Former Obama White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs took flak from fellow Democrats recently for saying on NBC's "Meet The Press" that Republicans could very well win a Senate majority in 2014. This thing is, he was right.
Gibbs was only voicing growing Democratic fears that their current 55-45 Senate majority is slipping away. With the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - increasingly unpopular several vulnerable incumbent Democratic senators look to be in serious trouble.
The numbers have always worked against Senate Democrats. Of the 36 Senate seats up for election, 21 are held by Democrats. And seven of those Democratic seats are in states that Republican presidential nominee won Mitt Romney won in 2012: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.
As Los Angeles Times writer Doyle McManus notes, "The stakes are enormous. If Republicans take control of the Senate and keep the House of Representatives, they'll be able to pass parts of their conservative agenda that have been blocked until now. President Obama will still have veto power, but he'll have to spend his last two years in office stuck on defense."
Compounding Democrats' worries, Republicans are having a good year recruiting top-tier Senate candidates in both blue and red states. In Colorado, GOP Rep. Cory Gardner has turned Democratic Sen. Mark Udall's once-expected reelection into a race to watch. In New Hampshire, former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) moved north last week and announced his desire to become Sen. Scott Brown (R-N.H.).
The most potent threat Democrats face is lethargy on their own side. In presidential races, the nation's shifting demographics give Democrats a big Electoral College advantage. Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., have voted democratic in six consecutive presidential elections - good for 242 electoral votes. That's awfully close to the magical 270 needed to lock in victory.
But in midterms the electorate is older and whiter, favoring Republicans. In 2010 the GOP reclaimed the House majority by turning out their own voters in greater numbers than beleaguered Democrats.
There's every reason to think that will happen again in 2014. Whether it's enough to overturn the Senate majority Democrats have held since 2007 remains to be seen.
Politix, and via The Los Angeles Times.