By Paul Bremmer
After two years of speculation, voters now know that Republicans will control the U.S. Senate beginning this January.
They gained a net of seven seats, at least, on election night, giving them 52 senators. They may end up with 53, 54 or even 55, pending the outcomes of tight races in Alaska, Louisiana and Virginia.
Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, who has been involved in politics since the 1940s, said this year’s elections brought back fond memories for her.
“It’s a terribly important election, and I’m thrilled with it because it’s almost as big as our Republican victory in 1946,” Schlafly said. “That’s the first one I was involved in, right out of college, and I ran the campaign of an unknown candidate [Claude Bakewell of Missouri], and he won! It was very thrilling.”
Now Schlafly said it’s time for the new Republican majority to get to work by stopping President Obama from packing the judicial system with his preferred judges.
“I think the most important job of the Republican Senate is to defeat or reject, or not even take up, any of Obama’s court nominees,” she said. “He’s already put too many liberals on the court, and we don’t want any more.”
Obama famously promised to implement immigration reform through executive action after the elections were over. But now, with a GOP majority in both houses of Congress, it would seem Republicans are in a position to put on the brakes, she said.
Schlafly hopes the GOP does just that.
“I hope [Obama] doesn’t try it now, and whatever he does, I hope the Republicans stop it, because this thing of open immigration has all kinds of bad effects,” she said.
Schlafly said Senate Republicans should not aim to be bipartisan, but instead fight hard for the principles they believe in. She said she is often disappointed with Republicans who don’t fight hard enough.
“I’ve been a volunteer in politics all my life, and I know that politics is sort of a contact sport, and you need to be willing to fight for what you stand for,” she said.
The longtime activist confessed that she doesn’t consider all Senate Republicans to be conservative fighters. However, that’s fine.
“In the last analysis, I told people, just hold your nose,” Schlafly said. “It may not be a perfect guy, but if he’s a Republican, he’ll vote with the Republican caucus and enable us to control the Senate, which means controlling the agenda and what bills are brought up and passed.”
Most analysts agree that the electoral map will be much less favorable to Republicans in 2016 than in 2014. The party will have to defend 24 Senate seats, including several in blue or purple states. In addition, the 2016 presidential race is likely to bring out many left-leaning citizens who don’t typically vote in midterms.
Schlafly, whose recently published book “Who Killed the American Family?” came out just days before she turned 90, said if Republicans want to keep the Senate, they will have to pass some popular measures. In spite of mainstream rhetoric to the contrary, she claims family oriented social policy would be popular with voters.
“I always say, ‘Well, if you’re interested in the fiscal issues, you do have to ask what the money is being spent on.’ And we find it’s largely spent on the social issues. In other words, it’s the broken families that have made our welfare system move to gigantic proportions, and that’s a social issue,” she said.
Obama has relied on broken families for electoral support in the past. He won 67 percent of the unmarried women’s vote in 2012, but only 46 percent of the married women’s vote.
“Obama knows that his most faithful constituency is unmarried women, and the reason is if unmarried women have babies, they don’t have a husband, they look to Big Brother government to support them,” Schlafly said. “Meanwhile, the married women know that the intact nuclear family is the best way to live.”
In the final analysis, Schlafly hopes this year’s big election night for the GOP is a harbinger of a Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election.
“We need to elect somebody who believes in the Constitution and doesn’t act like Obama, who thinks he can make legislation with a pen and a phone call. That’s not the way it is,” she said. “It’s an attitude toward the Constitution that I find really quite un-American.”