You hear an unending torrent of complaints about Congress these days. Most of it is centered around inaction, obstinance and an unwillingness to go against a faction of radicals. This has exacerbated in the past two weeks thanks to the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling battle.
It’s the voters’ fault though. Despite the fact that Congress has a 19-percent approval rating, 90 percent of incumbents were reelected in 2012.
As of now, polls are constantly showing that the public primarily blames Congressional Republicans for the shutdown. There’s a chance to change things in the 2014 election. Voters can send out the incumbents by either choosing the other party or finding another candidate in the primary. If you take a look back though, that’s not going to happen.
When it comes to Congress, that mid-term election in the sixth year of a president’s reign doesn’t go well for the White House. President Obama faces that problem in 2014. As we can tell so far, it doesn’t look good that he’ll win the House or even keep the Senate.
No president has ever gained control of the House of Representatives during a mid-term election in that respective president’s second term.
None of them, that includes George Washington, whose Federalist Party lost seats in the House in the 1794 election. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Frankling D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan—none of them have been popular enough for their party gain seats or wrest control of the Congress halfway through their second term.
The vast majority of presidents lost seats in those elections. No incumbent president’s party, save only Bill Clinton, has gained seats since FDR.
James Madison and James Monroe did win additional House seats in the 1814 and 1822 elections respectively. Both of them though, faced a dwindling Federalist Party and both of them already had control of Congress.
Teddy Roosevelt and the Republicans managed to gain three senators in 1906. Clinton famously beat the odds in 1998 when, despite a looming impeachment, Democrats gained seats in the House.
As far as shifting power, only Andrew Jackson and the Democrats won control of the Senate from National Republicans in his sixth-year Congressional election in 1834. Democrats already had power in the House at that time.
No president has gained control of the House from the opposing party.
Every election is unique and there are a lot of factors that play into them including the economy, wars, redistricting, scandals and presidential approval ratings.
Congress is immune to approval ratings and history is stacked heavily against Obama. Democrats have to win 17 additional seats. No party has come close to doing that in the sixth year election.
But Obama is the country’s first black president. He was also reelected with an unemployment rate at 8 percent.
But it’s still not likely.