in the late 1940s.
But that may be a curse as well a blessing because it leaves Republican legislators with some difficult choices that may be used against them as the race for the White House gets underway.
It will also test Obama’s ability to compromise with newly empowered political opponents.
The wave of Republican victories across the United States has opened the door for right-wing rivals of Obama to campaign against Washington and its unpopular lawmakers. That includes the Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Meanwhile, the name of Hillary Clinton chimes louder for the 2016 race to the White House under the Democratic banner.
The former secretary of state and first lady, who lost a bitter nominating battle to Obama in 2008 is the consensus frontrunner, holding a large lead in polls over all potential Democratic challengers.
To discuss what lies ahead for US politics, euronews’ Joanna Gill spoke to Washington correspondent Stefan Grobe. She began by asking him what the feeling was across the United States after the election results.
Well people here are absolutely stunned by the results of this election. They were in a way expected but the size of the Republican wave is quite surprising. They won in places where normally they would never see the light of day. They won in traditionally democratic states, they won governorships in Massachusetts. In Maryland for example they swept away leaving the Democrats bitterly disappointed and right now almost leaderless.
What impact will this have on the 2016 presidential race, notably for Obama’s heir apparent Hilary Clinton?
I think Hilary Clinton is the big winner of last night’s election. She is going to be the only person, the only politician that is seen as capable of pulling this thing, of winning the presidential election. There will be enormous pressure on her to come out and declare herself a candidate. No other Democrat will throw his or her hat into the ring. She will be the only candidate. She will be seen as a Margaret Thatcher type of politician who is able to govern this basically ungovernable country. And looking at the Republican side we have a wide open field of potential candidates who will massacre each other in the primaries. And who will make it ? Absolutely no idea right now, it could be anybody and this gives Hilary Clinton a huge edge, a huge advantage financially and politically.