Obama’s miserable midterm and his looming legacy

By Robbie McDonald

With the referendum now over a week ago, a long time in American politics, we now look ahead to the rest of Obama’s presidency with anticipation. Obama finds himself in a significantly weakened position, with a Republican majority in the Senate, a position that will continually weaken his ability to pass legislation. However, since the disastrous midterms Obama seemingly has a renewed sense of confidence.

The results of the midterm themselves were undoubtedly painful for Obama. A Republican-controlled Senate and Congress leaves Obama with few options in Washington DC now. With a final two years of possible subsequent Government shutdowns, the most interesting aspect will be how these shutdowns are presented to the US: as failings of Obama personally or as Republicans’ reluctance to cooperate.

Obama has come out strongly in favour of ‘net neutrality’, and with the spirit he has displayed for this cause, we see glimpses of the ‘yes we can’ Obama of 2008. Undoubtedly Obama now has to think increasingly of the legacy he wishes to leave behind. One part of this legacy is an increased involvement in reducing climate change. Obama’s recent speeches on immigration have shown Obama at peak Obama: passionate, in control, and defiant in the fact of the Republican-led Congress.

As much as the rightwing press would like to see Obama wilt through his last term, I believe it increasingly possible that this midterm drumming will motivate Obama’s will to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy. As much of an uphill struggle this will be against a Republican-led Congress, promising signs have been shown. Obama’s fierce statements regarding cutting carbon emissions are hardly electorate winning issues in America, but if he succeeds, would form a large and lasting part of his legacy.

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