In the last national election in 2006, the Democrats captured control of both houses of Congress. Their margin of victory, however, was insufficient to override a presidential veto that requires a two-thirds vote. Which means that the Republican Party really was still in control of legislation.
Despite this, the present Congress did enact a raise in the federal minimum wage. But the GOP extracted a price for its support by attaching a rider to the bill that would provide a tax reduction for small business.
All of which poses the question of whether the Democrats will carry both the presidential and legislative elections in 2008.That may come to pass but the legislative victory of the Democrats in 2006 is not an indicator of a presidential and legislative victory in 2008. Here’s why:
In a mid-term election where the president is not up for election, the party in the White House is likely to lose seats in the legislature. The reason is super-simple although irrational. Millions of voters who favor the party in the White House figure that so long as their president is in power they have no reason to worry. So they don’t bother to vote.
A striking example of how this works occurred in the Roosevelt years in the White House. He was elected in 1932. In 1934 the Democratic delegation, in an exception to the rule, increased its strength in Congress. Voters were still voting against the Republicans and the Great Depression. But by 1938, when things began to settle down and America was returning to normalcy, the party of FDR lost seats in Congress.
All of which means that the Democratic Party can’t assume that the Democratic gain in Congressional seats in 2006 is a guarantee of victory in both Congress and the presidency in 2008. Remember on Election Day every vote counts!