Sunday, October 26, 2014

Georgia On My Mind

How's this for a crazy scenario. We might not know which party controls the Senate until January 6, AFTER the new Congress is sworn in. That's because Georgia, like Louisiana, is a runoff state. If no candidate gets at least 50 percent of the vote November 4, there will be a runoff election two months later. Why two months? No particular reason, but let's just go with it's Georgia.

At present, Michelle Nunn is leading David Perdue by .3 points, 45.5 to 45.2. Assuming the undecideds break 2 to 1 for the challenger - remember the seat is Republican - that should put Nunn over the top, right? Wrong. That's because there's a third-party candidate who is polling at 5 points. If that percentage holds, even if Nunn were to get 75 percent of the undecideds - highly unlikely - she would still finish at 48.7 percent. And that means a runoff in January.

The good news is that Nunn would still be slightly favored, unlike Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, which would hold its runoff election in December. But two months is an eternity in politics. If control of the Senate actually comes down to who wins Georgia, you can expect both parties to throw the proverbial kitchen sink into the state.

We've never seen anything like this that I can recall. The majority of the upper chamber of Congress coming down to a runoff AFTER it gets sworn in. Can you imagine Mitch McConnell as the new majority leader for a couple of days, only to see Harry Reid get his old job back? Even if I didn't have a horse in this race, I'd kill just to be a fly on the wall in that building the evening of the 6th.

Now, I have to confess, this runoff scenario is still a stretch. It relies on a number of givens, all of which have to go Democrats way. They have to hold North Carolina, New Hampshire and one of three other states: Iowa, Colorado or Alaska. Arkansas and Louisiana are all but lost at this point. Then, Greg Orman has to beat Pat Roberts in Kansas AND caucus with the Democrats.

The problem? Democrats are trailing in all three and Orman is barely ahead of Roberts. Of the three states in question, Colorado shows the most promise. The state has a large centrist population, its Democratic governor is leading in his reelection bid and the mail-in ballots tend to favor Democratic voters, the very ones who have a habit of not showing up in midterms.

Of course, it's also likely that Democrats could lose Colorado, Iowa and Alaska and Roberts could beat Orman, in which case  the only purpose a Georgia runoff would serve is to determine whether the GOP ends up with 52 seats or 53.

But my gut, as well as my heart, tells me that it won't be that easy for Republicans this year. They've made a number of assumptions that simply aren't supported by the nation-wide polling. Take away the obvious - and, yes, racist - anti-Obama sentiment in deep-red states and both parties are about even.

I think we're headed for sudden-death overtime this year and history.

1 comment:

Prof. Walter Jameson said...


Yes, it's likely that both Georgia and Louisiana will be runoffs, but it's also likely that they will be non-determinative in the bigger picture, i.e.: who will control the Senate. My analysis still shows that the outcome will shift the Senate to Republican control by 51 to 49, and it will be known by November 5th. Actually, through exit polling, it will be known by election night. So, I believe it's pretty much a done deal.

Actually, the thing that motivated my response today was this particular sentence in your essay: "Take away the obvious - and, yes, racist - anti-Obama sentiment in deep-red states and both parties are about even."

What is interesting about this sentence is its construction. It is written in a way that seeks to convince the general readership of something that is true before they start to roll their eyes at, yet, another thing that they've heard over and over again from the writer. But in this particular case, it is indeed true. There is a substantial amount of racism in deep-red states. And that racism does account for a significant amount of the anti-Obama sentiment in that region. Nothing new or surprising about that.

Your charge of racism becomes a lot more tenuous, however, when you just throw it out there with absolutely nothing to back it up. Case in point: Your (partially) over-the-top essay, "Dear White Long Island." In that essay, you basically indicted your entire neighborhood/community with the charge because of how you *perceived* a young man of color, who was going door-to-door collecting for his charity, *may have been* treated. The lack of any factual basis, of course, didn't seem to hold you back one bit. And, on top of that, your unapologetic use of the racial epithet,"lily white", in addition to being odious, may have, perhaps, betrayed your own racism.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.