2010 US Senate Races
Here we go. The members of the US Senate class of 2008 haven’t even been fully seated and we are already sepculating on 2010. CNN has already decided the Republicans are in trouble in 2010 simply because, get this, they had trouble in 2006 and 2008. Logical huh? Wikipedia references something called the Cook Political Report as the official word on what is going to happen in 2010. Their breakdown has it looking something like this:
|DEMOCRATS | 17 HELD SEATS|
|SOLID D (11)||LIKELY D (5)||LEAN D (1)||TOSS UP (0)||LEAN R (0)||LIKELY R (0)||SOLID R (0)|
|Lincoln (AR)||Boxer (CA)||Bennet (CO)|
|Dodd (CT)||Reid (NV)|
|Kaufman (DE)||Dorgan (ND)|
|Inouye* (HI)||Murray (WA)|
|IL (Obama)||Feingold (WI)|
|REPUBLICANS | 20 HELD SEATS|
|SOLID D (0)||LIKELY D (0)||LEAN D (0)||TOSS UP (4)||LEAN R (2)||LIKELY R (2)||SOLID R (12)|
|FL (Martinez)||KS (Brownback)||OH (Voinovich)||Shelby (AL)|
|Bunning* (KY)||Specter* (PA)||Coburn (OK)||Murkowski (AK)|
|Vitter (LA)||McCain (AZ)|
|MO (Bond)||Isakson (GA)|
|TX (Bailey Hutchison)|
Basically, it’s a pretty simple chart. If you’re a Democrat, you’ll likely win. If you’re a Republican, it could be a toss-up. For instance, it lists Kentucky as a toss-up because the sitting senator might be retiring. That’s based on actions Bunning made in 2007. In 2008, he’s running. That’s how accurate these things are at this point.
Most people are painting the Republicans in trouble primarily because of what happened two months ago. However, history tells them, and me, that things are probably not going to be as easy in 2010 as they were in 2008. There are several things people need to take into consideration before lumping the Democrats unbeatable forever.
- Most pundits, especially the slightly more liberal ones like ABC, CNN and MSNBC, predicted Democrat super-majorities based on the 2008 elections. That didn’t happen. In Kentucky particularly, the Republican Senator won and Obama lost. So, these coat-tails that some media have been assuming is there never has been in some places. The Republicans did surprisingly well in Kentucky given that Kentucky is a 2.5 to 1 Democrat state and the head of the Democrat ticket was being lauded by all media as the greatest candidate of all-time. Something went wrong somewhere.
- History has been brutal on the majority party during the first election following a presidential election. The wildly popular Bill Clinton had his legs taken out from under him in 1994. The exception noted by CNN and most people was 2002. However, there was an event in very late 2001 that affected the elections of 2002. Barring some catastrophe in 2009, I expect history to repeat itself for several reasons. Partially, in large part, because the “wildly popular” Bill Clinton was never truly “wildly popular”. The media just loved him. The majority of people in the United States did not. 43% of the vote just isn’t a terribly long coat tail.
- The dynamics of the 2008 election have been horribly abused by the media. Although the Democrats nominated someone farther to the left than is typically successful, the Republicans nominated a moderate that failed to capture the base of his own party. This left the Republicans putting more resources into the presidential race as the presidential candidate was unable to compete financially with the Democrat. As such, their efforts in the Senate races were not well coordinated or financed. In 2010 the Republicans will not have this distraction and typically outspend the Democrats. Whether people like it or not, money talks very loudly in local races. Expect a much more coordinated effort from the Republicans in 2010. Because:
- Obama is pro-civil rights to the point of being extremely anti-business. A lot of his views border on Marxism. Sure, I know that has been tossed around a lot, but it is true. What little legislation we’ve seen coming out of the House in 2009 so far has been pro-civil rights, anti-business. Even with the economy in the tank, the liberal arm of the Democrat party is in full socialist mode, attacking businesses. That will bite the Democrats very quickly.
- Nancy Pelosi is in charge of the House. She got to where she is as a one trick pony. However, that one trick is now biting her. Running on purely ethics issues and against “the worst president ever”, she now has neither issue to fall back on. In addition, she is as liberal or moreso than Obama, and purely committed to partisan politics. Her stance that no Democrat ever had anything to do with the economic mess we’re in now flying squarely in the face of reality should mean something more if the economic situation continues into 2009. A very simple campaign platform for the Republicans would be that this mess didn’t occur until the Democrats took over the House. If it’s not resolved by election time, look for a lot more people to believe that argument.
- Harry Reid is in charge of the Senate. His ineptness and flip-flopping on issues has not only confounded people outside of Nevada like myself, it’s apparently tiring people in Nevada to the point where some are questioning whether he can even hold his seat. Some pundits are even calling Reid the most vulnerable Democrat up for re-election. If Reid is vulnerable in 2010 as the Senate Speaker under the most popular elected president in the history of the world, something’s amiss. If his leadership is so out of touch that it jeapordizes his long held seat, that could present problems for the DNC in 2010.
- Balance of power. This country has been unkind to the party in power. Bill Clinton had it all of two years. George HW Bush had it for a few years and lost it as well in 2006. It would most likely have been earlier, but the dynamics of the 2002 elections were skewed, and the Democrats shot themselves in the foot repeatedly in 2004. By 2006, things returned to normal and the people voted for balance. I’m not saying we’ll have that balance by 2010, but I think people will be working towards it.
- Failed expectations. People set the bar way too high for Obama. He can’t meet all those expectations. It’s just impossible. He can do well. But, well isn’t good enough. Because of that, expect some backlash over time as people realize he is not the messiah. He’s not at this point even controlling his own party. As much as he preached bipartisanhip, Nancy Pelosi has put the screws to that already. I expect he’ll survive. But, expect some backlash with the constituency.
- Iraq. If the troops aren’t out of Iraq by 2009, look for serious backlash.
- Economy. If the economy’s not back on track in 2009, look for serious backlash.
- National security. Obama painted a picture by choosing Leon Panetta as CIA director. If there is a major terrorist issue in 2009 or early 2010, expect that to affect things.
- Scandals. A lot of the gains the Democrats made in 2006 and 2008 were based on self-inflicted wounds within the Republican party. However, those players are out of the spotlight and now we’re looking at Democrats such as Blago, William Jefferson, Sheila Dixon, and others.
I could go on and on. Each race will have its own dynamics. However, the bottom line to me is this could be 1994 all over again. The only question to me at this point is if the RNC is capable of capitalizing. Now, I’m moderate. However, I’m not moderate on any real issue. No one is. The Republicans hung their hat on conservative issues with Reagan, and that’s what got them in charge. Over time, people confused conservative values with a reliance on religious values. That eroded some of the base. Abuses of power, inept leadership, and in-fighting took them down. However, the culmination was running a moderate for president. He appealed to me to some degree, but wasn’t anything I could get real excited about. It’s hard to get excited about any moderate. That’s just the nature of the beast being open to any issue. When Clinton won, he had to be more moderate, but won on liberal views. When Bush II won, he won on conservative values but had to move to more moderate views as well. Now, Obama has won running on extremely liberal credentials but moved to the middle during his campaign, and I expect will lurch even moreso to the middle once the realities of his decisions hits him ( which I think they arlready have ). I think this is a lot of the reason for the second year curse that seems to hit most modern presidents. As the figurehead abandons the ideology that got him and his minions elected, the public revolts in the democratic way. Obama can not possibly remain as liberal as he ran and was perceived and be an effective president. He’s already abandoned several campaign issues ( we’ll be in Iraq a lot longer, his tax incentives will be moderated ). As such, I expect the revolt to begin in 2010.
That’s all I have to say about that. Today.