I never did like it when I heard someone say, “I told you so,” but then wasn’t it Thoreau (or maybe Emerson) who said ‘a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds”? Or something like that.
Anyway, something in the morning news reminded me of something I posted a while back. So I went looking for it and found it: The Real Battle(s) in 2012 May Not Be the Race for the Presidency, MillersTime/The Outer Loop, May 23, 2011.
Here it is:
In 2010 the Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives and were able to change the dynamics of political Washington.
Now they have a good opportunity to gain control of the Senate.
As you no doubt know from your high school civics, every two years one third of the Senate seats are contested. Next year, 23 of those are Democratic held seats and 10 are Republican.
Currently the Dems hold a 53-47 margin in the Senate.
All the Republicans need to do is turn a total of four seats into their column to take over control of the Senate.
A close look at the seats up grabs reveals that the Republicans have a reasonable chance to do just that. North Dakota’s Dem Kent Conrad is not seeking re-election, making that conservative state a strong pick up possibility for the Republicans.
Dems John Tester in Montana and Ben Nelson in Nebraska have been behind in the polls for months now. In Missouri, Dem Claire McCaskill may well have difficulty holding on to her seat. And in Virginia, Jim Webb’s decision not to run again puts that seat up for grabs.
If the Repubs win just four of those five seats and hold their own in the remaining races, the Senate turns Republican, and the balance of power in Congress changes completely.
But there are other Dem seats that are also in jeopardy, including Ben Nelson’s in Florida, Debbie Stabenow’s in Michigan, Jeff Bingaman’s open seat in New Mexico, Sherrod Brown’s in Ohio, Bob Casey’s in Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin’s in West Virginia, and Herb Kohl’s open seat in Wisconsin.
The most vulnerable Republican seats are probably Olympia Snowe’s in Maine, Scott Brown’s in Massachusetts, Jon Kyl’s in Arizona, and Richard Lugar’s in Indiana (especially if he loses to his conservative challenger).
And if you add in the factor of unlimited money going into many of these races as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the chances of the Republicans coming out on top in the Senate are pretty good.
So while the press is mostly focusing on the presidential race, keep your eyes on the state races. That may be where the most important battles occur in the next 18 months.
I return to this now because the media is still largely focused on the increasingly expensive and negative race between Pres. Obama and former Gov. Romney, to the exclusion, I think, of the races in the Senate (and to some degree the House).
Yes, it’s still before Labor Day, and probably most sane folks are not even thinking much about politics.
But for those of you who worry about where the country’s headed, keep your eye on the Senate races too. Not that much has changed since I posted the above 15 months ago. Four seats could still change the dynamics of Washington, even if by some chance Pres. Obama wins re-election (I’m not saying he will).
If you think there was gridlock these past two years, imagine what would happen if both the Senate and House were Republican and the White House Democratic. Chilling.
(I know, it’s even more chilling, for some of us, to contemplate the possibility of the White House and the Congress becoming all Republican.)
To see the latest on what’s happening in the Senate, check out the NY Times analysis. They write that 16 seats are in play. The Republicans only need to come out 8-8 in those races to gain a majority in the Senate.
And while the Democrats would have you think they have a shot at taking over the House, that seems like a much longer shot, as the Times says there are 81 seats in play, which means the Democrats would have to win 57 of those to have a majority (218).
W. David Stephenson said:
Couldn’t agree more, Richard. It’s why Dems and Independents in MA should think twice about rewarding that nice Mr. Brown for his partial independence of the worst Teaparty excesses (and let’s not forget that a sizeable number of those GOP insurgents for Senate seats are of the Teaparty ilk.). Scary times.
Thanks, R. Very scary indeed. Thank you for waking me from my summer slumber, though Ellen scares me on nearly a daily basis through her Sunlight Foundation posts. Much appreciated.