The good news is the 2016 elections are only a few weeks away—Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. Soon the endless political ads, polls and misleading, bias media stories will go away at least until the next election cycle begins early next year.
In the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a majority of Americans view the debate as who can be the least-worst, as both are the two most unpopular major party nominees in modern political history.
Polling indicates Clinton and Trump both have negative perceptions greater than 50%. And both candidates' favorability ratings hover between the high 20% and low 30%, depending on the poll.
Although third-party presidential candidates, including former Gov. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green), may garner more votes than in a typical election cycle, it will not be enough to secure the 270 Electoral College votes required to be elected the President.
Despite the high negatives for both frontline candidates, conventional wisdom says one of them—either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump—will be the 45th President of the U.S.
From the agricultural industry’s perspective, it will probably be a mixed policy bag depending on the issues such as taxes, trade, farm bill programs and federal regulations of crop input supplies (seed, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.).
Looking at Congress
The bad news for congressional Republicans is they are defending substantially more Senate and House seats as a result of major gains during the previous election cycles.
In the House, Republicans currently hold a 247 to 188 seat majority. Democrats will need a net gain of 30 seats to retake the House, which is an unlikely scenario under current projections of most political experts. Realistically there are 10 to 20 seats that are likely to switch parties.
In the Senate, there are a total of 34 seats up for re-election. Senate Republicans must defend 24 seats while Senate Democrats must defend 10 seats.
Democrats could secure greater gains on election night, but it would be a very tall and unexpected feat to win the races necessary to regain control of the lower chamber. The toss-up House races, according to the Cook Political Report, are detailed on the adjacent page.
Pathway to Senate Majority
Democrats are looking to traditionally more Republican, conservative states for a path to win back the majority in the Senate. The current breakdown is 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats and 2 Independents. The toss-up Republican seats include Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and a replacement for the retiring Dan Coats (Ind.).
The decision by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to run for re-election significantly increased chances to hold onto that seat. He is now favored to defeat Rep. Patrick Murphy, the Democrat nominee.
However, the late decision by former Sen. Evan Bayh to jump into the race in Indiana could alter what would have been a likely win by Rep. Todd Young, the Republican Senate nominee. A Republican loss in Indiana could ultimately flip control of the Senate
One of the few open Democrat Senate seats is in Nevada. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is retiring. Rep. Joe Heck, the Republican Senate nominee, is in a close race with Democratic former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.
The ugly news is no matter which party wins the White House and control of Congress, America’s agricultural industry and other industries will continue to face higher costs as a result of ever-expanding federal regulations, a federal deficit of more than $19 trillion, more than $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities from entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and increased global competition from countries such as China, Brazil and elsewhere.
We, the American people, need to stop allowing our elected officials to continue kicking the can down the road and pressure them to undertake serious, necessary tax and regulatory reform to reduce government debt while spurring economic growth.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the typical median family income in the U.S. is $54,000. If that family spent at the same rate as the federal government, it would spend $61,000 a year— adding $7,000 of debt on the credit card every year on top of the $300,000 in existing debt.
The CBO projects that by 2032 all federal tax revenues will go toward entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security along with interest payments on the national debt. This means there will be little to no discretionary funding available for national defense, the farm bill or other essential federal government programs.