Saturday, November 12, 2005

2006 election rundown

This week's elections do have some hints of things to come. The victory in New Jersey was not at all unexpected; Corzine's double-digit victory was. All the experts figured the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia would have been closer than they were. Since predictions of Corzine's narrow victory fell short of his big victory, and since predictions of a close election in Virginia were off the mark where Kaine's comfortable victory was concerned, Democrats are energized. Whether their energy will keep going for the next year remains to be seen, but it looks like good news for them for the moment, at least.

This week's elections do have some hints of things to come. The victory in New Jersey was not at all unexpected; Corzine's double-digit victory was. All the experts figured the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia would have been closer than they were. Since predictions of Corzine's narrow victory fell short of his big victory, and since predictions of a close election in Virginia were off the mark where Kaine's comfortable victory was concerned, Democrats are energized. Whether their energy will keep going for the next year remains to be seen, but it looks like good news for them for the moment, at least.

Bush proved to be poisonous in Virginia, a state which he won comfortably enough both in 2000 and 2004. Even if you don't put much stock in the idea that Bush's visit to support Kilgore actually increased support for Kaine, the fact that Bush didn't do much campaigning at all for Kilgore throughout the election is telling. This is the same president who felt no shyness at all about getting involved in Senate and gubernatorial elections in 2002, 2003 and 2004, when he was unquestionably an asset in certain parts of the country. He never could have done much for Forrester in New Jersey, but in Virginia, in happier times for the Republicans, Bush would have been a big, big help. Democratic recruiting is in better shape, while Republican recruiting has been weakened.

-Until this summer, no one was talking about taking on Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio,) but now there are two Democrats vying for his seat.

-Senators Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) and Conrad Burns (R-Montana) are also facing challengers. The races still favor DeWine, Kyl and Burns, but remember that these are seats that were until recently considered close to hopeless by the Democrats.

The weakness (and absences) of Republican challengers is more dramatic: Democratic senators who were once touted as vulnerable aren't facing much in the way of opponents.

-No Republican heavy-hitters are stepping up to challenge Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida,) whose seat was until recently regarded as low-hanging fruit for Republicans.

-Strong Republican challengers are conspicuously absent in Nebraska, where instead of challenging Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska,) they're all running for governor.

-Claire McCaskill looks strong againt Senator Jim Talent (R-Missouri.) This should be a good race.

-Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) is considered to be the most vulnerable incumbent this year, with State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. challenging him, having been recruited by Chuck Schumer himself to run for the Senate, instead of holding back and running for governor in 2010, when Governor Rendell is term-limited out of the job.

-Governor Joe Hoeven is thought to be the only Republican strong enough to take on Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota,) and he's not even going to try.

-The theoretically vulnerable Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) doesn't have a significant challenger this year; prominent Republicans have backed out.

-No one is stepping up to take on Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) or Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia.)

The open seats in Minnesota and Tennessee are up in the air, and at this moment, I'd say they lean kinda Republican, but it's way too early to call these races. And James Webb, Reagan's former Navy Secretary, is talking about challenging Senator George Allen (R-Virginia,) who was previously regarded as unassailable. Chuck Schumer says there's another viable candidate in Virginia, but he's not giving names (Mark Warner, maybe?)

I haven't been following the House seats as closely, but the scuttlebutt is that things look better for the Democrats. I've heard that a few seats in Ohio could flip Democratic, particularly a seat held by a retiring Republican, and the Democrats are expected to pick off a few Republican seats here in New York, targeting one on Long Island and, as ever, New York City's sole House Republican, Vito Fossella, who represents Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn. I can't see the Democrats winning enough to actually take the House; that depends on who controls which state legislatures in 2010. If the Democrats can take and/or hold on to the governor's mansions of a few select states through the 2010 elections, they'll get to control the redistricting processes there, and 2012 could look good for the Democrats. The states that could be reäpportioned under such situations in 2012 are New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Florida and California, all of which saw their last reäpportionment under Republican administrations and most of which were redrawn under Republican state legislatures. (The reason I include California in this list is because although Governor Davis was a Democrat and although California had a Democratically-controlled legislature in 2000, Davis let the preëxisting boundaries stand as a result of a compromise with the Republicans in the legislature, so those 1990 boundaries were drawn by a Democratically-controlled legislature under a Republican governor. Just for the record.)

All that said, the oligarchs are making sure that power is concentrated into a few hands and that wealth is secured only for those who are already wealthy, so unless something is done about this trend, we're going to wind up irreversibly screwing up the American economy and society. I was just back in my western Pennsylvania hometown this week and saw a couple of long-established local retailers and grocery stores going out of business because of the second WalMart built in town. Maybe I'm wrong, but what I've been seeing lately hasn't made me too optimistic about the world that we're creating for today's children and the children yet unborn.

1 Comments:

At Sunday, November 13, 2005 at 4:50:00 PM EST, Anonymous Nula said...

There was an article in the NYT today about the uphill battle the Dems face in the House:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/weekinreview/13toner.html

It ain't going to be easy.

 

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