Power balance between Congress and president affects nation

Tracy Robinson

While many people are only concerned with who the president will be, many do not think about the combination of a new president and new Congress members. 

That combination will decide which way our country will be headed, or if it will change at all.

For years, citizens have been able to notice the tension and the disagreement that surrounds the two major political parties. 

Some are irritated by how the Democrats and the Republicans can never seem to agree on anything.

“I don’t understand why they can’t just work together to make important decisions for our nation,” said Luis Garcia, freshman in mechanical engineering.

In the next four years, there are a few different possibilities the United States could be facing.

“Basically, the gridlock in Congress could continue no matter who was voted into office for the 2012 presidential term,” said David Peterson, professor of political science and interim director of Iowa State’s Harkin Institute of Public Policy.

A win by President Barack Obama will ensure his health care law will survive, even if Republicans manage to keep their hold on the House. 

However, many things like his budget and stimulus plan will be harder to pass.

Mack Shelley, university professor of statistics and political science, did not think it seemed likely that the Republicans would become the majority during this election.

“Statistically, the odds didn’t seem to be in their favor,” Shelley said.

With a Democratic majority, Obama would have been able to pass his laws and policies more easily than with a Republican majority.

Peterson predicted Obama will appoint one or more justices to the Supreme Court. This is because four of the current justices are older than 70 years old. By choosing new justices, the president could change the balance on issues such as abortion, affirmative action, campaign finance and religion in public life.

Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, said it all came down to the turnout for voting.

“Turnout was the key, with 60 percent reporting they were very enthusiastic to vote,” Bystrom said.

Obama is projected to win the presidential election with the Democratic Party receiving the majority of seats in the Senate but not the House, according to CNN.com at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night.