Around the Halls: Views on the 2010 Midterm Elections

November 3, 2010

Editor’s Note: The 2010 midterm elections have ended with the Republican Party retaking the House of Representatives, gaining significantly in governorships, and narrowing the gap with Democrats in the U.S. Senate. Experts from around the halls of Brookings—including Henry Aaron, Sarah Binder, Doug Elliott, William Galston, Thomas Mann and Katherine Sierra—look at the challenges now facing the Obama administration and an ascendant Republican majority as they adjust to new political realities and tackle ongoing national and global issues.

(Follow the links to read each item in full)

Henry Aaron
“The serious risk now is that opponents of the health reform bill, lacking the votes to repeal it, will have enough to cripple implementation, and that supporters will not have the votes or the determination to see that the reform bill is properly implemented.” 
    What the Midterm Elections Results Mean for the Future of Health Care Reform »

Sarah Binder
“Some believe that divided government and a weak economy will force the president to the middle, encouraging legislative compromise on important matters of budgets, taxes, and trade. Call this the ‘cooler heads will prevail’ model. My perspective—drawing from my research on legislative stalemate—points instead to two years of legislative deadlock.” 
    What Can We Expect From Split Party Control on Capitol Hill? Legislative Gridlock »

Doug Elliott
“Republicans will clearly try some more limited actions to alter the course of financial reform. They may look to repeal a few pieces of Dodd-Frank that they dislike the most and are comfortable from a political viewpoint in attacking.” 
    Republican Victories Will Not Imperil Financial Reform »

William Galston
“Like Bill Clinton after his November 1994 mid-term defeat, Mr. Obama must decide what balance to strike between conciliation and confrontation. He will have to give some ground he would rather not; if he resists everything the new Congress enacts, he risks a negative public reaction.” 
    Midterm Power Shift Leaves Obama with Dilemma »

Thomas Mann
“A very bad economy and a major change in the composition of the electorate from the presidential to midterm election fully account for the outcome. President Obama’s success in avoiding a challenge to his renomination and the pace and strength of the economic recovery will determine his reelection prospects in 2012.” 
    First Take on the Midterm Elections Results »

Katherine Sierra
“Now, with a Republican controlled House of Representatives, with many members who campaigned against climate action, near-term prospects for compromise on clean energy policy are poor.”
    After Elections, U.S. Leadership on Climate Crisis is Critical »