You have a point about the Senate, but there isn’t likely to be a Democratic tsunami in 2016. Sure, if Clinton runs, they’ll probably win the White House in a landslide, but everything else is up in the air.
When George Bush won his landslide in 1988 there were no coattails. THe Democrats actually gained a couple of House seats and a Senate seat. It’s just very unlikely that voters will be interested in giving Democrats dominance again anytime soon. Or Republicans for that matter, although if they are VERY lucky they might get it in 2016(and probably blow it 2 years later).
Not I, I voted for Romney but never predicted he would win. It’s still early times but I do predict the Republicans will win several net Senate seats and for the same reason I predicted Romney would lose. All the evidence we have available right now suggests that is the case. The polls that are available (again, of limited value due to the early point we’re at in terms of knowing who will even run) suggest this to be the case. If they change closer to election time I’ll revise my opinion about what I think will happen.
There are a few broad trends playing into the GOP’s favor:
Targeted work by traditional Republicans and our powerbase against Tea Party insanity seems to be keeping the really bad Todd Akin style candidates neutralized in the primary campaigns. There was genuine worry at one point McConnell would lose in the primary to a TP challenger but that guy doesn’t seem able to break 30% against Mitch and his momentum is stalling out. You’ve seen this in a lot of races where a TP goon is challenging an incumbent.
It’s a mid-term election, historically the President’s party often loses seats in mid-term elections.
The President has poor approval ratings, which historically often means his party loses seats in the midterm elections.
Democrats are choosing dumb things to focus on. In several races Democrats have already started rolling out ads associating Republican candidates with the Koch brothers. In fact the Koch brothers are a major theme in the election narrative for the democrats. This strategy will fail: no one in America outside of beds of political observers like these sort of message boards knows about or cares about the Koch brothers.
A traditional GOP campaign with a mix of modern values appears to play well in relatively divided districts with a strong Democratic challenge. The Florida election of Dave Jolly is where I’m drawing this from. Jolly focused his campaign on tying his opponent to Obamacare while advocating some of the less controversial, core Republican positions. He avoided the gay marriage debate by saying that his marriage isn’t sanctified by the State so if a State chooses to recognize gay marriages he “doesn’t care.” That doesn’t play to the religious base but it isn’t enough to totally enrage them, and it certainly isn’t enough to mobilize LGBT activists against him. He ran a pro-life campaign, but a traditional one where he refused to make it a big issue and in which he expressly listed out all of the traditional exceptions (rape, health of the mother etc) and avoided the sort of inflammatory stuff that lets the Democrats run their “war on women” narrative against GOP candidates.
Actually only a few States have significant gerrymandering. “All the red states they control” is not accurate. Many of them actually have laws that effectively limit/prohibit gerrymandering, and some Southern states are required to be gerrymandered by Federal law which mandates minority-majority districts (a policy that yes, guarantees a base level of membership for the Congressional black caucus, but also essentially “segregates” minorities into electoral ghettoes where they have limited power in the State as a whole.)
I think the biggest issue with Obamacare is very few people are going to have this amazing “Obamacare is awesome” experience. It made some good technical reforms of the healthcare system but I’m willing to bet a large percentage (say 90%) whose workplace health insurance previously had say, a $1.5m lifetime limit and now has none, is even aware of the original limit or that it is now gone. In fact we know most people were unaware of lifetime limits on their insurance plans as there are many stories of people being shocked when it bit them in the ass.
Obama does deserve some back patting for those needed technical reforms, but they aren’t sexy and people are too simple minded in the whole to have followed/incorporated them into their voting decisions.
The main meat of Obamacare was the concept that the biggest problem we have in American healthcare is the uninsured. The problem is this isn’t true, the biggest problem is our system of paying for healthcare all but guarantees high, unnecessary costs and complexity (and yes–a single payer system fixes much of it.) What we’ve seen is a large portion of the Obamacare enrollees already had healthcare and were just switching. The large number of uninsured that were expected to jump through hoops to get the health insurance they had been dreaming of has only partially materialized. Revealing a truth many already knew: a lot of people have made deliberate choices to be uninsured. Smart? No. But whatever their reasons (maybe it’s not worth giving up two extra cases of beer), all the tax subsidies and incentives in the world have not persuaded them to change their tune.
So while I don’t think Obamacare is necessarily that bad, there are lots of negative stories you can run with it about marginal cases where people have been hurt by it, and the positives don’t tend to be as compelling or interesting.
I don’t read too much into that and neither should you. Congress as a whole has always polled terribly. When was the last time Congress had an approval rating 50.1% or above? But many people like their congress person while disliking congress as a whole.
I do think we won’t win the Senate, net +6 is too high a bar. In 2012 I also don’t think we had a good shot at winning the Senate, but I think we could have gained more net seats and built the groundwork for winning the Senate this year. The reason that didn’t happen was largely the couple of races that were basically “given” to the GOP on a platter where we nominated an insane Tea Party candidate that was totally unelectable.
I can think of a few net pickups that are all but locks, but we also could lose at least one seat–Mitch is very vulnerable, although he’s got connections deep throughout Kentucky politics like a tapeworm and signs are suggesting he’s calling in every favor he’s ever been owed in the State. I wouldn’t place a bet on the Kentucky race. Kentucky is also one of the States that did a state-run exchange and had a very successful outreach effort, so Mitch can’t just campaign against Obamacare.
It’s one thing to find out that something is unpopular. It’s another to get voters to PRIORITIZE it over everything else they are pissed about. Every party has something that a large majority of people don’t like. The question is whether it’s significant. If the Democrats think that attacking people who aren’t even in government is going to save them, they are delusional. They’d have better luck saying “Don’t vote for Republicans because Rush Limbaugh”
That’s only true in the short term. For the next two years, any number of Republican seats over 40 means nothing gets done. But for the span from 2 to 6 years out, it makes a difference. If the Republicans really do do remarkably well in the Senate this year, that means six years before we can get rid of those senators, and thus six years before we have a chance to get back above 60. On the other hand, if Democrats do remarkably well this year, we might have a chance to get over the magic 60 in 2016.
Excellent point. True progress is not possible when the number of Republican Senators > 39. In 2016 we have a chance to weed out some of the 2010 red wave Senators, if losses are at a minimum this year then there may be some hope.
Maybe we need to define tsunami here. Even Nate Silver’s group is calling the odds of the GOP retaking the senate at about 50/50 (although it’s of course very early). That doesn’t seem out of line, and hardly a “tsunami.” I’d consider a “tsunami” to be something like a veto-proof majority, and I don’t see that happening under anything but the most unlikely of circumstances.
It’s like going to a phrase generator website here sometime. Just click on the “adaher” button and up comes a window with a context-irrelevant Republican Talking Point chosen at random from a database compiled by Priebus. Actually addressing it is just like clicking the button again for all the traction it gets you.
By “tsunami” I would totally agree. The GOP is like a destructive force that plows through mankind and nature with no regard for building, rebuilding, or working with others. I’d say that’s a totally apt analogy.
Prediction #1: The electorate will vote for the same idiots again - the House and Senate will remain unchanged. The reason is <drum roll> because the President is black. I know you all are booing, hissing, and maybe muttering under your breath “there he goes again”, but it’s the truth. If Obama were to say, “Fuck it, I want to help but my skin color is getting away. We’re going back to Hyde Park” and resigned, Biden, by sheer inertia of his skin color would be get more accomplished with the House in two years than Obama ever will.
Prediction #2: Not unlike George Zimmerman, Republicans will start up again with their psychotic shenanigans soon as public scrutiny (i.e. Elections) dies down. The electorate will eat up Republican contrition and moderation till the midterms, not realizing they are being played (for the umpteenth time). Once Republicans start up their shit again, this’ll presage a wave of Democrats that’ll win in 2016 and catapult Hillary into the White House, solidifying the Democrat’s hold on the Executive Branch for the foreseeable future. This leads us to…
Prediction #3: In the class of a Hillary presidency, I predict Indiana, Arkansas, and West Virginia will mysteriously turn blue. I’ll leave you to meditate on why that is.