Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Massachusetts Senate election has implications for Latin America

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on January 20, 2010

by Eric Farnsworth, for Americas Quarterly, January 20, 2010.

Yesterday’s election in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat had little to do with Latin America, but the implications of Scott Brown’s victory over Martha Coakley will nonetheless resonate across the region. That’s because the victory of the Republican candidate breaks the Democrats’ super majority of 60 votes in the Senate, and will likely require renewed negotiation and accommodation in order to pass the massive health care bill that has been the top priority of the White House and Congressional leaders since early 2009. Further delay on health care means that other agenda items will have to wait even longer for the political attention required to address them, and the mood on Capitol Hill could well become still more partisan and sour.

That’s doubly true for controversial legislation, particularly as we move further into 2010, which is a midterm election year. Since President Obama was inaugurated one year ago today, three out of the four special elections have been won by Republicans (the Massachusetts Senate seat and the Governorships of Virginia and New Jersey). Only an upstate New York Congressional seat was won by the Democratic candidate, and that was after the Republican vote split over two candidates. Looking ahead to the elections in November, many observers predict that Democratic losses will mount, which means the White House and Congressional leadership will do whatever they can to improve the midterm prospects by juicing the economy, creating jobs and strengthening the support of the Democratic base, particularly organized labor…(continue reading)


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