Dems want to create 2008 model for mid-terms, GOP will nationalize them
The consensus among election experts is the 2010 midterm elections are most likely to see Democrats lose seats in both the House and Senate. The question, of course, is how many? And, will they lose enough seats for the Republicans to take control of the House and/or Senate?
Dealing with the Senate first, the answer is “no”. The most likely number of seats picked up by the GOP is 7. That would give them 48 and a very strong minority. That may end up being better, in this case, than a majority. Certainly 48 will give them the power to stop just about anything in the Senate, and, if they so desire, pass legislation only with their amendments attached.
In the House, Republicans need 39 seats to take control. They’ll most likely pick up between 32 and 39. Even if they don’t hit that magic 39, they’ll have a much stronger minority that will have to be reckoned with by Pelosi and company to get anything done there.
You know it’s going to be bad for Democrats, because Joe Biden is sure it won’t be.
What that all means is even if the GOP doesn’t have control of Congress after the midterms (and many argue – to include myself – that perhaps they’re better off not having control), they will have a considerably stronger hand then now in the national legislature.
Which brings us to the emerging campaign strategies of each party. On the GOP side, it appears that Republicans want to “nationalize” the elections. I.e. they want to make the midterms a referendum on the Obama administration. You’ll be seeing they tying everything back to the first 2 years of the Obama presidency, the economy, the oil spill and the out-of-control spending. I don’t think it will be hard to sell.
Given the precedent set under the Bush administration when Democrats successfully made all elections referendums on the presidency, it has become accepted by voters that party equals president and they act in concert. Hence the way you punish the president and his party is to turn out members of Congress that represent that party – or variations on that theme.
Given that, the Democrats will obviously attempt to counter the GOPs strategy by keeping things “local” if possible. How well that will work, given the tumultuous two years of the Obama presidency and the fact it is Congress under Democratic leadership which has passed deeply unpopular legislation, is anyone’s guess. Mine is it won’t work very well. Votes for health care and stimulus, for instance, will be key “national” topics with which GOP candidates will hit incumbent Democrats.
Which then leaves Democrats trying to fashion a Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy which they hope will re-create their 2008 electoral victory.
To avoid such losses, the Democratic National Committee has committed to spending tens of millions of dollars to re-create (or come somewhere near re-creating) the 2008 election model, in which Democrats relied heavily on higher-than-normal turnout from young people and strong support from African American and Hispanic voters.
They’re talking turnout here, not percentages – for instance, African-Americans have always voted in the 90% area for Democrats. The percentage they need in this election is 90% of African-Americans showing up at the polls. Same with Hispanic and young voters.
And that is the job the DNC plans on giving Obama in the lead up to the November vote.
The likelihood of that happening, however, is not especially good. We’ve been chronicling the “enthusiasm gap” for months. The far left is let down. Independent voters are disenchanted and the right is very enthusiastic about “change” again.
Funding is also drying up for Democrats. The latest big donors to drop Democrats are from Wall Street – a traditional well-spring of funding for the party.
The bottom line here is the stars seem to be lining up for the GOP in the midterms, barring any unforeseen event which might mitigate their advantage. The question will be have you had enough of hope and change as a billboard in NE Minnesota presently asks. Conventional wisdom says the answer will be a pretty resounding “yes”. The only question is how much they want to change the status quo.