When it comes to midterms, this November won’t be the same Washington-shaking election like 1994, according to a Georgia State University political scientist. In fact, the 2014 midterm election won't probably produce any dramatic, major changes in American politics.
Associate Professor Daniel P. Franklin, author of the new book, Pitiful Giants: Presidents in their Final Terms, is available to discuss this year’s midterm elections and what changes – or lack thereof – might happen.
His areas of specialization are American Chief Executives, budgeting and the legislative process. Franklin is currently Director of the Georgia Legislative Internship Program and is a former Distinguished Honors Professor. He is the author of four books, numerous articles and reviews. His latest book is on the politics of presidential transitions from the perspective of leaving administrations.
“The last truly consequential midterm election was in 1994. 2014 is not 1994. It is important to mention that in 1994 the Republicans took over the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Under the leadership of Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Republicans were able to pass much of their Contract with America, forcing President Bill Clinton to assert in 1995 that he was as President 'still relevant.' Postscript: Bill Clinton went on to win reelection in 1996 in a walk and most of the Contract with America was passed to little or no effect.
As one of my professors was fond of saying, 'the Framers set out to design a government that didn’t work very well, and they were enormously successful.' The separation of powers, including staggered elections, and checks and balances, including the President’s veto serve to slow the pace of policymaking under most conditions. Consequently, policy in the United States tends to move incrementally, just a little bit at a time, which all in all, given the success of the United States in comparison other countries has served us in good stead.
Consequently, it is relatively easy to make a prediction on the outcome in the upcoming midterm elections. The bad news is that not much will happen. The good news is that not much will happen. Elections, especially midterm elections rarely produce dramatic change. In fact, the number of elections that have reset the course of American history can probably be counted on one hand and they are always elections with the presidential race at the top of the ticket."
For more information about Franklin, including a link to his curriculum vitae with a list of activities and publications, visit http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwpol/2753.html.