Blue Dogs Gaining Strength

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How have Democrats retaken the House of Representatives from Republicans and why are they positioned to gain even more seats next Tuesday? Because they’ve run candidates who can compete against Republicans. And that means the House is filling up with conservative Democrats know as Blue Dogs.

As The AP reports:

Majority Democrats are positioned for big gains in next week’s congressional election. But many of the new faces would join a growing chorus of “Blue Dogs” who often part from the party base on big issues like taxes and increasing federal spending.

That could set up a roadblock for Obama, who has promised to broaden health insurance coverage, start a new round of public works projects and improve early childhood education, among other things — all initiatives that would require substantial government spending at a time of soaring deficits.

The 49 House Blue Dogs, about one in every four House Democrats, could grow by as many as 10 in Tuesday’s election with wins in mainly Southern, conservative-leaning districts. Overall, Democrats are expected to pick up 20 or more House seats.

The Blue Dogs are also reaching out to the Senate where they’ve endorsed the candidacy of Mark Warner in Virginia. Undoubtedly, they could also find common ground with current Senators from red and purple states. If even a quarter of all Democrats in Congress end up being Blue Dogs, their influence could temper the legislative agenda of the more liberal branch of the party.

We might not end up with divided government, but the Democrats could end up being a divided party.

Hopefully, if Obama wins, he’ll be more than willing to listen to what the Blue Dogs have to say.