Congress Split Down the Middle - the House and Senate Are More Closely Divided between the Republicans and Democrats Than in at Least a Century

By Lambro, Donald | The World and I, February 2001 | Go to article overview

Congress Split Down the Middle - the House and Senate Are More Closely Divided between the Republicans and Democrats Than in at Least a Century


Lambro, Donald, The World and I


Like the bitterly contested presidential election results in Florida that for a time plunged America into division, doubt, and despair, the new 107th Congress is split right down the middle.

Reflecting a politically conflicted electorate that is torn between two sharply competing philosophies of government--the big government, big- spending, liberal agenda of the Democrats versus the more conservative, tax-cutting, limited-government agenda offered by the Republicans--the House and Senate are now more divided than they have been in at least a century.

The unexpected shocker of the 2000 congressional elections is which house experienced the biggest political changeover. With the Democrats seven seats away from winning control of the House of Representatives, Republicans managed to hold them largely at bay, suffering only a one- seat loss. Though the Republican majority is slightly weaker, the political situation in the House has not changed much. The GOP has a good chance of expanding its majority two years from now.

Senate Republicans, however, who were expected to pick up one or two open Democratic seats, or cede several at most, ended up losing their four-seat advantage to the Democrats. In a word, disaster for the GOP in the upper chamber--giving Democrats a good chance of taking control in 2002.

The result in the House is that Republicans will have 221 seats and Democrats will have 212. There will be two independents--not much different than in the previous Congress. This tight but still workable majority should be helped by a number of conservative Democrats who often side with the Republicans on key votes.

The Senate divided

The Senate, though, appears headed for a rare 50--50 split, the first tie since 1881. The incoming administration's vice president, who presides over the Senate, will possess the critical tiebreaking vote, allowing him to decide which party will control the chamber, its committee chairmanships, and all future tie votes.

The outcome in the Senate was a major victory for the Democrats, who benefited from an unlikely series of unexpected, even bizzare events. But it was also a series of missed opportunities for Republicans, who, under different circumstances, could have picked up a few seats.

In a stunning rout, the GOP lost five Senate incumbents to the Democrats. Michigan Sen. Spencer Abraham was beaten by Rep. Debbie Stabenow; the tax-writing Finance Committee chairman, Bill Roth, lost to Delware Gov. Tom Carper; Slade Gorton of Washington was upset in a squeaker by former Rep. Maria Cantwell; and Rod Grams of Minnesota was beaten by Mark Dayton.

In what must surely be the strangest Senate election contest in U.S. history, John Ashcroft of Missouri was defeated by Gov. Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash a few weeks before the election was held. In a bold political maneuver of dubious constitutionality, Carnahan's widow agreed to accept an appointment to fill the vacancy of her dead husband's seat if he won. Thus, she in effect beat Ashcroft as the de facto candidate on a wave of public sympathy.

In contrast, the Democrats lost only one incumbent: Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia, who was easily defeated by former Gov. George Allen, one of the GOP's up-and-coming younger generation of leaders. Allen charged that Robb was "out of step" with Virginia's conservative values and voted as if "he was the senator from Vermont instead of the senator from Virginia."

Republicans had only one open Senate seat to defend in Florida due to Connie Mack's retirement. But Rep. Bill McCollum, a somewhat lackluster candidate at best, was defeated by state insurance commissioner Bill Nelson, who was clearly helped by the heavier than usual Democratic turnout for Al Gore in the presidential race.

This isn't to say that the Republicans lacked opportunities to make gains. They had many turnover chances but were unable to convert any of them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Congress Split Down the Middle - the House and Senate Are More Closely Divided between the Republicans and Democrats Than in at Least a Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.