The results are in. The champagne is still flowing. All is right with the world; Republicans have finally reclaimed Congress after eight long years of higher taxes, massive unemployment, an increase of burdensome regulations, and, most importantly, one assault after another on American constitutional liberties.
But if conservatives take a moment to put aside their party poppers, they???ll realize that many of the same problems that have plagued the GOP in the past remain today: moderates John McCain and Mitch McConnell are still two of the most powerful Republican voices in the Senate; Congress still doesn???t have the votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act; and Barack Obama continues to hold the power of the veto for the remainder of his presidency.
It???s no secret that the future of the country rests on the 2016 presidential election. The winner will likely have the opportunity to replace at least two Supreme Court justices???including the current swing vote, 78-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy???and many of the long-lasting socialistic programs of the Obama administration, which will still be in the process of being rolled out and therefore still capable of being repealed.
While it may feel like a Republican sweep in 2016 is a very real possibility, there are many good reasons to think that the current support for the GOP will collapse over the next two years. For starters, President Obama now has absolutely nothing to gain from working with Republicans and nothing to lose now that he???s in his final years. This opens the door for the president to focus all of his energy on destroying the Republicans???rather than destroying the country like he???s used to doing.
Make no mistake about it; the plan to win the PR battle for 2016 is already in place and much of the groundwork has been successfully laid. How exactly will the next two years play out? Looking into my crystal ball, I can see that the Republicans??? inability to think two moves ahead of the Democrats and win the messaging war will ultimately lead to massive losses in 2016. Here???s how it???s going to happen:
1. Living up to his threats, Obama will enact a series of left-wing reforms using illegal executive orders. The first and most divisive order will be to legalize some or all illegal immigrants without approval from Congress.
2. Republicans will stand against Obama???s actions, using the courts to try and overturn the orders and using Congress??? ???power of the purse??? to defund any efforts they believe to be in violation of the Constitution.
3. Seizing on the opportunity, the rest of the Democrat Party and the media will attack Republicans, accusing them of being racists, bigots, and xenophobic. Because the GOP has proven over and over again that it is incapable of winning these messaging battles, many independents and swing voters will view the Republicans as an unsympathetic group of rich white guys who don???t care about down-on-their-luck immigrants just trying to create better lives for themselves and their families.
4. Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in key states will position themselves as ???moderates??? as the debate over immigration and other issues wage on. On the one hand, Clinton will continue to distance herself from Obama by insisting that his heavy-handedness isn???t how to get things done, and on the other, she will upbraid Republicans for being insensitive and hardhearted.
5. At every opportunity, Democrats will continue to propagate the myth that there is a ???war on women??????insisting Republicans want to ban birth control and deny women equal opportunity.
6. The ???war on women??? narrative will be used at every opportunity to protect Hillary Clinton, who would of course become the first female president in American history, and any attempts to criticize her will be, according to Democrats and media pundits, purely due to her gender rather than her policies.
7. In fear of these various narratives, many Republicans will rally around perceived moderates like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, likely nominating, for the fourth time in a row, a candidate who does not truly represent liberty-focused conservatism.
I???m sure you can imagine how the rest of the story plays out.
Unless liberty-focused Americans rally around a conservative presidential candidate early, you can start the countdown to what will surely be a disastrous 2016 election cycle.
Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is an author, blogger, and an editor of publications at The Heartland Institute, a leading free-market think tank based out of Chicago, IL. You can follow him @TheNewRevere.