SSN Forum on the November 2014 Election

Moving beyond horse-race coverage, five SSN experts – Sheldon Goldman of the University of Massachusetts, Jacob S. Hacker of Yale University, Laurie L. Rice of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Daniel Franklin of Georgia State University, and Theda Skocpol of Harvard University – discuss possible impacts on policies, appointments, government effectiveness, and the next rounds of politics. To read all featured SSN Scholars' contributions on a single page, click here.

Justice at Stake

Sheldon Goldman, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“If the election of 2014 brings about Republican control of the Senate, we can expect obstruction and delay of Obama nominees to the lower federal courts. If a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court, … we can expect an effort to deprive Obama of the opportunity to fill it. It is perhaps no exaggeration to claim that nothing less than justice, at least from the perspective of liberals and civil libertarians, is at stake in the 2014 election.”

The Two Electorates

Jacob S. Hacker, Yale University

“A growing divide between the preferences of midterm and presidential-year voters is likely to lead to greater conflict between the president and Congress and stronger swings of the governing agenda after midterms. It’s hard enough to tackle pressing national problems given our government's many checks and balances and frequent elections. Add to this the clash between two fundamentally different electorates, and you have a system in which serious policymaking only happens – if it happens at all – in the first two years of a president’s term.”

Midterm Malaise

Laurie L. Rice, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

“If large numbers of Americans are unhappy with Congress yet do not bother to vote, then they will share blame with those who do turn out for whatever happens next in Washington DC and state capitols – or does not happen.” 

Stop Hyperventilating. 2014 is Not 1994.

Daniel Paul Franklin, Georgia State University

"The truth is that American elections rarely produce dramatic change – and midterm elections almost never do. The number of elections that have sharply turned the course of American history can probably be counted on one hand and they were all elections with the presidential race at the top of the ticket."

What to Look for After November 4

Theda Skocpol, Harvard University

“If the Republicans win the Senate on November 4, a tidal wave of press coverage will talk about how the ‘adults are back in charge’ and the ‘Tea Party wing was vanquished in 2014.’ Poppycock. Many GOP candidates who may win on November 4 are extraordinarily extreme on many issues, far from where most Americans stand…. The bigger the GOP victories on November 4, the wilder the ride will be in U.S. politics over the next two years.”