In Control of Congress, GOP Looks to Set Agenda

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Cory Gardner after victory in Colorado

A Harsh Referendum on Obama.

President Barack Obama hoped the midterm elections would help break the capital’s gridlock. Instead, they became a referendum on his presidency.

Voters went to the polls Tuesday deeply frustrated with the political system and handed Republicans a decisive victory. Mr. Obama was a central figure in key races where Republicans criticized his leadership.

Most Democratic Senate candidates refused to appear with Mr. Obama on the campaign trail, trying to distance themselves from an unpopular president. Democrats tried to keep the focus on policies of particular importance in their states.

Mr. Obama campaigned with just one Democrat running for the Senate—at a rally last weekend in Michigan, where his party’s nominee was widely expected to win. Mr. Obama said during the campaign season that while he wasn’t on Tuesday’s ballot, his policies were.

Businesses See Hope

American businesses are hoping the dust will settle from Tuesday’s GOP takeover of Congress with new attention on corporate taxes, immigration, trade and energy, top priorities that have eluded breakthroughs in recent years.

A post-election landscape that includes a more sharply divided government is likely to lead to continued frustration over some items on businesses’ wish list. At the same time, a reshaped political landscape could lead Congress and the White House to seek legislative breakthroughs on some economic issues before the 2016 election season heats up.

“What we hope the next Congress will do is focus on policies that drive competitiveness and drive growth,” said Aric Newhouse, a top executive at the National Association of Manufacturers.

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