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Friday, December 16, 2011
The 1992 General Election; And how it affected the Republican Party
When the Republican Party both lost the White House and the Democratic Party kept sizable majorities in Congress in 1992. Giving them a United Federal Government, it gave the Republican Party an opportunity to make a transition. From being a Political Party thats Power Base in Washington was centered around them controlling the White House. At least since 1987 when Senate Democrats took control of the Senate and really its where all of their power was centered when they had any. The democrats held Congress from 1955-81 before Senate Republicans took over the Senate. Because in that period there was always a Democratic Congress, which meant the GOP had to have the White House to have any power. And they went twelve years as being both an Opposition and Minority Party at the same time. From 1961-69 with Kennedy-Johnson and a Democratic Congress. And again from 1977-81 as an Opposition Minority Party under President Carter and a Democratic Congress. So when Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 and took the Senate with them that brought Republicans back in power with a lot of power. With the Presidency and the Senate controlling the agenda in the Senate including on Executive Appointments. With a Democratic House having to confront a Republican Senate and White House. And the Republican Party held this power from 1981-87 before they lost the Senate. So from 1987-93 the Republican Party had to have the White House to have any power as far as controlling the agenda. So 1992 changed the Power Structure of the Federal Government sending the GOP back into the Opposition Minority and a chance for them to recover.
What the Republican Party did from late 1992 to 1995 was figure out how they were going to confront. The Clinton Administration and Democratic Congress, where House Democrats had a large majority. And where they could work with President Clinton and the Democratic Congress. And they had some success especially politically, President Clinton got a lot passed through the 103rd Congress. People tend to forget that or not be aware of that. Like the 1993 Deficit Reduction Act, Foreign Trade with NAFTA and GAT, Family Medical Leave, the 1994 Crime bill. But Democrats also paid a heavy price for some of this legislation like with the DRA that had a large Tax Increase on High Earners, the Crime bill that had Gun Control. And they also failed to get some Legislation passed that Senate Republicans led by Minority Leader Bob Dole were able to block. Like Healthcare Reform that President Clinton wasn't able to bring the country with him on. And some of the Legislation they did pass had Bi Partisan support like with Family Medical Leave and Foreign Trade. When your an Opposition Minority Party, you have to be united when you try to block Legislation. And of course you also need enough seats to obstruct especially in the Senate. Which is what Senate Republicans had with 44 seats.
Newt Gingrich once said that had President Bush gotten reelected in 1992, that Congressional Republicans especially in the House. Wouldn't of won control of Congress in 1994. And Newt is probably right because generally the Ruling Party loses seats in Congress in the Mid Term Election which is what 1994 was. And House Republicans had something 178 seats and Senate Republicans had 44 seats. So unless President Bush was very popular in 1993-93, Congressional Republicans probably would've dropped seats like they did in 1990. So in 1993-94 Congressional Republicans worked with Democrats where they could, obstructed in other areas. And saw Congressional Democrats pass some unpopular Legislation and then made their move. And they played their hand brilliantly winning control of Congress in 1994.