Statistician Nate Silver and Democrat strategist Joe Trippi both say it is likely the Republican party will hold control of the House of Representatives and will win control of the Senate in Tuesday's mid-term elections, unless run-off elections upset that prediction.
If the Democrats hold onto the Senate, the Republicans will declare Obama a lame duck, continue their obstructionism and concentrate on the 2016 election, with no significant legislation passing Congress. Gridlock will prevail. In a split Congress, nothing will get done.
But, what kind of legislation would get passed, in a divided government, with Democrats controlling the White House and Republicans controlling the Congress?
Well, if Congress follows Sen. Ted Cruz, it will move even further Right and be driven by even more confrontation and continued gridlock. According to Cruz, the Republican agenda will be to take strong, unwavering stands on repealing Obamacare, building the Keystone pipeline, supporting hydraulic fracturing, increasing border security, opposing immigration amnesty, weakening judicial activism, adopting flat taxes, abolishing the Export-Import Bank and auditing the Federal Reserve. Further he wants wide-spread congressional investigations on privacy rights, religious liberty, environmental protection, corporate regulation and … Benghazi.
Any such far-Right bills will undoubtedly be met with presidential vetoes and coordinated action by Democrats in Congress to prevent over-turning said vetoes. In a Congress led by the Right Wing, nothing will get done.
But, what if more "moderate" Republicans seized the opportunity to actually craft and pass legislation on taxes, immigration, wages and the like. What if they wanted to be seen as able to govern effectively? What if they reached out to President Obama and the congressional Democrats with "bi-partisan" bills? It would be in the interest of both political parties to get something done in the last two years of the Obama presidency, to be seen as working together.
So, would Obama be inclined to find compromises with the ruling party? If so, we're likely to see more "conservative" positions from the president. He will reach across the aisle and work with the Republican Congress to draft legislation he can sign into law. The spin will be that both sides found common ground for the good of the nation, avoiding the extremes of either party.
Otherwise, if the Republicans hold entrenched, extreme positions while they control Congress, they will be seen as incapable of formulating and advancing their own programs when they had the chance. Then we would go into the 2016 elections with both parties having failed to lead.
Will such a divided government actually work and give us reasonable, bi-partisan solutions to the nation's problems? Just maybe there will be a movement by both parties to move toward the center in sincere, albeit cynical, need to show themselves to be capable legislators and governors. In a divided government, something might get done.
So, oddly, Obama in the White House and Republicans controlling the Congress might be the most favorable outcome of the 2014 midterm elections.