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Wargaming the U.S. Senate

Would Harry Reid make an excellent Senate minority leader? Indeed he would.

by
Stephen Green

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June 5, 2014 - 12:04 am
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“The wonderful thing about gridlock, is gridlock’s a wonderful thing — it entails a do-nothing Congress that can mess up hardly a thing!”
—Not A.A. Milne

There’s nothing Washington hates more than gridlock, because it takes the truth out of Gideon Tucker’s observation that “no man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” And to the ambitious redistributionist, where’s the fun in that? More urgently, there will still be plenty of nominees in need of Senate approval over the next couple of years, and maybe even a Supreme Court vacancy or two. This, more than any other reason, may be why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dropped the nuclear option on presidential nominee filibusters — President Obama only has a couple years left to fill various benches and various cabinet positions with various radicals, and believe it or not there’s still plenty of damage to be done to this once-great nation. Forward!

To this I say: Harry Reid would make an excellent Senate minority leader.

So let’s take a look at the state of play for the U.S. Senate.

My friend Tom Dougherty is a serious numbers guy, and he sees “the odds of a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate has increased to 73.5%; with a 55.5% chance of an eight seat pick-up now.” Tom’s dark-horse pickup for the GOP is Dr. Monica Wehby, up against incumbent Dem Jeff Merkley. Wehby’s campaign theme is “Keep your doctor. Change your Senator,” and I would wet myself if she won on that platform.

I’m not (yet) feeling quite as positive as Dougherty is, probably because I like to start with RCP’s poll averaged page — and not just because the map is so pretty and useful. Averaging mostly filters out the outlier poll results, giving you a solid foundation on which to build more etherial prognostications. As of this writing, RCP gives the Donks 40 seats either safe or not up for election, and the Phants 41 seats. Add in the races rated “Likely” wins for each party, and the numbers go up to 43 for the Democrats and 45 for Republicans.

That gives us a grand total of 12 seriously contested races out of 32 being held this year, or about 38% of the open seats. In the House, RCP’s averages show that only 43 races are at all competitive, or under 20%.

The GOP looks to score easy pickups in South Dakota and West Virginia, where the sitting Democrats figured it would be better to retire with dignity than to lose to upstart Republicans. A similar story is being played out in Montana, where the big name Democrats elected to sit out, rather than face Republican Congressman Steve Daines (read PJ Media’s coverage of that race here). The Likely Dem races include zero pickups — just Al Franken, Brian Schatz, and Mark Warner hanging on for their party in Minnesota, Hawaii, and Virginia, respectively. Leaning Dem again includes no pickups in Michigan’s open seat, and Shaheen and Merkley hanging on in New Hampshire and Oregon.

For those keeping score at home, the score is now tied at 46 seats apiece, with eight left in the Toss Up column. The Republicans must net five of those eight in order to demote Harry Reid, and of those eight seats, six of them are currently warmed by Democratic bottoms.

In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell fended off his Tea Party primary challenger without breaking a sweat and now faces Democratic Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state. Grimes scored a convincing win in 2011, but it’s hard to picture a 35 year old with a thin resumé unseating an experienced campaign war horse like McConnell. I suspect this will turn out like Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful run against Ted Kennedy in 1994 — after a good fight, the incumbent will prevail without too much trouble.

Top Rated Comments   
"Would Harry Reid make an excellent Senate minority leader? Indeed he would. "

That would certainly be an improvement over his present position, but really, it would still be a waste of his talent.

I really think he's much better suited for being an inmate.

Gitmo would do nicely.


12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd love to see Merkley turned out of office. He voted for the UN Arms Control resolution that encouraged signatory countries (like the US) to confiscate privately owned firearms. That, of course, is a direct violation of the Second Amendment, which Merkley took an oath to protect and defend.

ELECT MONICA WEHBY!
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd be a bit more optimistic if the GOP weren't ready to slit its own throat by passing amnesty. Nothing is going to keep the base from turning out in establishment candidate states like forcing that through.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (33)
All Comments   (33)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I hope you're right.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
The unilateral "executive orders" being issued out of the WH is clearly King Barry setting the stage for the loss of the Senate and retaining of the House by the GOP. He is showing he couldn't care less..he has a phone and a pen. Anyone doubt that??? Stay tuned.....
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Americans must push State legislators to force the vote to ratify this amendment. It will restore State Sovereignty and limit the Federals leaving them without income tax, Elected Senate, and fore the courts back under Article III limits - no more using the 14th amendment to rule over States.

http://articlevprojecttorestoreliberty.com/the-28th-amendment.html
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, of the 53 potential Republican seats, I wonder which four of them Reid plans on getting to vote to confirm Obama's Supreme Court nominations?

What, you don't really think he eliminated the filibuster without thing without planning for this, do you?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Would Harry Reid make an excellent Senate minority leader? Indeed he would. "

That would certainly be an improvement over his present position, but really, it would still be a waste of his talent.

I really think he's much better suited for being an inmate.

Gitmo would do nicely.


12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am getting EODU (early onset deja vu). As much as I would like to see the Republicans take the Senate, I can't help but remember all of the similar punditry & predictons in 2012. You'll have to excuse me for being a little gun shy under the circumstances.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's go with your optimistic prediction and assume that the balance is 53 Republicans 47 Democrats in the Senate for the next two years. The math for 2016 puts approximately 2/3 of those running that year as GOP and 1/3 as Dem. So unless the 2016 Presidential election is a GOP wave, it is likely that the new President's Senate will be majority Dem.

The gradient for turning the country around is formidable. We missed the last good "off-ramp" in November 2012. It would take a favorable version of a perfect storm to reverse the 2012 debacle. We would have to win enough Senate seats to AT LEAST reach 53, plus holding or increasing our majority in the House, plus winning the Presidency in 2016 -- with a strong candidate who had the right convictions and the toughness to stick to them -- plus holding on to or expanding the Senate majority. In addition the newly elected Senators have to be stronger and "less RINO" than the ones they are replacing. (That will probably happen in 2014.) And if all that happens we need one more critical thing.

That final thing is that the economic time bomb that the current regime has put into place does not go off during the first term of the new President. We will know that an economic disaster on the horizon will be the result of decisions made between 2008 and 2016. But the low information voter will blame the disaster on the person elected in November 2016.

So to turn things around we need at least two consecutive strong electoral wins, electing strong candidates, with strong convictions and the personalities that can persuade voters, PLUS a favorable economy that avoids disaster until at least December 2018.

If we get all those things there is a chance we can restore the country to something resembling what it should be. If any of those things are lacking, I fear that the best we can do is slow down the avalanche a bit. Are we on the cusp of a restoration? Or are we already in the early decades of the impending Dark Ages?
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd love to see Merkley turned out of office. He voted for the UN Arms Control resolution that encouraged signatory countries (like the US) to confiscate privately owned firearms. That, of course, is a direct violation of the Second Amendment, which Merkley took an oath to protect and defend.

ELECT MONICA WEHBY!
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd be a bit more optimistic if the GOP weren't ready to slit its own throat by passing amnesty. Nothing is going to keep the base from turning out in establishment candidate states like forcing that through.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
And yet the Amnestyville Horrors win time after time. Just watch what happens in Virginia between Brat and Cantor.

Who are these people? Who are these Republicans who keep giving power to the Amnestyites?

We have met the Amnesty, and it is us.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
The war on coal and the Bergdahl fiasco give Mark Warner two more things to run away from. I suspect Warner is beatable, but I'm not sure Ed Gillespie (assuming he is nominated by the state convention on Saturday) is the ideal candidate.

Virginia will be closer than people expect and may be a surprise.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Warner can be hung on his video supporting ACA ... if only YouTube can be persuaded to allow it to be broadcast. Or found.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gillespie seems like a good guy, but he doesn't appear to have enough fire to take down an incumbent like Warner. Still, it'd be awesome to be totally wrong.
12 weeks ago
12 weeks ago Link To Comment
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