Anyone who follows my Twitter feed (@ukprogressive) knows that for much of this current cycle I have been sceptical of political pollsters, even my guru Nate Silver and his fivethirtyeight.com site. Poll taking and politics have intersected in unseemly ways over the last six years. These polls now overtly reflect the bias of the political leanings of the poll taking organisation rendering much of the data we see meaningless. Simply, if worded correctly, one can get a poll to produce whatever result one wishes. Except polling fiction has been exposed over the last 20-months with alarming regularity.
In contests across the USA, politicians have been blindsided by their internal poll takers. None more so than Mitt Romney in 2012, who was convinced he was headed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by his internal pollsters. The worst, though, was the recent ‘surprise’ loss in his primary by Majority Leader Eric Kantor. All of this leads me to believe the current conventional wisdom figures asserting with 55-65% certainty that the Republicans will take control of the US Senate in November… equally meaningless.
The Republican/GOP/Tea Party crazies will be out in full swing over the next 67 days threatening to shut down the government over any Immigration pronouncement by the White House and their threat to Impeach President Obama. House members for whom you consistently hear the Bugs Bunny Looney Tunes theme song playing in the background when they speak, Steve King, Louie Gohmert, Michelle Bachmann, former member Allan West and Tea Party Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, will ringlead this “we just can’t help ourselves from speaking crazy’ caucus.
Add in federal indictments on 2012 Iowa Caucuses bribes and the recent Texas indictment of Rick Perry (something the MSM fails to report was brought by a Republican appointed prosecution team), and blatantly bald faced lying party leaders will lead the electorate to tire of rote talking points. Indeed if Chris Jansing were to instead take over the moderator’s chair of NBC’s Meet the Press, they might actually be called to task on their nonsense, live on national TV. Why are they not currently called on their rubbish? The MSM desperately need memes to push during low turnout midterm elections.
My own prognostication history is pretty solid. I got Missouri wrong in the Presidential election of 2008 by 5,000 votes. That cost me a 100% clean sheet in that election. I then only blew North Carolina in 2012. So my current prediction is the Democrats lose four seats but control the Senate chamber 53-47 keeping seats in red states Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina. Here are my ten reasons why the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.
1. The Democratic ‘ground game’ vs. the GOP
The GOP announced with some fanfare they were spending $100 million dollars on get out the vote efforts. The key word is ‘spending’ as in trying to buy voter’s love. As the Beatles famously intoned, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love.’ The Dems will spend a similar amount but they know where every Democratic voter lives because of their superior data-mining infrastructure. Their poll ‘workers’ are volunteers whose passion drives them to bring people to the polls. The GOP has a long history of failed local and state party machines that cannot deliver voters on Election Day because their people will only work if paid to, an example of trickle-down capitalism, at its very best.
2. The Do-Nothing Congress
Every August for the last seven years candidate, then President Barack Obama, has had a miserable month of news and noise from the opposition Tea Party Town Halls. This year Gaza and ISIS kept the local crazies out of the headlines. And yet every year, just after Labor Day, the President goes on the attack and snatches victory from the jaws of MSM media predicted ‘certain defeat.’ Now with two years left, he has nothing to lose, so all fire will be aimed at the ‘least productive Congress in history.’ Whether scared Democrats want to see him on the trail with them or not, his is still the most powerful bully pulpit in the world. His tan suit Friday interrupted Ellen Degeneris’ show, that is real power. Congress’ continued failure to take action on behalf of jobs, wages, infrastructure, roadways, immigration… will seal the deal for Senate Democrats and in several close House races.
3. The Minority Report: Mitch’s Kentucky woes
The Minority Leader has had numerous challenges from a very strong Alison Lundgren Grimes. Every poll has them within the margin of error, something the very powerful Senior Senator from Kentucky is very worried about. Grimes’ messaging supporting Kentucky’s workers, Governor Basheer’s enthusiastic embrace of Obamacare and 300,000+ Kentuckians getting healthcare for the first time resonates with likely voters. The news last week that premiums across the state could decrease by 2% next year was not good news for Mitch McConnell who fought to defeat Obamacare for six years. Add in his ‘off the cuff’ remarks to billionaires saying he and a GOP Senate would take care of them and his name in a growing Iowa Caucus bribery scandal, could lead to a very rough period for the Minority Leader.
4. Republicans when arrogant/confident make mistakes
My Republican friends have been arrogantly and cockily predicting they would cut the legs out from under President Obama for almost six years. As the President’s approval rating dipped to around 40% (something that has happened in every second-term presidency from Reagan to Clinton to Bush), the President can be excused for using Mark Twain’s misquote: “reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” RNC Chair Reince Preibus has looked giddy on television but… his fightbacks have been false talking point quotes repeated over and over again on FOX News. There are increasing signs the American public is on to this non-strategy strategy and it could backfire with independents who are eager to see something accomplished other than Congress suing the President; Benghazi and IRS investigations costing millions and going nowhere; and this groundless and silly impeachment drumbeat.
5. Republican War on Women continues unabated
New York Senator Kirsten Gilibrand wrote in her book about having her stomach grabbed by a male colleague and told, “don’t lose too much weight, I like my women with a bit more on their bones.” This Mad Men approach to women’s reproductive freedoms, birth control, rape (Todd Akin: “a woman’s body can just shut that down”), equal pay, forced transvaginal ultrasounds, and the elimination of women’s health clinics across the USA have had a accumulative effect on the Republican Party. They brush off 51% of the electorate in their boys club but the women of America are livid that 50 years of progress are being wiped out by this party and the Supreme Court.
6. Romneying Georgia’s GOP
Conventional wisdom is Georgia is a SOLID Red State. But no one counted on running against former Senator Sam Nunn’s daughter. Michelle is running a smart, focused campaign against financier David Purdue. What makes the race interesting are recent adverts portraying Purdue as an out-of-touch financier profiting from the woes of workers.
These adverts are very similar to the anti-Romney adverts about vulture capitalism at Bain that destroyed his Presidential candidacy.
Could the same happen in Georgia?
7. Arkansas, Obamacare and Pig Castration
Democratic Senator Mark Pryor is in the fight of his life in another presumably safe Red State. The GOP/Tea Party nominated perpetual gaffe machine State Senator Joni Ernst who was caught on tape suggesting the abolition of the minimum wage and was sketchy on her promise to protect Social Security, even though the GOP plans to convert it to a voucher system. This Tea Party darling was made famous by her pig castration advert in the primary.
What makes this campaign interesting is that unlike most democrats who run away, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor is also openly embracing Obamacare in his campaign.
Just like Republican attempts to defeat Majority Leader Harry Reid with Tea Party candidate Sharon (‘second amendment remedies’) Engel, it’s just a matter of time or soundbites before Ernst hangs herself.
North Carolina’s Republican Governor and the legislature’s radically conservative agenda are incredibly unpopular in this purple state that voted FOR President Obama in 2008, but against him in 2012. The Landrieu family of New Orleans has a long history of wining VERY close elections in Red State Louisiana. Conventional wisdom is both Hagan and Landrieu will lose and yet… they always seem to find a way. I predict they will this time as well.
9. Begich, Palin and the Dans
Alaska has long been a state of controversy. A Red state by nature, in what seemed to be an anti-Sarah Palin backlash, they elected Democrat Mark Begich to the US Senate the year she ran with John McCain. This race is the most expensive per vote in the nation due to the low number of voters spread across a huge state. They seem ready to send Begich home. But with two Dan Sullivans on the ballot, the confusion factor coupled with a lingering distrust and hatred of Sister Sarah seems to indicate victory for Begich is not out of the question. One thing we can count on… in Alaska, the Republicans always overplay their hand, no matter how weak it is.
10. They’ve come to bury Hillary and Barack not praise them
A lesson still to be learned by all political parties is it is not enough to just be against someone, you have to stand for something and be prepared to govern. Hatred of George W. Bush did not lead to wins for either Al Gore or John Kerry. The same can be said for John McCain and Mitt Romney. The GOP’s Achilles Heel is its abject hatred of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But as they fail to learn, you cannot govern if your agenda is to simply be blindly against the other candidate without ever offering a real alternative.
The American electorate is tired of the dysfunction and lack of work from this Congress. This is the biggest problem facing the Republican/GOP/Tea Party and why popping champagne corks is very premature, no matter what so-called ‘expert pollsters’ say!
Fasten your seatbelts. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride to 04 November.
Denis G. Campbell
The UK Progressive