The red wave did not please the
vast majority of Claremont students. However, despite the negative rhetoric
coming from some of the left-leaning mainstream media, a light at the end of
the tunnel will emerge as the incoming Congress comes into fruition.
For the last four years, when
Congress was divided between a red House of Representatives and a blue Senate,
the United States government did not accomplish much, and worries about a variety of issues spread among the American people. In particular, a retreating foreign policy and concerns
about the economy drove the American public toward turning Congress over to the
For individuals like myself—I became a Republican over the summer—foreign policy was a deciding factor. Since
Obama’s second term, the United States has butchered international relations.
In the Middle East in particular, nothing concerns the American public more
than the rise of ISIS and the possibility of a nuclear Iran. The former came
about as a result of the creation of two vacuums: Syria under civil war and
Iraq under unpopular leadership. As a result, a well-funded, well-organized
extremist entity managed to attract the attention of tens of thousands because
of their stated goal: creating a caliphate in place of the corrupt system.
These issues could have been
avoided if the following had occurred: 1) The United States acted on the ‘red
line’ and attacked the Syrian government forces following their use of chemical
weapons, and 2) the United States maintained a strong militaristic and
financial presence in Iraq. Now that the more hawkish, interventionist
Republican Party controls the Senate, I believe that the United States will
start taking a more active role in combating the spread of ISIS and containing its influence. This could result
in a stronger, less lenient deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
The United States has always possessed
great strength when it utilizes its foreign power to the best of its ability.
This latest instance of retreating from the world under the premise of “nation-building at home” has led to uncertainty in the Middle East, an unchecked Putin
in Eastern Europe, and China trying to strong-arm control of key
islands and sea boundaries to put the United States in check.
If there is anything that a
Republican Senate can accomplish, it will ensure that a unified United
States legislature will follow the Constitution and dictate foreign policy that
will work toward securing American interests as well as the interests of
America’s allies around the world. But what the 114th Congress will
also do is carefully look at the state of the economy and figure out how to
avoid potential problems.
Part of the reason why the
Affordable Care Act concerns Republicans is that the Congressional
Budget Office (CBO) forecasts it will require direct spending of approximately $120 billion by
2017. Though Obamacare has done wonders for millions of Americans, it cannot be
ignored that the United States may not be able to incur those costs in the long
run without sacrificing other, much-needed government spending. In addition, it would
result in the need for increasing taxes for all Americans, which could tamper
with our economy and interrupt the upward trend following the Great Recession.
The national debt also concerns the
average American, as it affects everyone. The CBO released its Long-Term Budget
Projection in July, which says that publicly held federal debt is now equal to 74 percent of gross domestic product. Before Obama came into office, despite the wide deficit, that figure was only 39 percent. The CBO projects that if the current policies hold, publicly held debt will increase to 78 percent of GDP in the next 10 years. The United States owes its citizens trillions of dollars in
money for its inefficient spending, and it will not get any better unless the government
fixes the budget and cuts the spending.
Republicans understand this, and I
believe that they will reevaluate what the government should spend its money on.
The Republican Senate will now
align with the House of Representatives to help end the legislative gridlock.
Now that the legislature is controlled entirely by the same party, the Obama
administration has no choice but to play ball with the Republican Senate. Due
to Obama’s decreasing popularity and the American public’s decision to turn
Congress red, any attempt to veto a bill passed by both houses will be seen
as Obama hijacking American progress.
Since it is Congress’s constitutional
duty to dictate foreign policy and to determine federal budgets, he should not
rely on executive orders to circumvent what the legislature desires for the
good of the American public. They don’t want to see America retreating from its
place as an international powerhouse or suffering from an inefficient economy.
In the long-run, this is good for our country.
Elliott Hamilton PZ ’15 is an economics major and a politics minor. He is a Founding Father of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and a member of the Claremont College Republicans.