Senate races in 2018

senateWith this year’s Presidential race more or less over, you may be asking – what’s next? Races for Governor in 2017 in Virginia and New Jersey should get some attention, along with the US Senate race in Virginia. But let’s look just a little farther out, to the 2018 Senate races.

Democrats are about to retake control of the Senate, but their margin will be critical. 2016 was a very favorable year for them, with vulnerable Republican incumbents defending a large number of seats. In ’18, the shoe is on the other foot.

A cohort of Democrats elected on the strength of Obama’s 2012 campaign will be trying to hold their seats. Democrats do well in Presidential Election years. Now these incumbents must hold seats in difficult terrain under less favorable conditions.

There are ten states in which Democratic senators are expecting tough races:

Florida
Indiana
Missouri
Montana
North Dakota
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Virginia
Wisconsin
West Virginia

By contrast, Republicans should only be vulnerable in one state: Nevada.

So, Democrats are defending ten vulnerable seats while Republicans defend one.

One of those Democratic seats is a near-certain loss. Democrats are effectively finished in West Virginia. There may be no place in the country that has latched on to Trump-style Republican white nationalism as fiercely as the Mountain State. Joe Manchin has promised to run for re-election, but it is hard to imagine any scenario in which he wins.

Looking past a near-certain loss in West Virginia, the following Democratic seats are the most vulnerable:

Indiana – Joe Donnelly
Missouri – Claire McCaskill
Montana – Jon Tester
North Dakota – Heidi Heitkamp

If the election plays out according to the 2014 script, three out of four of these would probably be lost. Barring another enormous swing, Democrats should be able to hold at least 2. None of these races is a certain loss. All of these incumbents are popular, well-funded, and dug in. McCaskill is particularly well-positioned. She’s emerged as kind of a badass. Indiana is probably the most vulnerable seat in the list.

Of the remaining five seats, four of them are races that Democrats could reliably expect to hold in a more or less normal mid-term:

Florida – Bill Nelson
Ohio – Sherrod Brown
Pennsylvania – Bob Casey
Wisconsin – Tammy Baldwin

All but one of these is a Blue Wall state, and Ohio is starting to look like a pretty dark purple. A bitter intra-party challenge to John Kasich in the race for Governor is likely to cause ripples into the Senate race. That leaves one major wild card: Virginia.

Old Dominion hasn’t elected a Republican to statewide office in a long time, but Republicans will get two shots to take it back in two successive years.

After the ’16 Election Governor McAuliffe will nominate a Democrat to take Tim Kaine’s seat. That nominee will have to stand for re-election in 2017 and again in 2018. Virginia Republicans are disorganized, shrinking, and crippled with internal divisions, so there’s no reason to expect a Democrat to lose. But winning two races so close together cannot be considered a slam dunk.

In the worst case scenario, Democrats should brace for a potential net loss of 5 or 6 Senate seats in 2018:

-1 Democrats can write off West Virginia.
-2 Of the four seats in the most vulnerable tier, Democrats would normally expect to lose half of them in an off-year election.
-1 Of the remaining five, including Virginia, they could lose one or two.
.5 They have about a break-even chance of picking up a seat in Nevada.

However, apart from West Virginia, all of the remaining individual races are winnable. From a pure odds perspective, it’s hard to imagine Democrats running the table in an off-year election, but it is conceivable that they could win a large number of these races.

Overall, the range of likely outcomes for Democrats in 2018 is somewhere between 2 and six seats lost in the Senate.

Right now, the most likely outcome from the ’16 Senate races would give Democrats 53 seats going into the midterms. They face a slim shot at 54 if either McCain or Rubio fall victim to a turnout-driven poll shock. They could hit 55 in their best case scenario if both men lose.

If Democrats hold 53 seats after 2016, it is entirely possible that they could retain a bare Senate majority after the 2018 midterms. It is more likely though that they would lose Senate control by a small margin.

A few caveats.

In different circumstances, Republican Jeff Flake in Arizona might have been considered vulnerable. He won his seat by a very narrow margin in 2012 and demographics are moving the state toward the Democrats. However, Flake has been very successful this year in distancing himself from Donald Trump. Arizona offers a lot of promise for Democrats in general, but unless he does something outlandish, Flake shouldn’t face a tough re-election race.

Why isn’t Michigan on the list? Michigan hasn’t been competitive for Republicans at the national level for a very long time. Democrat Gary Peters won his Senate seat in the 2014 Republican wave election. Barring some candidate meltdown registering on the Larry Craig scale, Michigan is now a blue state at the federal level. Instead of worrying about the US Senate, Republicans in Michigan will have a fight on their hands to retain their influence at the state level.

And finally, Republicans can expect that their off-year advantage will continue to weaken. Hardcore Republican old people are dying off and they are not being replaced. With each passing year replacement voters are less white, less bigoted, and more adept at living in the Internet age. To put it another way, the fresh new oldsters are incrementally less likely to believe crazy shit they read on Facebook or Breitbart and incrementally less paranoid.

Meanwhile a very large wave of younger voters are just moving into voting age. By that I mean the real voting age: about 35. Almost no one under 35 votes consistently.

This younger cohort is more uniformly liberal than this country has ever seen. Yes, more liberal than the Boomers in the 60’s.

They are the country’s largest demographic and the leading edge of them will be 37 in time for the 2018 election. By the middle of the next decade half of them will have entered midlife and completely transformed our politics. Republicans are not remotely competitive among this demographic, struggling to hang on to second place in close competition from third parties.

In summary, it remains likely that Democrats will lose control of the Senate by a narrow margin in 2018, but this is the last stand of the Republican Party as we know it.

Current complete list of 2018 races:

Party State Current Holder
R Arizona Flake
D California Feinstein
D Connecticut Murphy
D Delaware Carper
D Florida Nelson
D Hawaii Hirono
D Indiana Donnelly
i Maine King
D Maryland Cardin
D Massachusetts Warren
D Michigan Stabenow
D Minnesota Klobuchar
R Mississippi Wicker
D Missouri McCaskill
D Montana Tester
R Nebraska Fischer
R Nevada Heller
D New Jersey Menendez
D New Mexico Heinrich
D New York Gillibrand
D North Dakota Heitkamp
D Ohio Brown
D Pennsylvania Casey
D Rhode Island Whitehouse
R Tennessee Corker
R Texas Cruz
R Utah Hatch
i Vermont Sanders
D Virginia Kaine
D Washington Cantwell
D West Virginia Manchin
D Wisconsin Baldwin
R Wyoming Barrasso

80 Comments

      1. And a contrasting report via CNN….polls are all over the place. Given Clinton’s plans to revisit FL this weekend, I’d say CNN is getting this state’s close race right.


        One week after we moved Nevada and Florida from “battleground” to “lean Democratic,” both states appear to be snapping back to their traditional toss-up status. Our new CNN electoral outlook places both states back in the “battleground” category and increases the up-for-grabs turf to six states and two congressional districts worth a total of 87 electoral votes.
        Clinton had not yet finished her two-day swing through the Sunshine State before her campaign let it be known that she would be back in Florida this weekend.
        Florida is also one of the handful of states where the Clinton campaign remains heavily on the air with campaign advertising and where it announced today that two closing argument ads will begin to be seen across the state.
        A new Bloomberg Politics poll putting Donald Trump a couple of points ahead of Hillary Clinton was some of the most welcome news the Trump campaign had to tout this week.
        Florida’s 29 electoral votes are the biggest prize on the map among competitive states and both campaigns plan to fight it out there all the way through November 8.
        In Nevada, polls continue to show it is a margin-of-error race between Clinton and Trump and both candidates are expected back in the Silver State before Election Day.
        A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows a dead heat with each candidate getting 43% of likely voters.
        As Trump continues to shore up his Republican support and improve his standing among Hispanics (though still losing this group by a wide margin), he is ensuring Nevada remains competitive all the way through Election Day.
        With the new changes to the CNN electoral outlook, our current snapshot has Clinton at 272 electoral votes from states either solidly or leaning in her direction. Trump has a total of 179 electoral votes from the states either solidly or leaning in his direction. That leaves 87 electoral votes currently up for grabs in the remaining battleground states.”

  1. This piece probably should go somewhere else but it is so delicious that I want to be sure you don’t miss it! I have C&P a few salacious quotes but – give yourself a treat – read.it.all. and smile – all the way through….By Charles Pierce, Esquire, who admits:

    “I’ve never been to Fatima, but I watched Sean Hannity Wednesday night when he was surrounded by the two Trump spalpeens, so I figure I’m covered….Good lord, people were fighting for space on the fainting couch all day on Thursday, too, and likely will be for the foreseeable future. Can we stop with the civics class pieties, please? … enough with the shocked faces from the pundits who drape themselves in imaginary togas and weep on cue for this assault on the fragile American democracy. This is nothing new….It has been an article of faith for the entire Republican Party for a quarter-century now that any elected Democratic president is prima facie illegitimate.”

    Enjoy!

    http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a49829/trump-wont-respect-election-result/

    1. I may be wrong but when all those people were saying Obama was born in Kenya, was not born in the United States, I can not name one Republican who stood up and said ‘Hogwash! Obama is as American as I am!” They all fed the monster and now the monster is feeding on them!

      Ryan is going to have a hell of a time running the House. He will probably have the majority by a few. And the Freedom Caucus will make sure nothing gets passed without their approval! Maybe Ryan will not even be elected Speaker! That would be a kick in the pants.

      1. Mary,
        Correct. i remember that now that you remind me!! Of course that was before Obama won. The Tea Party went bezerk with Obama in the White House!
        And then there was all the talk about Obama being a Muslim!
        At least we can all agree that Hillary is not a Muslim. Where she was born, well, that is probably up for debate:-))!

      1. Exactly. It will be interesting to see if McConnell makes “good” on his statement that the next president should appoint Scalia’s replacement. He is such a mean little man. Scalia was hardly cold before he was plotting and announcing that Obama would not be allowed to nominate his replacement. Most people who knew Scalia were issuing statements of condolence, not McConnell. (Disclaimer – I was not a Scalia fan.) Surely the political moves could have waited at least 24 hours….

        I feel certain that if elected, HRC will have her plans ready to go for the nomination. After all, her strength is detail and organization. I expect this area will be high on her list. Then, once inaugurated, I fully expect RB Ginsburg to retire in order to give Clinton the opportunity to push through a nominee of “her” choice and one who would reflect (never replace) Ginsburg’s intellect, pithy humor, and liberal views.
        We had better hope this election goes as expected.

  2. Brewer tells the truth about why Republicans can get away with what they do and why Republicans really do not fear insulting or ignoring certain groups. “They don’t vote!” Democrats will cause all sorts of raucous, loose votes of their base, all to protect the rights of people/groups who not vote Dem. Not Republicans!
    Minimum wages is a classic example. How many minimum wage workers vote Dem, if they vote at all? You don’t see republicans screaming about raising the minimum wage and loose business votes!
    To quote I think it was James Baker when the Republicans were doing something Jews didn’t like, and I paraphrase, “Screw “em! They don’t vote for us!”

    Not that i want Dems to be more like Republicans. But Dems have to figure out how to protect everyone and still win by getting people to just plain vote. Hillary will win this year but in my opinion only because she is running against a terrible Republican even the party can not stand! In very few states is Hillary running away with the vote. With Trump so bad, with so many faults, Hillary is not winning by 20/30%!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jan-brewer-hispanics_us_580b828ee4b02444efa3bd2f?section=

    1. Agree. The DNC has not done a good job of educating its base about the critical importance of voting. However, many minority voters are actively harassed when trying to vote and that has to change. I addressed this point more fully in a recent post about voter suppression in Off Topic.

      1. I am being very cautious about assuming that a large voter turnout automatically accrues to Dems favor. In the few states where it was possible to differentiate party votes, this has looked good for Dems. However, Republicans have just as much reason to turn out as Dems and their track record is much better. I continue to be amazed at the Trump signs in clearly upper middle class areas….I also think there are a lot of people who will vote Trump but are not proud of it and are closet supporters of his….I’m not taking anything for granted but I am hopeful that polling is accurately predictive of a decisive Clinton win – even if not a landslide.

      2. >] ““However, Republicans have just as much reason to turn out as Dems and their track record is much better.

        No. Very much no, and the numbers prove it.

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/election-update-trump-may-depress-republican-turnout-spelling-disaster-for-the-gop/

        Normally a nominee, Republican or Democrat, consolidates around 90% of their party heading into an election. That was the case for Romney and President Obama heading into the election in ’12. To date however, Trump’s only gotten around 80% of Republicans, hence why pundits and the media have been slack jawed over college-educated whites, a Republican constituency since freakin’ forever, moving into Clinton’s column.

        When you talk about Republicans “having just as much reason as Democrats to turn out”, I think what you mean is all the rhetoric surrounding the Supreme Court and other issues and HILLARY CLINTON that’s important to a lot of groups of Republicans. If not, feel free to correct me.

        True as that is though and while that’s certain to motivate a lot of them to come out and vote, it’s just not enough. Ground games and GOTV efforts, as you well know, aren’t there just for show. There are boatloads of Republican-leaning voters out there that need courting and consistent contact over months if you want to get them to the polls. Abandon all that effort, as Trump has done, and you risk them not showing up at all.

        Of course, that’s not even taking into account all that is the short-fingered vulgarian that is Trump to depress turnout and, well, just the idea that he can’t win and so what’s the point?

        All that aside, I’m not at all suggesting that high turnout would make Tennessee competitive. There are some states that just aren’t going to flip no matter how crazy Election Day gets.

      3. That is exactly what I meant. To think that Trump garners 80% of Republican vote is sickening…it may not be enough but it is a huge “tell” about how sick the party and its base are.

        I understood where you were going….just making the point that Republicans who normally vote are still going to vote…or, as the polls indicate, at least 80 fricking percent of them.

  3. Excellent article in National Review about intellectual conservatism vs. populism. The whole piece is worth reading, but the last few paragraph is the author’s recipe for thoughtful conservatives who want to rebuild after Trump:

    “The triumph of populism has left conservatism marooned, confused, uncertain, depressed, anxious, searching for a tradition, for a program, for viability. We might have to return to the beginning to understand where we have ended up. We might have to reject adversarianism, to accept the welfare state as an objective fact, to rehabilitate Burnham’s vision of a conservative-tinged Establishment capable of permeating the managerial society and gradually directing it in a prudential, reflective, virtuous manner respectful of both freedom and tradition.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/441325/donald-trump-republican-party-2016-old-challenges-populism

    1. That was a fine read, Armchair! I learned a great deal about the origins of the Republican Party, its evolution and why a DJT could succeed within its borders. I rarely read the NR but pieces like this are imminently worthy and I benefited.

      I’m interested in Chris’ thoughts on the piece. Chris?

      1. Viking

        Something that jumped out at me was, as the article progressed, the author’s references to the GOP became increasingly scarce. By the end it isn’t clear if the author thinks the future of conservatism lies within the GOP. To me this provides further evidence that a schism is approaching.

    2. I looked up Matthew Continetti (author of piece in NR Armchair posted), and found so many interesting points about where he comes from intellectually, practically, and personally. I’m not denigrating his article above – I found it most interesting and very well written – but it helps me, as a liberal, better understand how he, as a conservative, frames his thoughts. I think you’ll be interested as well.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Continetti

      1. That comment jumped out at me as well. It diminished his credibility a bit with me and seemed out of sorts with the erudition of the rest of his piece. I really want to understand where conservatives are coming from and pieces like Continetti’s are helpful….I am most definitely NOT a Wm Kristol fan but don’t fault his daughter for her genetics nor Continetti for his affections therein.

    3. “We might have to return to the beginning to understand where we have ended up. We might have to reject adversarianism, to accept the welfare state as an objective fact, to rehabilitate Burnham’s vision of a conservative-tinged Establishment capable of permeating the managerial society and gradually directing it in a prudential, reflective, virtuous manner respectful of both freedom and tradition.”

      I believe the starting event that ended in today’s GOP crackup was the Southern Strategy, where Republicans sacrificed their party’s longterm health to win elections now using the wedge of racism.

      It’d be awesome if they rejected adversarialism and all those good things in the article, but first they have to undertake to reeducate a large swath of their own base who have been radicalized by 30 years of extremist talk radio hosts like Limbaugh. My facebook teaches me daily that about 1/3 of the GOP base will now believe literally any nonsense, no matter how ridiculous. One of my Trump-lovin’ friends, for example, believes our own NSA hacked the DNC and dumped the emails onto WikiLeaks. Why? Who knows. Obama being a Muslim (as if that were something bad) is a given with this crowd.

      Either that or they’ll have to jettison the deplorables they used in the Southern Strategy, but then it’s hard to see how they win elections. ‘Tis quite the pickle. Maybe the Southern Strategy was a fatal error, and it’s best to just start over with a new name and everything.

  4. And while we’re on the subject of Senate races in ’18, where Democrats are obviously facing an uphill battle, it’s worth taking a look at the gubernatorial races for governor too. There, Democrats’ prospects are looking brighter and could be cause for celebration. If they don’t blow it, of course.

    Chris assuredly knows better than anyone what Rauner’s prospects for reelection in ’18 look like. How’s it looking for him over there in IL?

    Arizona will be an interesting case test of just how much Democrats are willing to invest long-term in the state. PPP did a state-wide politics poll in May, and newly elected AZ Gov. Ducey’s approval ratings were in the tank at 35% with a hypothetical Democratic opponent trailing, but only by six points, not exactly a favorable position for an incumbent governor.

    Democrats can make the state competitive in ’18 and while I’m skeptical of their chances to win, the results will shed light on what the political undercurrents portray for the Grand Canyon State’s future.

    Kansas. Sam Brownback is term-limited out, thank the goddess. Heaven help the good people of Kansas if they elect another nutjob.

    Florida. Rick Scott is term-limited out. YAY!!

    Democratic registration in the state took a sharp tick up this year, far exceeding that of Republicans, which is good, but Democrats are their own worst enemy in the state by way of their notoriously weak bench. Depending on how well they do in state Senate elections this year, Democrats could be looking at a decent freshmen class to shore up their prospects, but time will tell.

    Maine. Paul LePage is term-limited out. DOUBLE YAY!!

    LePage’s two terms can be chalked up to the weird way Maine votes and an Independent candidate who fielded a campaign he never had a realistic chance of winning. Thanks to an interesting ballot measure this November though, that process looks like it’s on its way to an overhaul.

    Democrats control the state House and Republicans control the state Senate, a chamber for which all its seats are up this November and which Democrats are looking to regain control. If they manage the flip, they’ll be looking for a trifecta of state control in ’18. With LePage’s notorious reputation, it’s likely Maine voters are eager for a change and the right Democratic candidate will be ripely positioned to take advantage.

    Massachusetts. Charlie Baker (R) has retained surprisingly strong approval ratings in the state, over 60% in the last poll taken. As a Republican governor in a solidly blue state, his record’s a moderate bag of things to like and dislike. He’s signed LGBT protections and those to help animals in hot cars (one which I wholeheartedly applaud the governor for), but he’s also opposed marijuana legalization and stands as a traditional Republican on most tax issues, though he has supported an expansion of the state’s EITC.

    Baker isn’t unbeatable, of course, but any Democrat who challenges him will have to win on the issues, which, of course, is where any political battle should ideally be. An underwhelming candidate like Martha Coakley ain’t gonna cut it.

    Michigan. Snyder’s won both his elections in the Republican wave years of ’10 and ’14. Term-limited out, and with an average mid-term election, Democratic prospects are looking good in a state that Republicans are finding themselves increasingly on the defensive in.

    Wisconsin. Scott Walker. On this one, I have to ask Chris. I remember you saying a while ago that Walker’s slashing of education funding pretty much nerfed his chances. You still holding to that or do you think he’s managed to recover himself enough to pull out a third term?

    There are other competitive races, but it’s getting late where over here and Mia (my other dog) keeps whining for me to talk her out for a walk. More later.

    1. Mia? Are we a two-blue scarf family? There are several Repub governors in the term limited group that I really don’t like, but none more than Scott Walker. LePage, Brownback, Scott, are all pretty reprehensible but Walker has a special place in my YUK book. He’s a sneaky, small man and he needs to go away.

      1. Just about everyone in any position to do something about it has a stake in keeping things the same. That’s really not how a structure reforms itself. There has to be an outside threat. Absent that, you get rot.

      2. But in a state like IL, whose Legislature is majority Democratic along with the major cities, wouldn’t this be considered an “outside threat” to conservatives? Or, are you saying that IL Republicans are so comfortable in their roles within the political structure led by Dems that they don’t want to risk making things worse?

      3. IL Republicans are boxed in on all sides. It would be one thing if they were only facing down the barrel of Democratic gerrymandering (which they are), but the near lock-step voting of minorities in the state virtually guarantees that they’ve nowhere to go. It’s why Chris called Gov. Rauner a bright spot early on, one who could’ve reached out to disaffected minorities, but he’s completely blown it and left his fellow Republicans without so much as a road map back to relevance.

        So it’s not that conservatives aren’t feeling threatened, but when you’ve hit rock bottom, you’ve got one of two choices: stand up and fight or give up. For all intents and purposes, Republicans have given up. Rauner was an opportunity that’s given way to despair.

        Ironically, reform may come by way of the Supreme Court. If, in the next few years, they rule on gerrymandering, that may open a path to more competition in the state. It wasn’t so long ago that IL Republicans held a majority in the state Senate. Still, without a unifying message and appealing to minorities, that’s won’t count for much in the long run.

      4. I hope gerrymandering is killed. It is abused by both parties but far more so by Republicans – at least in this day and age. I want all people, regardless of party affiliation, to have a real opportunity to participate in the Democratic process and genuinely be able to affect change.

  5. Interestingly enough, Democrats losing W. Virginia would also means losing their most conservative member, and while I don’t pretend to know how Bayh in Indiana would stack up by comparison, it does portend a Democratic Party, represented in Washington, that’s growing progressively more to the left.

    That aside, a question. Hillary Clinton’s openly said that one of her priorities will be rebuilding the Democratic Party at the state level. One of the reasons Democrats got walloped in ’14 was that they ran away from President Obama, demoralized their base and effectively ran around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. Of course they were going to suffer losses that year no matter what, but they made a bad situation that much worse.

    How does Clinton translate her operation into investments and efforts that will help down-ballot Democrats stave off unnecessary losses? That, and her performance as president, will play a big role in deciding whether Dems get shellacked again or endure acceptable losses.

    1. The reasons Dems got beat bad in 2012 & 14 were because they sat on their duffs. They got lazy. They forgot about everything but POTUS. Unlike Republicans who are not learning anything from this fiasco, Democrats appear to have learned from their shellacking. Worst thing they did was get rid of Howard Dean. I hope Robby Mook gets a prominent role in strengthening the Blue Wall.

  6. Chris, your analysis for the senate in 2018, I believe is right on the money. However, I do believe that the D’s will do better in 2018 than is generally expected. I have no hard facts to back this, but I do think that the 2016 election is going to be such a wipeout for the R’s that there will be residual effects into 2018. These will include additional voter participation and perhaps increased enthusiasm on the D side. Additionally, the D’s now recognize the importance of the state parties. They will be putting a lot of emphasis on preparing for the 2020-21 redistricting process, so they will want to get state control back to the maximum possible extent. 2018 is critical to doing this, since many of the key gubernatorial contests are during the midterms. So though I have no hard numbers or analysis, I am reasonably optimistic regarding the 2018 elections. That being said, everything really depends on weather the D’s can do a good job of governance.

    1. I agree with everything you said, TMerritt, even “it will depend upon whether Democrats can do a good job of governance”.

      You can bet your whiskers that Repubs will be doing all in their power to keep Clinton from demonstrating that she and Dems, by extension, can govern. IF she gets an overwhelming result, it will be interesting to see how Repubs analyze that win. Will they say it’s a “Trump one-off”? Or will they give Clinton any credit. I would guess the first, after all, they have been in denial for a long, long time about the inherent problems in the party. My guess is anything she achieves will be hard-fought and attained from her skills and knowledge of how to navigate the system and the players. There will be lots of little subplots going on within the GOP…the Freedom Caucus group, the Ryan contingent, along with the newly energized and larger House Dem caucus. We also don’t know how Trump is going to play his hand post-election. If Ladd is correct and he fades into the sunset, Hillary will “only” have to deal with Republican obstruction. I think she will surprise them. It’s time government worked “for” the people rather than for the party.

      1. Mary and All,

        This is relevant to your comment below as well, regarding the House. Very few people realize how effective Pelosi can be. She is highly respected by the Democratic Conference and consequently can exert a lot of influence on the members. Even if she does not have a majority, she will be able to do a lot in getting legislation moving. Remember the 111th Congress. Though she did have a strong majority, there was also a sizable Blue Dog Caucus. They had strong reservations on much of the legislation that was passed, but Nancy was able to get the job done. Every time she said she had the votes, she did.

        She knows her Conference and does take care of the members. Accordingly, they take care of her.

  7. Holy God did anyone see that Jake Tapper interview with Curt Schilling? That was the most painful interview I’ve seen in my life. The guy’s so nuts they might as well have interviewed my crazy uncle. In the middle of the interview Schilling asked Tapper to explain to him why, as a Jew, do Jews vote Democrat because the Democratic Party apparently hates Israel. That… I watched that happen. I’m not going crazy I think.

  8. I think you’re mildly optimistic (or is it pessimistic for an ex-R?) about 2016 and very optimistic (or whatever) for 2018. Right now the polling shows a pretty even split. It’s true that in almost every election since 1998 the winning side has pretty much run the table and taken every tossup but I don’t see that as guaranteed yet. 2018 will be VERY tough for the Dems. The demographics of retirees are starting to move towards them but they won’t have moved all that much by 2018. In addition, disillusionment with Clinton is very likely as she has this great exciting platform which will probably see almost no implementation because the R’s will hold the House.

    2014 was an R+6 election and demographic shifts will make 2018 an R+4 election if nothing else changes. Assuming the Republicans hold the House and don’t implode over Trump (both possible, but far from certain) the politics won’t change much. That will be a truly brutal election for D’s. They’ll probably lose every seat in a red state, even Tester’s (Montana). Even swing states will mostly go against them. Your scenario, I think, is likely only with at least one of the swan-ish events: the Dems taking the House and implementing much of Hillary’s agenda, or a civil war splitting the Republican party *and* not getting papered over for a ‘defeat Hillary at all costs’ campaign in 2018.

    1. Fair, it’s true that enough old white people won’t move over or die (sorry seniors) by 2018, but the registration for Hispanics and other minorities this year is through the roof. In addition, the Millennials will be 2 years older, and hopefully wiser, and might use their power in numbers to influence elections (with Dems getting their fair share).

      All that aside, it makes the first two years of HRC’s term of critical importance. Even without taking the House, Dems might have enough votes to get more done in concert with a Dem Pres and Dem Senate (even w/o a Dem majority). One of the strengths of HRC is her years around the federal government in various capacities. She “knows” how to work the process. She also has a deserved reputation as someone who works across the aisle to get things done. These attributes will serve her and our nation, well.

      Here’s a most interesting look at some things that are simmering on the back burner should/when Dems take Potus/Senate. The House may be a problem or not. If it is, she’ll just have to deal with it. Point is, we have to try to make government work for the American people. If she leads this effort with the skills and knowledge she has garnered over decades, it is going to be hard to block her like Repubs blocked Obama. He was hopeful (as he should have been) and less knowledgeable about how government works. She is an old dog that knows all the tricks and she is tough. And, I promise you, she probably already has the playbook written. Take a look here at how she might get infrastructure M&O done.

      https://newrepublic.com/article/138023/huge-corporate-tax-cut-hillary-clinton-doesnt-talk?utm_source=New+Republic&utm_campaign=364ed55854-Daily_Newsletter_10_21_1610_21_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c4ad0aba7e-364ed55854-59579285

      1. We’ll leave aside the possibility of a smashingly great Clinton presidency, which I think is unlikely, and requires one of my discounted “swan-ish” events (D House) anyway.

        In many of the states we’re talking about, Latinos and Millennials aren’t going to help. I saw one of those “if only XX voted” maps for Millennials, and it was somewhat surprising how many states Trump still one. I can’t find the link (sorry), but, roughly, he still won everything in the Mississippi-Missouri drainage basin – including the hot states of Missouri, Montana, and North Dakota. Indiana, I suspect, is pretty close. None of these states are seeing large influxes of Latinos either. So this mechanism isn’t going to help much in the states most at risk.

        The changes from age and race are already baked into my R+6 to R+4 assessment. Demographics is slow. I don’t see any reason for a massive speedup in the next two years, and certainly not in the mostly red states where the D Senator face brutal headwinds. Hypothetically there could be an effect from registering existing Latinos but that’s only going to be an issue in states with lots of Latinos. Mostly they’re in big urban areas and southwestern states, which are already blue except for AZ and TX. TX is not going to move THAT far by 2018, and AZ would be Flake – perhaps he’ll be at risk but so far he seems pretty capable at navigating the political shoals.

      2. Jeff Flake is one of the good Republicans who I hope the people of AZ are smart enough to keep. The only states where Hispanic voter registration increases could matter this election are AZ and FL, in my opinion. By 2018/20 if demographic changes continue to expand for minorities and millennials, I think Dems will continue to gain. Whether Dems can beat back the odds of 2018 given the number of seats that they will have to defend is something I am going to start thinking about Nov.9th (-;

  9. “To put it another way, the fresh new oldsters are incrementally less likely to believe crazy shit they read on Facebook or Breitbart and incrementally less paranoid.”

    Nonsense.

    Replace Breitbart and ‘True Conservatives’ with your ‘True Progressive’ rag of choice, and you have the frothing madmen (and women, and non-gender binary nonheirarchical entities) who honestly deeply profoundly believe Clinton stole the nomination from Bernie using statistical analysis they invented, and any amount of reality doubles them down hard core against the mainstream media lies and establishment figures that resist Progress.

    These are people less interested in discussing the issues and raising awareness and more interested in ‘shutting people down’ and ‘being woke.’ They’ve been activated and they are starting to lay down their groundwork. They may not be as advanced as the various competing conservative ideologues, but they’re definitely aspiring to be.

    And they inhabit the same Internet we do, with its same echo chamber feedback loop of algorithmic confirmation bias. The only significant difference between age and generations in their type of thinking is that they’re starting from different assumptions than the dying off white nationalists. Other than that, their thinking and behavior and ideology based on false premises is the same ridiculousness as any other person.

  10. Viking

    Claire McCaskell IS badass. During her last campaign, she contributed financially to the craziest GOP candidate–Todd Akin. Akin won the nomination and, after his “legitimate rape” comment, McCaskell sailed to victory. Don’t underestimate her tenacity.

  11. If Rubio had kept his word and not run his seat would flip. This race depends on turn out. I think Rubio most likely will win but it is by no ways a slam dunk.
    Old people are divided. My sister in law. 70 is a big Trump suporter. My wife 68 places Trump mailings into the bag she puts the car litter in. She detests him. Both are Georgians, although the wife has lived in central Florida the last 40 years.

    1. Your wife also has you for good influence, Stephen (-; and, that matters. Women are becoming better at thinking independently but in your sister-in-law’s generation, that is not so true. (no personal offense meant) Frequently, women voted as their husbands did. I am happy to say this is becoming less the case now.

      1. She does not always vote with my choice. And has told me time to go to the polls so we can cancel each other out. Southern men like strong women. Which may also explain why good old boy Bill married Hillary. I have been a super voter since I was eligible to vote. In the first month we were married, I put the wife on my banking accounts, got our copy of our marriage license and register her to vote. Her family rarely voted at that time. Since that time she has voted every election. And my two daughters registered to vote as soon as eligible and they also are super voters although do not always vote the same as Daddy. Studies have shown any organization that includes some women in leadership positions always run better than those who do not. If it were not for women most likely we would be saddled with a dangerous demagogue for president. I say you go ladies.

      1. I’d vote for Perry over Cruz, in a nanosecond. It’s very likely that I vote in the GOP primaries next time, because in TX-22 that’s usually where most of the chance to have an impact is. The resulting junk mail can go to the bird cages.

    1. Trump’s alienation of Republicans has made Texas competitive at the national level before it rightly should’ve been, but Democrats still need a few more years of demographic change and investment before that really cements in.

      That said, Republicans smell blood in the water with Cruz and he knows it. They’ll go all in to destroy him in the primary, and barring a truly monumental turnaround, I don’t see how he avoids it.

      1. Gov. Martinez hasn’t said yet, but I can’t think of anywhere else for her to go if she intends to stay in politics. I don’t think she’s hugely popular, but then Sen. Heinrich isn’t either. He might be a softer target than any of our Representatives.

      2. Couldn’t say one way or the other right now. If I were in her position, I’d be paying very close attention to the national state of the GOP right now over the course of the next two years and keeping my cards very close to the vest.

        With things continuing to spiral downwards, I might make some noise just to keep my national profile in the public’s eye and for anyone worth keeping in contact, but then I’d pull back and focus my efforts elsewhere, with whatever opportunities came up.

      3. Okay, with these answers above I want to put forth my impression.

        Susana Martinez has no future on the national stage. She’s only ‘an up and coming Republican talent’ solely for the demographics (Latina, woman).

        The majority of her time in office has been quiet, except when she sticks her neck out to advance some socially conservative cause. An example: she’s trying to bring back the death penalty, an issue that precisely ZERO people anywhere in this country prioritize or think are a major matter of debate or consideration.

        The Republicans in New Mexico generally like, but don’t love, her, and the rest don’t like her. She only won her re-election bid in 2014 because the Democratic opponent didn’t even really run. He was registered but there was no website, no campaign points, no ads, no money.

        If Gov. Martinez wants to become Sen. Martinez, she’s going to have to start creating a national profile for herself, and all that’s going to do is unearth all the times she privatized public services almost invariably exclusively for companies out of Arizona.

        If she’s competitive against Heinrich, it’s because Heinrich isn’t a very good senator. That I’m not sure about either way. I don’t know much about Heinrich.

        Thanks for your input, Mary, Ryan, and Creigh.

      4. Martinez seems to be a nice lady and a genuinely decent human being. She’s also a bush league provincial politician. She’s been a reasonably good caretaker Governor in New Mexico, doing nothing that would be considered either visionary or catastrophic, but she’s not terribly clever or talented. If she tries to step up a level she’ll get eaten alive.

      5. “No future on the national stage.” Yeah, among other things not angry enough for today’s GOP, and no real accomplishments to recommend her as an establishment candidate.

        Her two signature issues have been no drivers licenses for undocumented people, and recently, reinstating the death penalty. The first could indicate political ambition, the second maybe ambition or just her background as a prosecutor.

        On the other hand, I don’t think Sen. Heinrich is bulletproof either.

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