NPR logo After The Election: What's Next? Looking Past The Midterms

Election 2010

After The Election: What's Next? Looking Past The Midterms

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will soon be getting plenty of input from Rand Paul and Marco Rubio -- not to mention likely House Speaker John Boehner. Here, McConnell speaks at a results-watching party in Washington. Win McNamee/Getty Images North America hide caption

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Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

After all this voting, what's next for Wednesday, you ask? Well, lots of headlines like the one above, for starters. The midterm election has shuffled power in Washington, giving Republicans the House and more leverage in the Senate (at least when I published this).

Here are some storylines that you might see in the coming days:

Switcheroos welcome. Senate Republicans will try to woo key senators to change their affiliation — especially if the GOP gets anything resembling a mandate from Tuesday's vote. Scenarios include getting Sen. Joe Lieberman to caucus with the GOP, and possibly convincing Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia that he needs to be a Republican.

Can you bottle the Tea Party? The grassroots, proudly leaderless group has put some people in office. It'll be interesting to see how they cope with Washington's sausage-making traditions. Earlier today, Rand Paul spoke of how he would both work with — and "challenge" — Mitch McConnell, the GOP's top dog in the Senate, "from day to day."

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is releasing a book. You know as well as I do, politicians don't put out books unless they're thinking about putting themselves on a national ticket. He says the book's too anti-Washington for him to run for the presidency. Which merely sounds kind of coy.

The suddenly enhanced relevance of Joe Biden. If Republicans gain nine Senate seats, that would put them in an even split with the Democrats. And that would put more power into the vice president's gavel.

Bridge-building 101. Since the Republicans pulled off some major victories two years into his term, President Obama will be compared (over and over) to President Clinton. Even Tuesday night, Democratic political consultant Peter Fenn told the BBC that Obama will need to extend an "olive branch" to the newly empowered GOP. Get ready for lots of that talk.

It's (still, still, still) the economy, stupid. Voters expressed their disapproval for both parties, and for Congress in general. But if they don't have more money in their pockets and more optimism about the economy, Tuesday's winners aren't likely to hold their offices for long. In the Pew exit poll, just 14 percent of voters said they're better off today than they were two years ago.