Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Quick Senate Scorecard


Chuck Schumer, your next Democratic Senate Minority Leader (source)

by Gaius Publius

I want to offer a quick Senate scorecard for the upcoming election, not just races to watch and their current status, but the effect of the races on the "final score" — control of the Senate until the wipeout in 2018 puts the Republicans firmly in control.

To do this, I want to organize the races the way basketball or football analysts look at your favorite college team's upcoming season — games grouped by Should Be Easy, Tough Call, On the Bubble, Would Take a Miracle. For this exercise, we'll ignore the baked-in results in places like California (Democratic and will stay that way), and list the races to watch by these categories:
  • Washouts — four contests (IL, WI, OH, FL)
  • No Change — one contest (CO)
  • Possible Flips — three contests (NH, PA, IN)
  • Toss Ups — three contests (NV, NC, MO)
  • and one Wild Card race — Alaska
We will look briefly at these 12 races. Others may disagree, but it looks to me like these are the ones to watch.

For reference, the state of the Senate today is:
  • Republicans: 54 seats
  • Democrats: 44 seats
  • Independents: 2 seats (caucus with Democrats)
No independent is up for reelection this cycle. Democrats need a net pickup of +4 to tie in the Senate (50-50) and +5 to take it outright (ignoring for now the "60 vote rule" that makes sure no progressive legislation gets passed). Here are races in each group, with the likeliest outcomes by group in parentheses.

Washouts (+2 D)

The "washout" states are those where one party has conceded the race by withdrawing money. All four seats are held by Republicans. Two of the Democrats have washed out, as have two of the Republicans. These are:

Illinois, currently Republican
Winner should be Tammy Duckworth (D)

Wisconsin, currently Republican
Winner should be Russ Feingold (D)

Ohio, currently Republican
Winner should be Rob Portman (R)

Florida, currently Republican
Winner should be Marco Rubio (R)

Net result: +2 Democrats.

Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy in Florida, incumbent Republican Mark Kirk in Illinois, Democratic challenger Ted Strickland in Ohio, and incumbent Republican Ron Johnson in Wisconsin are doing badly enough that their parties either have already cut off the money (the two Republicans), or are close to doing so (the two Democrats).
I think most would call these races closed. (Note: Chuck Schumer actively interfered with progressive challengers in Florida and Ohio. The +2 Democrats could easily be +4 Democrats in this category, absent that interference.)

No Change

This category could be larger (I had the New Hampshire race here at first), but let's play it safe.

Colorado, currently Democratic
Winner should be Michael Bennet (D)

The Hill on Bennet:
Once viewed as one of the only ripe opportunities for Republicans, Bennet appears poised to sail to reelection. Republicans aren’t coming to the aid of Darryl Glenn, a county commissioner who trumpeted his conservative bona fides during the primary. But he’ll need to look beyond his base in a state that Obama carried twice and also has a large Latino population.
Michael Bennet is this guy, by the way, from 2014: "Shorter Republicans: "We forgive Michael Bennet for trying to win the Senate." Shorter Sen. Bennet: "Glad we're still friends.""

Possible Flips (+2 D, Maybe)

These are fairly close races where the Democrat could flip a Republican seat. I have three of these:

New Hampshire, currently Republican
Leader is Kelly Ayotte (R)

Pennsylvania, currently Republican
Leader is McGinty (D)

Indiana, was Republican, now open
Leader is Bayh (D)

If the current leader wins each seat: +2 Democrats, but this is iffy.

In New Hampshire, Ayotte is surging at the moment (+8 in the latest Marist poll), but she's coming from behind. Hassan could take it, but I'm not confident.

The Hill on the Pennsylvania race:
The presidential race appears to be trickling into Toomey’s reelection. Political observers in the state say he’s running a strong campaign, but his dip in the polls is largely thanks to the top of the ticket.

Toomey continues to withhold his support from Trump. But his opponent, Katie McGinty, a little-known former gubernatorial chief of staff, has been helped by Clinton’s consistent lead over Trump in the Keystone State. McGinty has maintained a lead since mid-July, though one survey has Toomey up 7 points.
RealClearPolitics has this race a wash, but I think Toomey has the edge. In Indiana, Bayh is only up by single digits, but has never trailed.

(Note: Chuck Schumer actively interfered with non-Democratic establishment Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary, who might easily have beaten Toomey. If Schumer-chosen candidate McGinty fails to win, it will be because of Schumer.)

Too Close To Call (A Wash)

There are three races here — Nevada, North Carolina, Missouri — and Republicans are defending two of the three seats. (Nevada is an open seat, but was Democratic.)

Nevada, was Democratic, now open
Joe Heck (R) has a slight lead over Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

North Carolina, currently Republican
Richard Burr (R) has a low single-digit lead over Deborah Ross (D)

Missouri, currently Republican
Roy Blunt leads Jason Kander (D), but not by much

Republicans flip one seat if all three leaders win. Most likely positive case for the Democrats is no change (two wins and one loss). If Democrats win out: +2 Democrats.

Subtotal (+2 D or +4 D)

If you're counting the total to this point, Democrats are up +2 among the Washout races, then it's a wash until the Too Close To Call races, where there's either no change (more likely) or they go up +2 (by winning them all).

In other words, our best case gives the Democrats +4 seats, and our middle case gives them +2 seats. That's not enough to take the Senate.

(Note again, that Schumer's interference in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania have reduced these totals. Instead of "+2 Democrats or +4 Democrats" so far, the call would have been " +4 or +6" — putting full control of the Senate within reach.)

Wild Card Race: Alaska

Alaska is a Republican seat at the moment, with Lisa Murkowski defending it. A pro-Sanders Democrat is in position to win the seat — and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants him to lose (!).

Howie has written about the Alaska race here:
[T]he populist Democratic Party in the state-- which gave Bernie a 81.6% to 18.4% landslide over Hillary and massive victories in every single electoral district (numbers that beat Trump too)-- also nominated Ray Metcalfe, a former Anchorage state Rep who was one of the state's original Bernie for President organizers. Although he won the party nomination, 15,198 to 10,074, Metcalfe is not a Schumer kind of candidate....

The DSCC (and Alaska's grotesquely corrupt Democratic Party establishment) are worried that-- with teabagger and Trumpist Joe Miller in the race as a Libertarian and tearing Murkowski apart from the right-- Metcalfe could actually win. ... That's how Schumer's reptilian mind works. So he's encouraging a proven corruptionist buddy of his, Mark Begich, to mount a last minute write-in campaign to draw votes away from Metcalfe and throw the election to Murkowski!
More from (my emphasis)
Alaska looks like it's going to become a free-for-all. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is running for reelection, trying to keep a seat that she last won as a write-in candidate after being primaried by tea partier Joe Miller. She could end up facing four viable opponents: Ray Metcalfe (the Democratic nominee), Margaret Stock (an independent with a very impressive resume), Miller (who's back, as the recently-chosen nominee of the Libertarian Party), and possibly former Democratic senator Mark Begich (who may run—wait for it—as a write-in candidate). 30% of the vote could very well win this thing.
Schumer has succeeded in sabotaging every race he has tried to sabotage, so I'll give Murkowski and Schumer the win.

Alaska, currently Republican
Lisa Murkowski (R) has the edge in a five-person race

Net change (if Schumer succeeds): None.

Your Most Likely 2017 Senate

The most likely 2017 Senate, the high point of the bell-shaped curve, if all current likelihoods hold, appears to be this:
  • Republican: 52 or 50 seats
  • Democrats: 46 or 48 seats
  • Independents: 2 seats (caucus with Democrats)
By sabotaging the Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and possibly Alaska races, Schumer (a) may well have handed Republicans control of the Senate, but (b) will have assured his own personal, hand-picked control of the Democratic minority that remains. In Schumer's world, that must count has a win-win. I can't imagine any other motivation for this ... what, debacle? betrayal?

Anyway, here's a scorecard to follow as these races evolve. For the Democrats to reach 50 seats, watch the Too Close To Call races, plus Alaska.


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At 6:45 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Schumer, HRC, Dirty Debbie, Rahmbo, it's all the same shit.

Corrupt Dems triangulating the crap out of the party for personal $$$.

Fuck 'em. DemExit.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger texantimm said...

Very well written! This is the best, focused article on senate projections I have seen of late. You take a very balanced approach in your analysis!

At 6:51 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Good piece.

For 20 years I've been hoping that the money's dame harriet reid would suffer electoral demise (or just demise) in NV, a fairly conservative but not batshit conservative state... and a colossally corrupt state. Under reid's sabotage, we lost the PO as part of obamneycare, were forced to swallow unnecessary cuts to the commons, got a smaller, by a factor of 4, STIM and other pretend democratic shit like that.

Schumer will prove to be worse than harriet. harriet at least bothered to pretend to be a democrat... at times. Schumer has dropped all pretense as he gargles the money's balls every second of every minute of every hour of every day. The most corrupt dem ever, surpassing the likes of reid and tom daschle easily.

Evan Bayh is no democrat. He's as corrupt and as conservative as most teabaggers.
He proved that by being the non-cloture vote on several key bills during the 111th congress after the Ds got their 60 seats (when Al Franken was seated after a long recount process). Of course, schumer and reid were going to get their non-cloture votes from somewhere in that 60 to prevent useful lege from being presented... but bayh was always eager to do his part.

Though not pristine, it would be nice to have Feingold back in the senate.

It's worth noting that in this nation on this day with all that is wrong and keeps getting wronger, the fact that congress will remain 110% servile to the money and 0% concerned with the commons is, yet again, proof of the stupidity and evil of the electorate.

I'm reminded of Louis Black's line, in regards to the Worldcom fraudsters, that he was amazed that "the (citizens) did not rise up as one and slay them."

These m-fs get elected in perpetuity.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Mark Gisleson said...


At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

assuming herr drumpf keeps self-immolating, it is more and more likely that the Ds retake the senate.

To what end?

If you are a woman or lgbt, maybe you won't be totally forgotten. For everyone else and for all other aspects of American life, you are still well and truly screwed. A D senate and a perpetually R house will never agree unless the D senate caves... and the R house is going to be more misanthropic, misogynist, racist, fascist and russophobic than ever before (which has been the trend vector for 3 decades).

SSI is far more likely to be cut in some kind of Obama-like deal with paul ryan.
kids and the poor will be squeezed by the misanthropic ryan and the Ds will go along.
taxes will be cut on corporations and the rich because... that's what we do. I know it never made sense and can't ever help anyone but the .01%... but that's what we vote for so that's what we'll get.
a shooting war in Syria and Iran is about 88% certain, even with drumpf, because that's what voters want and what those who get elected want (and what the defense contractors lust for).
TPP,TTIP and TISA shall pass, if obamanation didn't already pass them... and national sovereignty shall become an anachronism. You might see us defense contractors suing signatories if they are not allowed to bomb them.

So, ultimately, the makeup of the senate wrt whether more Ds or Rs sit next to names is moot since they all serve the same money.

If voters wanted change, they'd start voting Green or Socialist or some "other". But either we're too stupid to know that or we really **ARE** the evil purveyors of death and destruction that our leaders project. Possibly both?

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After noting that pre-vote polls were either colossally wrong or there was, again, vote rigging on an unprecedented scale in several battlegrounds. Feingold and Bayh both lost.

Democrats' heir to the throne, who got nominated through 'strip and flip' rigging, lost to the worst political candidate ever and most despicable human on earth.

What does that say about the political left? A permanent minority now as well as just as despicably corrupt as the right has always been?

Lefty voters should have been behind Bernie by 40 points but weren't. Bernie would have mopped the racist regressive south with the political corpse of trump and his combover mop. But the DNC wanted their corrupt warmongering tool of the money... and figured they could win with her even though $he is the worst D candidate ever and was wholly not credible as someone who gave a flying fuck about anyone below single-digit billionaire.

Even if herr fuhrer drumpf did not win this cycle, it would have been inevitable that someone like him or worse would win very soon. The political left have been unapologetically ineffective as they've betrayed their base for nearly 4 decades and the voting left are total imbeciles as they've continued to elect those same assholes and fucktards for the same 4 decades.

The DNC deserved this. The American left, if there even is one left, deserves this.
We truly got the president we deserve.

Will congress, as an "equal" branch, stand up to and prevent drumpf's worst impulses?

I predict they won't. I predict the R pluralities will fellate the new fuhrer and the D minorities will do what they did with cheney/bush... take a dive.

And then we'll be where Germany was in '33.

We've been heading there for decades. It was inevitable.


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