Analysis: Wins give GOP wider Washington influence
With sweeping victories that exceeded their own sky-high expectations, the GOP has dealt President Barack Obama and Democrats the most devastating electoral defeat of his presidency. Their prize is full control of Congress, and with it, the power to shape the direction of America's government in the next two years.
Both parties talked on Tuesday about need to compromise, but they will face tough obstacles in following through. The list is long: the already looming 2016 elections, persistent divisions within the Republican Party, and the frosty relationship between Obama and Senator Mitch McConnell, who won re-election in Kentucky and is likely to ascend to majority leader.
"I don't expect the president to wake up tomorrow and view the world any differently than he did this morning," McConnell said at his victory party Tuesday night. "He knows I won't either."
The election puts Republicans back in power in the Senate for the first time in eight years, and alongside a GOP-led House, the party will set a legislative agenda unlike anything that would come from Obama's White House. The president's top advisers have spent weeks planning for how to deal with a Republican-led Senate.
In the rosiest of scenarios, McConnell and Obama can look for common ground in areas where their parties have overlapping interests: overhauling the nation's complicated tax code, repairing crumbling roads and bridges, and inking free-trade agreements with the European Union and Asia-Pacific nations.