Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Don’t Count Those Chickens Just Yet!

You know they’re all counting down the days to the November mid-terms over at Fox News and A.M. Talk Radio. The champagne is on ice and all indications are that it’s going to be a joyous celebration for conservatives everywhere. Finally, after two whole years of enduring the socialist hordes that have stolen their country, America will be rightfully restored into their waiting hands. The reign of Obama, if not stopped, will at least be derailed. That is until Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee takes back the White House from the “anointed one.” Then they can all savor the ultimate mission accomplished moment together. How sweet the sound!

There’s just one problem though. There’s a very good chance that this year’s mid-terms might not end up as expected. Yes I know virtually every political pundit is predicting huge Democratic losses in both the House and Senate, with some conceding that the GOP will more than likely win back the House. And yes, even White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs joined the chorus and admitted that scenario is quite possible. Yes, things are sure looking bad this year, aren’t they?

Well permit me to throw a little water on those Republican victory candles if I may, but I respectfully disagree with the pundits. I’m far more optimistic on Democratic fortunes this fall, and for two reasons. First off, it should be painfully obvious to anybody who has closely observed the House of Representatives these last eighteen months that there are very few moderate Democrats and virtually no moderate Republicans left in that chamber. The very term moderate is actually akin to an oxymoron. While that is bad for politics in that it means highly contested and divisive partisanship, which is what we saw all too frequently the last year and a half, it also bodes poorly for turnover. By that I mean districts that tend to vote liberal will in all likelihood remain that way and the same can be said for conservative districts. Districts rarely flip and vote the other party, even during tough economic times.

If you look at all 435 House seats this is the way it stacks up. Of course things can change from now to November, so nothing’s etched in stone. 164 seats are solidly Democrat; 157 solid Republican. Of the remaining 114 seats, 66 are leaning Democrat and 23 are leaning Republican. That leaves 25 tossup seats, which is an extremely low number for a body this size. Even if you gave all the tossups to the Republicans, the Democrats would still hold a 230-seat majority at the end of the day. The GOP’s only chance would be to steal some of the leaning Democratic districts, and they would need 13 of them to win back control. Highly unlikely.

In the Senate the road to victory is a little more direct, but still uncertain. Each party is defending 18 seats. Of the 63 seats not in play – remember Scott Brown won the Massachusetts special election – 40 are held by Democrats, which is huge blow to the GOP, because when you break down the Democratic seats in play 9 are considered tossups. If Republicans hold onto all their seats that means they would have to run the table on all the tossups just to break even. In that scenario Joe Biden would be the tie-breaking vote. Oh the humanity! And by the way, two of the tossups are in Nevada and California, which brings me to reason number two for my optimism.

It is becoming painfully clear that the more the general public sees and hears of the Tea Party candidates the less appealing they become. In Nevada, Republican candidate and Tea Party darling Sharon Angle once held a 13-point lead over Democratic incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. That is until she began to shoot her mouth off. As it stands right now the race is a dead heat with some polls actually showing Reid ahead. Proof positive that no matter how angry the electorate may get they’re not stupid enough to turn the reigns of power over to someone who is clueless. If Reid manages to hold the seat, the Democrats won’t even need Biden’s vote.

And in California the bloom is fast coming off the rose of Carly Fiorina as her lack of relevant experience and her HP horror story becomes almost the stuff of legend. Barbara Boxer will in all likelihood retain that seat, which now means 52 seats for the Democrats. Hardly a staggering majority, but a majority nonetheless. If Charlie Crist wins in Florida and Joe Sestak ekes out a victory in Pennsylvania, it will be a long bitter winter in GOP land.

And that is why I am optimistic this mid-term and why it is always important to remember to never count your chickens before they hatch, lest they turn into jackasses.


Anonymous said...

Obama could still turn things around if he started fighting for the little guy for a change, instead of just being a personal hand-puppet for the corporate sector. How does he stand that cold hand up his differential?

jasdye said...

I think it's Nevada, not NM.

Peter Fegan said...

You're right Jason. Thanks for the heads up. I've made the correction