Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
As I sit down to write this article, my hands are still shaking from the happenings of the past week. I can’t say I’m sure which has me shaking more: the complete Republican destruction of the midterm elections or the sight of my favorite country music artist Eric Church sharing the stage with country legend George Strait during the CMA Awards. But for the sake of this article, we’ll assume it’s the midterm elections.
The thought of President Barack Obama hunkered down somewhere in the corner of the White House, surrounded by his distraught posse, was merely a dream for most Republicans just four years ago. Weeks ago, I had high hopes of being able to write this column. Last Tuesday, it became a reality.
Squandering my way through five hours of class on election night, my insight into election results was limited to “live texts” from various friends supplemented by various not-so-up-to-date online updates. My mind wandered from the economics and electrical engineering coursework at hand and toward the implications of the positive election results.
Cruising into 31 governorships, 52 (and counting) Senate seats and their largest House majority since 1929, Republicans will have more power than they’ve had in years come January. With power comes responsibility — the ability to harness the power and refrain from harming the party’s image.
The midterm results tell a broad story. Americans are ready for change — and certainly not President Obama’s “hope and change” type of change. Americans are fed up with unilateral executive actions, they’re fed up with soft stances in foreign policy, they’re fed up with healthcare reform and — most importantly — Americans are fed up with the direction of our economy.
I, along with probably every other right-winger in this country, am personally excited to see where the Republican Party can take the United States. Republicans have essentially a year and a half to let their colors fly before the 2016 presidential election stalls any productive political activity. They need to use this time wisely.
John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are the keys to getting the Republican wheel rolling — “X-factors,” as some may call them. Because my brain seems to want to relate everything to football, let’s call Boehner and McConnell the quarterbacks. The Congressmen and Senators around them are their supporting players: running backs, wide receivers, linemen or defensive players. Each politician is unique and has their own style, flair and personality, but they must all work together toward a common goal to achieve success.
Now, it’s no secret that Republicans’ worst enemy is their own two feet. Despite their success over the past week, the key to maintaining success is to stay grounded and take a blue-collar, roll-up-the-sleeves-and-work-hard approach to success in the nation’s capital. Now that campaigning is over, the hard work really begins.
Uniting on common goals, the next year and a half can be a period of boom for Republicans. Setting goals with common objectives, such as removing critical parts of the Affordable Care Act, reforming energy policy and implementing bipartisan immigration reform will result in Republican success. Whether President Obama approves Republican measures or not, the mere act of reaching a hand across the aisle and working on progressing America for the better can take Republicans a long way. I personally enjoy the way Politico summed up the Republicans’ opportunity in a recent article: Republicans can either band together or become an Animal House-type group of raucous and rowdy fools, creating cannon fodder for 2016 election ads.
Another positive from the recent “Republican Wave” is that the political spotlight will be shining on Republicans, allowing potential 2016 presidential candidates plenty of opportunities to display leadership and reconcile. Potential candidates will have ample time to either make or break their campaigns before their official campaigns even begin.
Republicans’ ability to groom future (past 2016) presidential candidates shouldn’t get lost in the light, either. Newly elected officials — including my favorite, Senator-elect Tom Cotton of Arkansas — will have opportunities to grow their names and agendas, albeit not at the expense of the American people.
There’s no doubt that the next 18 months will make or break the Republican Party. On the tail end of the Obama presidency, Republicans were able to overcome the Tea Party schism and debunk the myth of the “war on women” while scraping out victory after victory in battleground states across the country.
While Democrats regroup and do some soul-searching, it’s time for Republicans to move away from midterm success, roll up their sleeves and get to work. It’s no secret that when it comes to political progress, Congress has a lot of boot left to fill.