The long-awaited midterm elections are but days away, and Republican optimism is beginning to cross the border into giddiness. Last week RedState’s Erick Erickson all but declared the Senate won, despite many close races:
With the President’s numbers so bad and the GOP’s numbers so good, it makes you wonder what is going on in the state level polling that shows so many races so close. That national polling trickles down to states.
Perhaps there is some over-compensation and over-correction that is, ironically, going to cause a lot of pollsters to repeat the mistakes of 2012. There is no evidence that the voters who vote for Barack Obama are the Democrats’ voters. They are Barack Obama’s voters.
They did not show up for him in 2010 and the hysteria and race baiting the Democrats have stooped to in these final weeks suggests they know these voters will not show up for him in 2014 either.
The end of Barack Obama’s Presidency approaches.
And at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has been predicting a wave that will finish off the Democrat majority in the Senate for some time. After looking at a round of polling showing GOP fortunes improving in the home stretch, his co-blogger Noah Rothman declared a “universal shift in momentum toward Republican candidates and away from Democrats and the independents who would caucus with them if elected. A late-breaking wave is cresting.”
Erickson, Morrissey, and Rothman aren’t alone. The conservative punditocracy seems almost united in its expectation of a coming Republican Senate, and there are even predictions that the GOP will not just sneak back into power, but wiill hold a majority with breathing room when the smoke clears.
The GOP currently sits at 45 seats in the Senate, but gains in non-competitive races in West Virginia and Montana — where the Democrats have quite possibly the worst candidate for the U.S. Senate in modern memory — are a given. Despite some buzz earlier in October to the contrary, a Republican pickup in South Dakota now looks more likely than not. And Republicans hold leads in Arkansas, Alaska, Louisiana, and Colorado that appear safe enough for cautious optimism. Additionally, Iowa looks like a close victory for the GOP. That lineup would put the party at 53 seats. Then there are potential GOP upsets in North Carolina or New Hampshire, where Democrat incumbents are polling at significantly less than the magic number of 50 percent.
A Republican sweep, the wave election some predict, could carry those last two, push back the Democratic challengers in the red states up for grabs such as Kansas and Georgia, and run the GOP’s total up to 55 seats. And if the number gets that big, then it might even get bigger: Maine’s independent Senator Angus King might note the shifting of the winds and caucus with the Rs rather than the Ds (the Republican governor Paul LePage is now polling at a significant advantage, indicating King might be safer in the new majority in the near future) and it’s not impossible that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, increasingly alienated from his own party, might decide to flip.
So say the optimists. GOP campaigns are castigating Obama’s performance on issue after issue — Benghazi, the economy, Obamacare, ISIS, Ebola, the VA, energy, the federal budget — and tying his party to those policies as he stupidly validates that narrative with his own statements. Republicans think they’re winning the argument, and the polls indicate they might be right.
The Democrats of course are less sanguine, and the party’s actions in the field have demonstrated that attitude. Democrats no longer seek to build consensus and attract independent voters in purple or red states; their campaigns have devolved into little more than get-out-the-vote appeals to their base.
In Colorado, Mark Udall has been dubbed “Mark Uterus” for his incessant reliance on “War on Women” rhetoric against his Republican opponent Cory Gardner. So far a campaign on free contraception has failed to deliver on expectations, particularly when Gardner began to call for birth control to be sold over the counter. Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz earned the disgust of even many in the mainstream media for accusing, at least figuratively, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker of being an abuser of women.
In Louisiana, Democrats are using shadowy union-funded PACs to push black turnout through mailers and door-hangers. In North Carolina and Georgia, the appeal is even more naked — complete with imagery of lynchings and references to the Ferguson riots. A Florida-based, SEIU-funded group is selling bulletproof vests as a fundraiser to support a web ad telling black voters that unless they pull the lever for Democrats the police will shoot their children.
The get-out-the-vote operations are fully engaged in an effort to transform the midterm electorate into a presidential electorate. In Arkansas, there are over 130,000 newly registered Democrats. In Georgia, even more. You apparently don’t even have to be a citizen to join the Democrats’ electoral army.
When one side is making broad appeals to the public and floating statements of principles and potential governing agendas while the other is trying to herd its voters to the polls using scare tactics and demagoguery, it’s understandable that optimism should reside with the former.
But history shows that those scare tactics work, and elections can be won with a cattle drive. Unless Republican rhetoric and momentum can be married to Election Day activity — which in some places does appear to be the case — that much-ballyhooed wave might dissipate.