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ę District Judge Rules That Chevron Was, In Fact, the Victim of a $16 Billion Fraud Scheme Directed By US Attorneys | Main | AOSHQDD- Primary Night in Texas Ľ
March 04, 2014

Charlie Cook: Yep, the Democrats Look Screwed Right Now

Well, at least that's what I got from this. Read on, but we are not responsible for any damages or staining that may result from your reaction to his blunt analysis.


Whatís changed is that Democratsí chances of holding onto their majority in the Senate is looking increasingly tenuous. There are now at least 10, and potentially as many as 13, Democratic-held seats in jeopardy. By contrast, only two GOP seats are in any meaningful danger, and that number hasnít changed in six months.

Things are starting to look grisly for Senate Democrats. President Obamaís approval ratings average 41 percent, basically where President George W. Bushís poll numbers were at this point before his own disastrous 2006 second-term, midterm election. And the Affordable Care Act, Obamaís signature legislative and policy achievement, is now even more unpopular than it was in October and November of 2010, when Democrats lost 63 seats, control of the House, and a half-dozen Senate seats. It doesnít help that midterm electorates tend to be older and whiter than in presidential elections. Obamaís current job-approval ratings are also worse than they were in October and November of 2010.

The two most likely legislative land mines for Republicans to step on between now and Election Day have been defused: The government is now funded, and Congress wonít need to lift the debt ceiling between now and November. As a result, it is not clear where the kind of break that Democrats need could emerge.

The Senateís playing field keeps getting larger and, at least so far, entirely at Democratsí expense. Three of their seats are, to put it charitably, uphill challenges. The open seats in South Dakota and West Virginia are pretty much gone [emphasis mine]. In Montana, itís unclear whether newly appointed Sen. John Walsh is in any better position, apart from fundraising, than he was when he was just the lieutenant governor running for an open seat. Between national party committees and super PACs, the amount of money raised by the candidates and their campaigns means less than ever before. With a handful of people in each party apparently ready to spend $50 million to $100 million of their own money on behalf of their favored candidates, a lot of things that used to be important arenít so much anymore.

Although it is getting surprisingly little attention, Democrat Carl Levinís open seat in Michigan is a toss-up; neither of the candidates is particularly strong or well defined, but the natural advantage that a Democrat in the Motor State could be expected to have is likely offset by ugly headwinds caused by radioactive Obama and ACA numbers. The same can be said for Tom Harkinís open seat in Iowa. In both states, the presumptive Democratic nominees have Obamacare votes to defend, but the highly problematic GOP nomination process in Iowa might well yield an exotic and unelectable contender.

Five Democratic incumbents now face tough races, Arkansasís Mark Pryor is in the most challenging situation, followed by Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), and Mark Udall (Colorado). Udall became the latest addition to the list when GOP Rep. Cory Gardner announced his candidacy Saturday. Also worth keeping a close eye on are Al Franken (Minnesota); Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire), if former Sen. Scott Brown runs; and Mark Warner (Virginia), who is as strong as a Democrat can be in that state but would be in trouble in the event of a meltdown. When there is a president with numbers this bad, even incumbents who might normally be OK need to be watched carefully, particularly if there is deeply unpopular policy weighing down the partyís candidates.

Cook goes on to try his best at working up some hope for the Democrats in Georgia and Kentucky, but admits they'd likely need to win both to have a real shot at retaining control of the Senate. That's not a position you want to be in when you are on the defensive in nearly a dozen contests.

From reading write-ups like this, watching the polling data, and seeing numerous gloomy exchanges among more left-of-center analysts on twitter (far more gloomy, I might add, than at any point in the 2010 or 2012 cycle), it's safe to say that the Democrats are now the underdogs in the fight for a majority.

Yes, I know it's early.

Yes, I know we've been burned before.

There's still plenty of opportunities for the Republicans to turn the gun around and blow themselves away.

But right now you can't help but crack a little smile as the Democrats really are, if only but for a moment, in disarray.

The latest Senate projection will be up later this week.


At the Federalist.

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posted by CAC at 06:49 PM

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