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14 Factors to Watch in the 2014 Midterms

Everything you need to know to become an expert on the November elections.

by
Patrick Reddy

Bio

April 16, 2014 - 11:56 pm
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President Obama and the Democrats clearly have had a case of the winter blues that could well carry over into the fall elections.  Republican David Jolly’s upset win in a Florida special election in a district that President Obama had carried twice is a warning sign that it will be extremely difficult for Democrats to re-take the House of Representatives – and Democratic control of the US Senate is now in even more jeopardy.  Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus is now gleefully predicting a GOP tsunami that will wash over the entire country, Red, Purple and Blue states alike.  Michael Barone, co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, titled a column after the Florida election “Democrats are going down with Obama-Care” and compared them to the French generals who quickly lost to the German Army in 1940.

And Americans are generally in a foul mood: every independent survey in the first quarter of 2014 showed that by margins of at least 2-1, voters believed that the country was on the wrong track.  With the President’s job approval consistently below 50% in 2014, the voters will likely take out their discontent on his party.

Mid-term elections are historically a forum for the opposition: in over 85% of off-year elections in the past century, the President’s party has lost seats.  To govern is to choose as the old saying goes, and choosing policies invariably creates opposition that shows up in the next mid-term election.  Beyond history, the Democrats have more Senate seats to defend this year (21 compared to 15 for Republicans).  Even worse, 7 Democratic Senate seats – in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia – are up in states carried by Mitt Romney two years ago with Republicans needing a net gain of six to take Senate control.  So, it was always the longest of long-shots for Democrats to make gains this year.  The historical odds already favored a Republican win in 2014 – and they still do.  The question is: will the GOP win big or small?

The early polls point to a sizable Republican edge: in the “generic” question on which party voters want to see controlling Congress, the Democrats have not been above 50% since the government shutdown went badly for Republicans last fall.  And undecided voters often break against the President’s party in the end.  As of this writing, Republicans clearly have the advantage.  To guess the size of their possible victory, we can try answering these 14 key questions….

1. Will the “Six-Year-Itch” Continue? 

Historically, mid-term elections in the sixth year of a party’s control of the White House have often seen big losses: in 1918, the Democrats lost both Houses of Congress after World War I, FDR’s Democrats lost over 70 House and 7 Senate seats in the recession of 1938 amid a controversy over FDR’s plan to “pack” the Supreme Court with Democratic appointees, the Republicans lost 48 House seats and 13 in the Senate in the sharp recession of 1958, the Democrats dropped 47 in the House in 1966 due to Vietnam and race riots,

Republicans lost 48 House seats in the 1974 Watergate election and Democrats took both Houses back in 2006 during George W. Bush’s second term.  The reason for these defeats is that an Administration usually runs out of steam in the second term and voters are less forgiving of policy errors.  With the various Obama-Care problems, Middle East turmoil and a stagnant economy, the potential for Democratic losses in the Senate is large.  Expert handicapper Charlie Cook rates only two Republican Senate seats as vulnerable while he sees at least eight Democratic seats as in trouble.

2. Will The Tea Party Keep Winning GOP Primaries? 

Since 2009, when grass-roots conservatives began to organize in opposition to the President’s health care plan and housing bailouts, “Tea Party” candidates have repeatedly upset the Republican Establishment in primaries, most famously Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and in Indiana when six-term incumbent Richard Lugar lost.  This year, the most prominent Tea Party effort is in Kentucky where a staunch conservative, businessman Matt Bevin is seeking to oust Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (after 30 years in the Senate).  Other GOP primary races to watch are Mississippi where six-term Senator Thad Cochran is only slightly ahead of State Senator Chris McDaniel and in Georgia where former Secretary of State Karen Handel just won the support of Sarah Palin in an open-seat race.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The biggest "#15" factor is the level of election fraud. Keep in mind that in Colorado now at least 19 of our 62 counties now have more registered voters than they have men, women, children, and household pets according to the US Census. Several more have 95%+ registration rates. Which is far in excess of the normal 50% or so registration rate. Amazing what happens when you have a Democrat governor, and a Democrat legislature, and an Institutional Republican Party that will not stand and fight for anything.

If the election is not legitimate, the Democrats may make gains; but there will be a cost.

Subotai Bahadur
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But as of this writing, Republicans appear to hold most of the winning cards."

That's the good news. The bad news is that if Boehner remains speaker of the house and McConnell become senate majority leader, nothing much at all will change. 6 of one will go to 5.9 of the other.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The biggest "#15" factor is the level of election fraud. Keep in mind that in Colorado now at least 19 of our 62 counties now have more registered voters than they have men, women, children, and household pets according to the US Census. Several more have 95%+ registration rates. Which is far in excess of the normal 50% or so registration rate. Amazing what happens when you have a Democrat governor, and a Democrat legislature, and an Institutional Republican Party that will not stand and fight for anything.

If the election is not legitimate, the Democrats may make gains; but there will be a cost.

Subotai Bahadur
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Them Dems are working hard on number 4 as we speak. The race hustling is all they got left and they even have white dems spewing nonsense so the minorities will get really pissed off and come out and vote.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is nothing the Democratic Party can do to hold the Senate.

However, the Republican Party can hand the Senate to the Democrats like they did in 2010 and 2012.

It will be hard for the GOP to blow it in 2012, but they do have a lot of experience.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"There is nothing the Democratic Party can do to hold the Senate."

Sure there is; cheat, like they always do.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ironic you mistakenly wrote 2012. Republicans did everything they could to lose the 2012 election, starting with the nomination of the ONLY candidate in the field that COULD NOT POSSIBLY win.

Let's hope and pray the same mistakes are not made this year and in 201^, because if they are, I GUARANTEE that 2016 will represent the very last election this nation will see.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
As was done in NV in 2010 in the Angle/Reid race. As much as Harry Reid is reviled in NV, Ms. Angle had too much taint of crazy on her to win. Tarkanian or Lowden could have easily beaten Harry. I've been curious about how Angle managed to win the primary in the first place. . .
And, with recent events, many in NV are wishing ANYONE but Harry Reid was Senator.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wasn't Lowden the woman who said people should pay their doctors with chickens?

I thought that's how Sharon Angle got the nomination.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I live in NV & it appears to me that Dirty Harry just "owns" too much influence.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
16. Will Nate Silver only be half right about his prediction for the 2014 election and have to change his blog to 269?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
15. Will the left engage in an orgy of cheating and intimidation because they know they can?
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bingo. I am probably of the conspiratorial school of modern American politics ,but I believe that the Dems have stolen a number of close elections. These would include the pinch faced a-hole Senate majority leader Reid and the Minnesota clown boy Franken. The party is controlled by corrupt, amoral thieves and gangsters. Law and ethics mean nothing to them.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But as of this writing, Republicans appear to hold most of the winning cards."

That's the good news. The bad news is that if Boehner remains speaker of the house and McConnell become senate majority leader, nothing much at all will change. 6 of one will go to 5.9 of the other.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
The biggest danger for Georgia Republicans is if their primary gets too nasty. This becomes even more of a danger in a run-off. If the Party can unify behind the winner, they should hold the seat. Michelle Nunn's viability is only her name, the early polls are reflecting that.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nasty primaries have been the problem? Yeah, right.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It happens. See NV Senate race in 2010.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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