At just about exactly six months out from election day, I want to take a look at the prospects for the Democrats in the Senate this year. No!, I am not getting out over my skis, and no, I am not making any bold predictions, in fact I’m not making any predictions at all. But the one thing that I don’t want to hear is any more of that Oh, yeah? Just remember 2016 bullshit. Since 2018 that’s as dead as Paddy’s pig.
Those of you who have been with me for a while know that when I do these kinds of dives, I tend to look for trends, and when I find one, I look into it. And when I look at the general landscape, there are not one but two trends, one longstanding that I think may have quite an influence on the outcome of the Senate races this year. Let’s look at them.
The first one is the longstanding thread. While being respectful of all of the Nervous Nellies out there, I was actually quite bullish on the Democrats chances for the House all the way back by Christmas time of 2017. And the reason for my optimism was the events of 2017 itself.
First, there was the Women’s March on Washington, a staggering display of wrath and opposition to Trump. But more important were the special elections of 2017. As normal, Trump chose several House incumbents to come and serve in his administration, and a couple of House GOP incumbents were forced to resign in disgrace. When an incumbent is chosen, normally the president chooses only from “safe” districts, so to not run the risk of losing a House or Senate seat in a special election. Trump did that here, but the results were off. While the GOP held serve in the majority of special elections, they didn’t do it well. In fact, even in deep red districts, the Democratic candidates over performed by an average of +17-22 points. Democrats, even in great minority districts were fired up, and the GOP somnolent. The capstone was the off year Virginia state elections, where the Democrats came literally within a coin toss of evening up the House.
The 2018 midterms ended up being exactly what I expected, the House Democrats rolled the GOP up in the carpet and dumped it at the curb. But the important thing nobody remembers is that the 2018 Senate races were not the debacle they were predicted to be. In 2017 Bitch McConnell literally had sugarplums dancing in his head of a permanent 60 seat majority in the Senate. Then the winds blew ill, and McConnell had trouble trying to get his preferred A-List candidates to run. GOP pickups were minimal, and the Democrats dented some of that by picking up a couple of seats in AL and AZ. The off year 2019 elections brought about the completion of turning the state legislature of Virginia blue, and flipping the Governors mansion in Kentucky, a positive development when McConnell is running in 2020 nor more popular than Bevin was in 2019. The trend continued.
The other trend I’m looking at goes all the way back to 2016 itself. A funny thing happened on the way to the quorum. On red state after red state, while Trump won, he badly under performed incumbent GOP Senators. Look at Arizona, where McCain cake walked while Trump won by something like 1.5%. Utah comes to mind as well, and even Texas, although in Texas he still bested Ted Cruz, the most unpopular Senator in the country. But you’ve heard me talk about coattails in politics before, and opined that Trump’s coattails don’t even go as low as his belt. The fact that so many GOP incumbents easily bested Trump’s winning margin should have been a stern warning. People were willing to vote for their Senator, and then cross over to vote for somebody else for the top of the ticket.
See, a trend is a trend for a reason. A hot baseball team tends to keep right on winning until somebody plays well enough to beat them, they don’t beat themselves. And in a bull market, stocks tend to keep rising until something comes along that changes the mentality of the market, and starts a sell off. In the first trend I mentioned, it is important to note that in the last 4 years, Donald Trump has done absolutely nothing to change anybody’s opinion of him, and thereby reverse the trend. In fact it’s exactly the opposite, Trump’s approval numbers are tanking.
But the second trend I mentioned is even more dangerous to the GOP’s chances of continuing to hold the Senate. That’s because back in 2017, most voters saw their incumbent Senators as independent of Trump. Their Senators were known quantities, while Trump was just some loud mouth jerk off. But with the exception of Mitt Romney, who isn’t running in the 2020 cycle, pretty much every GOP incumbent has spent the last 4 years turning himself into a Mini-Me of Glorious Bleater. For the voters, there is no longer any discernible difference between Trump and their once trusted Senators. If they don’t like Trump, they’re not very likely to like their Senator anymore either.
So no, nothing is a done deal. The Democrats still have to recruit top level talent, and properly fund and support their campaigns. But with the surge in Democratic enthusiasm, the swelling grassroots efforts, Move Left’s million volunteer movement, Mike Bloomberg’s promised deep pockets support, and The Lincoln Project sniping at vulnerable GOP incumbents from behind, the majority of these races figure to be competitive. And since these ass clowns have all tied themselves in knots to Trump, if he goes down, then they likely go down with him. Me personally? With the seat already open, and the GOP’s disastrous coronavirus response in the state. I’m not taking Kansas off of the table as a possible Democratic pick up. We flipped the Governors mansion, didn’t we?
To know the future, look to the past.before the insanity of the 2020 election, relive the insanity of the 2016 GOP primary campaign, and the general election, to see how we got to where we are. Copies of President Evil, and the sequel, President Evil II, A Clodwork Orange are available as e-books on Amazon, at the links above. Catch up before the upcoming release of the third book in the trilogy, President Evil III: All The Presidents Fen