Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Midterm Election Preview (10 Weeks Out)

Chris Cillizza from the Washington Post has a helpful breakdown of the upcoming midterm election, where Republicans have a strong chance of retaking the Senate and using more government shutdowns to push their radical, corporatist agenda. Here are the highlights from the article:

· President Obama’s perceived disconnect with the party and voters appear to be having a negative effect on the prospects of the Democrats retaking the House, as his mid-30s approval ratings in certain districts make potentially competitive races non-starters. The fascinating two questions this raises are: 1. Why has the country placed so much of the blame for a do nothing Congress on Obama’s shoulders? (see Ezra Klein's interesting take on the Obama presidency), and 2. Is that blame warranted? (read this fascinating article from liberal John Judis essentially arguing it should be)

· This is not a “wave election” yet, as 2006 and 2010 were. A wave election is one where national trends override the individual merits, or faults, of the candidates running “against the tide.” While the GOP is actually one point behind democrats on the general scale of “who are you more likely to vote for?” they appear poised to keep the House and take over the Senate. However, it appears this is more the result of money and Obama’s disapproval ratings that a general ideological position. The country seems less impressed with Republicans than Democrats, but the will of the people appears ready to be trumped by money and an unpopular President pulling down the whole party

· As mentioned above, it appears the House is not going to turn to Democrats this session. While there had been some hope of that possibility, it is now all but gone. The GOP has control of districting in far too many states, undermining even remotely competitive districts from the past (and, arguably, the most important body in our political process) and are outspending Dems at an alarming rate at the moment.

· The Senate is much more likely to turn to the GOP, though North Carolina might become the swing state deciding whether Obama can be completely blockaded, or whether he can occasionally turn to the Senate to help pass the occasional bill. (Three democratic seats – in Montana, West Virgina and South Dakota – are essentially gone already, particularly after John Walsh dropped out over plagiarism charges). Given these facts, it’s not surprising that North Carolina is also the state that has spent the most money on the election so far: Open Secrets.

· Ironically, it appears as if voters want “competence” and “bipartisanship,” but appear poised to pick the party that has been working in a largely partisan manner (unless they get Dems to blindly follow them) since the mid-90s. It’s fascinating that so many people put the blame equally on Obama, who has arguably been far more moderate than he promised in either of his elections, and the GOP, that has tried to block or reverse almost everything his administration has accomplished.

A change is possible before election night, but Obama has to try to get his numbers up and create a common message with candidates, Democrats get out the vote efforts have to be near presidential-year levels (highly unlikely, by the way) and a few candidates have to get a late surge, or really lucky. Here’s hoping one or more of those things happen!

No comments: