Predictions of doom and gloom for Democrats in the midterm elections came true on Election Day 2014, as conservatives swept into power in the U.S. Senate and beefed up their majority in the U.S. House.
President Barack Obama, already facing a do-nothing Congress that fought him tooth-and-nail on all issues and even shut down the government, will now be saddled with a hostile Senate in addition to the combative House. Few pundits believe that Obama will have any chance to advance his agenda for his final two years in office. And for the suddenly recharged Republicans, the 2016 presidential race begins in earnest tomorrow.
LGBT Americans, a majority of whom identify as Democrats, are shuddering over the prospects of a freezing of progress on gay rights at the national legislative stage. Prospects for passage of ENDA, to prevent discrimination against gays, fade to black. Even worse, the Senate must confirm any judicial nominations made by Obama, so liberal or progressive judges are not likely to be approved. God forbid there is a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, where a 5-4 majority already leans to the right.
An angry and afraid electorate, frustrated by world events such as ISIS and Ebola and concerned by the lack of governance in Washington, punished a number of incumbents. In the days to come, as exit polling becomes clear, it will be very interesting to see whether Democrats were punished for supporting marriage equality at a time when federal judges and appellate courts are ruling that gay-marriage bans are unconstitutional. In recent weeks, 34 of 50 U.S. states have seen gay marriage become legal.
The bad news for Democrats became immediate as the polls on the East Coast closed. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the most hated men in America, easily won re-election in Kentucky. And now, with the Senate control flipping to the Republicans, McConnell presumably will become Majority Leader after Harry Reid of Nevada is relieved of his post in January. McConnell has done squat to govern in the past six years under Obama's presidency, but he has already indicated that his new post will be aggressive in pushing Republican ideas to a vote.
A whole slew of anti-gay candidates got elected to office, adding to the doom and gloom for LGBT Americans. One was Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House Speaker who has been leading the fight against gay marriage.
Republicans even won the governor's seats in traditionally Democratic states, including in Massachusetts and Maryland. Controversial and unpopular Republican governors were re-elected in Wisconsin (Scott Walker), Florida (Rick Scott), Michigan (Rick Snyder) and Kansas (Sam Brownback).
In Colorado, Republicans won as voters kicked out Sen. Mark Udall.
As soon as the polls closed in California, popular Democrat Jerry Brown won his fourth term as governor. His Democratic sidekicks were all expected to be re-elected in the safely blue state.