Post-Election Prediction: More Gridlock 

Here is your preview of the House and Senate under President Hillary Clinton: Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said he views a potential Clinton presidency as a third term for President Obama. He promises that Senate Republicans will block Clinton from making good on campaign promises such as raising taxes on the wealthy, hiking the minimum wage, strengthening regulations on Wall Street, and enacting even modest gun control. 

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  • Juan WIlliams

If Republicans retain control on both sides of the Capitol and Clinton wins, it will just result in shameless obstruction of the first female president instead of the first black president. 

The permanent, standing filibuster of legislation and nominations that McConnell implemented under Obama will continue and become the norm. Sixty votes, not 51, will be required to pass anything through the Senate, just as it has been under Obama. If you liked the dysfunction, gridlock, and petulance of the 114th Congress, then you are going to love what's in store for the 115th Congress. 

Now, some surprising news for Team Trump: It will be much the same for them if he wins. Even with total GOP control of the Senate, the House, and the White House, President Trump is likely to face pure obstruction from Capitol Hill.

The reason is simple: Trump has broken with years of conservative Republican orthodoxy on free trade, military interventionism, U.S. participation in NATO, and, recently, paid maternity leave.

Trump's positions on these and many other issues are anathema to everything McConnell has said he believed throughout his political career. The same goes for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has accused Trump of making "textbook" racist comments and who will have a GOP majority in the House capable of blocking Trump's agenda. 

For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has had a vacancy since Antonin Scalia died in February. Senate Republicans have refused to schedule a confirmation hearing much less a vote on Obama's eminently qualified nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. His confirmation remains stalled. There is every reason to expect more delay if not outright denial of the nominee, especially if Clinton eventually nominates a stronger liberal.

The most recent New York Times "Upshot" forecast says the Republicans have a 58 percent chance of holding the Senate. In his latest "Crystal Ball" forecast, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato predicts that the Democrats will have at least 47 seats while at least 49 seats will be held by Republicans. Four seats — Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania — are toss-ups, according to Sabato, who predicts that GOP incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin will lose their seats. 

"Democrats can still manage to win the four or five seats they need to claim the Senate majority, but the battle has shifted from purple states that Barack Obama twice carried — Ohio and Florida — to Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina, where Obama lost in 2012," The Washington Post noted recently.

Even in the New Hampshire Senate race, Governor Maggie Hassan, the Democratic candidate, is in a dead heat with incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, despite the fact that Hassan is much more popular than Clinton in the Granite State.

At data forecasting website FiveThirtyEight, Harry Enten wrote that the Senate and presidential races are moving in near lockstep. "Polls continue to show a tight race in states such as New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, three of the four most important seats in determining who wins control," Enten wrote. "Not coincidentally, the contest between Clinton and Donald Trump in those three states is also close."

If the Democrats pull through to regain the Senate majority, it will be by a thin margin — possibly relying on a tie-breaking vote from a Vice President Tim Kaine. In that scenario, the power of the GOP filibuster returns.

And if Trump wins and faces a Democratic majority in the Senate, the likely Majority Leader, Charles Schumer, will likely follow the Republican playbook used to obstruct Obama. Trump's campaign has turned off major GOP donors, but their money continues to flow into key Senate races, with the goal of offsetting four more years of a Democrat in the White House. If the polls keep going the way they are, Senate Republicans look like they will pay no tax for their years-long blockade of the Obama agenda. And there is no indication they will pay a price for continuing the blockade under Clinton or Trump.

Even with record disapproval ratings, the GOP House and Senate majority appear to be on track for continuing more of the same gridlock.

Juan Williams is a contributor to Fox News.


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