Category Archives: Election Predictions
I meant to write this several weeks ago with much more depth (especially to examine who won each Senate debate; Loretta Sanchez unintentionally did her best Sarah Palin impression in her debate with Kamala Harris), but the night before the election is pretty much the last time to make any sort of predictions. So here we go:
Hillary Clinton will be the first female president in US history, while Donald Trump will create a new media empire that effectively destroys Fox News. These are both positive developments in what has been a truly odd election. The map above shows Hillary winning 328 to 210. Interestingly, this map shows Hillary winning Utah, which is no mistake. Evan McMullin’s compassionate conservativism campaign will likely pull significant support, but that will primarily come out of Trump’s margin. I expect the results in Utah to be a plurality for Hillary of 34.5%, to McMullin with 34.3%, Trump with 29%, and Johnson with 2.2%.
Although I was pushing for Trump to win Florida (a dystopian candidate for a dystopian state), it now seems Cubanos are voting in droves against the standard bearer of their party.
The Senate elections will lead to a 50-50 seat tie in the upper chamber. Duckworth and Feingold defeating GOP incumbents is foregone, but after that the GOP candidates are well-equipped to survive in this anti-Trump environment. Jason Kander will defeat the archetypal conservative deal maker in Roy Blunt, while Maggie Hassan will narrowly beat Kelly Ayotte. Joe Heck will carry Nevada even as the state votes for Clinton, primarily due to his seeming moderation and calm temperament.
A momentous day in the presidential cycle is upon us. Bernie needs to win a majority of the states just stay in the race, and Rubio and Cruz each need to win several states to maintain any hope of stopping Trump.
Here are the predictions for how today will shake out, first on the Democratic side.
Alabama: Hillary (76-24%)
Arkansas: Hillary (68-32%)
Colorado: Bernie (53-47%)
Georgia: Hillary (72-28%)
Massachusetts: Hillary (51-49%)
Minnesota: Bernie (58-42%)
Oklahoma: Bernie (55-45%)
Tennessee: Hillary (59-41%)
Texas: Hillary (64-36%)
Vermont: Bernie (88-12%)
Virginia: Hillary (60-40%)
These results relegate Bernie to a near impossible chance of beating Hillary on delegate count.
Now the GOP:
Alabama: Trump (42) Cruz (24) Rubio (22) Carson (8) Kasich (4)
Alaska: Trump (46) Cruz (27) Rubio (15) Kasich (9) Carson (3)
Arkansas: Trump (34) Cruz (33) Rubio (21) Carson (7) Kasich (5)
Georgia: Trump (36) Rubio (28) Cruz (22) Carson (10) Kasich (4)
Massachusetts: Trump (45) Kasich (22) Rubio (20) Cruz (11) Carson (2)
Minnesota: Trump (32) Rubio (29) Kasich (19) Cruz (17) Carson (3)
Oklahoma: Trump (33) Cruz (29) Rubio (22) Carson (9) Kasich (7)
Tennessee: Trump (38) Cruz (29) Rubio (17) Carson (11) Kasich (5)
Texas: Cruz (35) Trump (33) Rubio (20) Carson (7) Kasich (5)
Vermont: Trump (37) Kasich (25) Rubio (25) Cruz (10) Carson (3)
Virginia: Trump (33) Rubio (29) Cruz (20) Kasich (11) Carson (7)
Trump wins big, and Cruz can spin that he is (again) the only one that can beat Trump, even if only every now and then.
Everyone else 8%
Sixth Party System has been out of commission for too long, and what better way to return than with a roundup of all the GOP candidates for president. We have some real quality people… in America, and none seem to be running for president in this field. Oh well, one of them will advance to the general, so we may as well get to know them. The format is simple: below each picture I will explain the type of candidate, why they are running, their chances of victory, and their support base. I will handicap each candidates chance of winning the GOP primary, and if that is above zero, their chances in the general election. This is the chance of winning the presidency overall, not the likely popular vote share. Since the national electorate leans Democratic right now, anything over a 33% chance of victory denotes a strong candidate. Moreover, this percentage is estimated with the assumption that Hillary will be the Democratic candidate. If she somehow loses the primary, then all of the chances to win would be much higher. Just add 10% to each number and that is how they would fare against Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley, or any other Democrat.
Primary chances are zero sum among the candidates on this page, whereas general election chances are variable since it is a new, discrete game for each candidate versus the Democrat. Structurally, Republicans face an uphill struggle to win over the national electorate, which means no GOP candidate is favored to win over Hillary in 2016. A strong GOP candidate can make it a tight race, as some of these candidates could capably achieve. Some might even win the presidency in 2016, but it would be close. Who can win some Great Lakes states, the upper South, Colorado, and/or Florida?
Well, let’s see!
Jeb! Bush (smug autocratic former Governor of Florida)
Type: neo-conservative patrician
Purpose for running: legacy, turn
Chance of winning primary: 21%
Chance of winning general: 40%
Base of support: moderates; people who like dynasties; neo-cons; GOP establishment; he wishes Hispanics
Geographic base: national, but primarily the Northeast, Florida, and the Sun Belt
Jeb! (pronounced yeb) Bush is attempting to craft an image of himself that reeks of inauthenticity. A man of the people–namely Hispanic people. The problem is he is neither of the people nor his he Hispanic. But what he is certified as is a politically connected son and brother of former presidents, and a former governor of a swing state. That pedigree would generally make him the odds-on favorite to win in a party that has historically observed an it-is-your-turn approach to candidate selection. The problem is the party has become more conservative, and the “activist” class has managed to forge the most powerful narrative, which now reverberates in formerly moderate circles. The fractured field actually helps Bush–almost everyone is to his right and will fight it out for the looney tunes vote–but he has looked quite underwhelming in these early stages of the campaign.
With his classical training as a political operative in mind, Bush’s inability to answer the “knowing what you know now, would you invade Iraq?” question is astonishing. I contend if you were to ask him that question right now, you would get a different answer.It is a pretty simple question, which from his perspective would have a telegraphed answer: yes, with some caveat. That is it. He cannot refute his brother’s vision of Iraq and domestic security without hurting his own brand. Whether Jedediah likes it or not, he is conjoined with Dubyah at the hip on nearly everything. Moving away from his brother’s legacy is only remotely possible if he at least surrounds himself with different people and espouses different wisdom on the area, but his advisers are the same people that masterminded the war, and his messaging is also the same.
Back to his ethnicity, Bush is badly hurt by Marco Rubio’s presence in the campaign. Although Rubio is Cubano, his skin color and general straight-shooting manner leave him in a much better position to court Hispanic voters than Bush, who married a Mexican woman and has a biracial child, but is himself a product of an Aryan Episcopalian aristocratic family.
Jeb!’s bumbling, tone-deaf, and incredibly back-heeled campaign is inherently cynical. It operates under the clear modus operandi that he is destined to become president, and that if he avoids controversy and gotcha’ moments, his connections and name recognition will keep him in the race until early November 2016. No matter what he overtly stresses or claims in his manicured public gatherings and speeches, Bush’s campaign is not about earning it (the candidacy), but enduring it (the campaign).
Ben Carson (blind neurosurgeon in Maryland)
Type: Tea Partier/take-my-country-back(er)
Purpose for running: profit
Chance of winning: zero
Base of support: Tea Party; conservative policy wonks and intellectuals (too small a group to build a base)
Geographic base: a couple of people at the selfish Johns Hopkins medical school
Carson’s primary reason for running for president is to sell books. Plain and simple. This is a profit-making endeavor, although I do not doubt his sincerity when he decries the PPACA as the worst form of social control since slavery, or that same-sex marriage is really not that different from bestiality. And while I find him a pretty boring, inconsequential candidate or pundit, there is something to be said for how infatuated many Tea Party groups are with his person. Do they think he has smart ideas? Do they like his tenor? Are they just looking for any black conservative, and Allen West is busy right now? All I know is Ben Carson hails from the JHU medical school which is famous for bogarting resources that the rest of the university would benefit from. Fitting that side of the school would produce a vitriolic GOP candidate.
Chris Christie (cartel Governor of New Jersey)
Type: metro machine conservative
Purpose for running: ambition and power
Chance of winning primary: 2%
Chance of winning general: 31%
Base of support: white homeowners; very confused good governance types; labor haters; network of cronies; Italians; police and firefighters.
Geographic base: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic
The Culture of Corruption candidate really hurt his credibility with the whole Birdgegate debacle. It is obvious the whole thing was orchestrated because of how he runs his operations. The facts as currently available in the public surely disqualify him from overseeing a nation of diverse thought–some that do not jive with his thinking. Especially in this historical time period, in which federal security state affairs are at a crossroads, a Nixonian candidate like Christie or Walker is quite dangerous. Christie is very enigmatic: he seems to be go-getter, no nonsense type, as seen in how he handled Hurricane Sandy. At the same time, he is petty, abusive towards any opposition (e.g. questions), and he maintains a solid record of carving out special interest privileges. If you have to live under the reign of any of these candidates, Christie might be among the least pernicious, but that says more about the field of candidates than Christie’s acceptability. Such a pity; before the scandal I thought Christie could give Hillary a run for her money. Although he is still a strong campaigner, he is unlikely to make it through the GOP primary, let alone topple Hillary.
Ted Cruz (vacuous false-idol Senator from Texas)
Type: opportunist, McCarthyite, Tea Partier
Purpose for running: attention and profit
Chance of winning primary: 1%
Chance of winning general: 3%
Base of support: Tea Party; Minutemen; various anti-government types; people who gravitate towards false idols
Geographic base: Sun Belt, Big Sky country, Washington D.C.
Ted Cruz loves attention more than anything else, such as power, governance, policy, esteem. This run for president is not serious in any way, but simply an opportunity to keep his name in the public eye so that he can sell books, book speaking engagements, and engage donors. He is a weak candidate in any general election that has at least 1/3 non-GOP voters, which makes his reelection in Texas precarious. Therefore, time is of the essence for Cruz to cash in on his exploits, lest he be left with no policy achievements and not enough money to show for his time in politics. The real kicker is if Cruz used his education and ability to cajole colleagues to do as he says for a greater purpose, he could potentially be a formal leader and decision-maker within the party. It is fairly clear he does not want this sort of responsibility, unless of course that would keep him in the public eye ever more. Cruz is one of the few in-government vanity candidates, which usually hail from non-elected circles.
iCarly Fiorina Version 0.32 (failed business executive in California)
Type: business conservative
Purpose for running: vanity, life-meaning
Chance of winning primary: zero
Base of support: California Republican Party
Geographic base: Certain Silicon Valley home, Orange County
Fiorina’s version number is to suggest she has regressed below the 1.0 status, into a walking, talking demagogue. Aside from Ben Carson, she might be the least qualified person to become president. Unlike Carson, she has executive experience and has run for elected office, but short of the Trump, she has failed at being an executive as she ran HP into the ground. HP’s products, profits, innovation, market share, brand loyalty, and worker morale all declined under Fiorina. Since her departure, HP has actually returned to form to some respect, showing crappy leadership indeed outweighs decent thinkers and workers when it comes to final product. She is a vitriolic, bitter person that is very insulting and defensive in just about every setting you will see her in. California is light on the GOP bench, but even there, she is a horrible, horrible candidate. The 42.2% vote share in the California Senate race against Barbara Boxer looks pretty good, as does winning Ventura and San Diego counties. However, the year of that election was 2010, and Boxer has long faced mainstream issues with getting Socal white middle class votes, which suggests a) the impressive counties Fiorina won had more to do with dislike for Boxer, and b) 42.2% in 2010 is actually pretty awful. A stronger candidate could have brough Boxer into plurality victory territory–still a loss, but a more respectable one. Fiorina does not deserve to be president or vice president, and she really has no particular base of support to justify her candidacy. Seriously, who supports Fiorina?
Lindsey Graham (limp-wristed Senator from South Carolina)
Type: Neo-conservative war hawk
Purpose for running: policy, keep neo-con hawk line on the agenda
Chance of winning primary: zero
Base of support: neoconservative war hawks; legal community; log-cabin Republicans
Geographic base: coastal Carolinas, D.C., Southern cities
Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman made up the holy trinity of neoconservative war hawks in the Senate between the late 1990s and 2010. They were bipartisan, but generally agreed on a conservative, anti-darkies agenda. Now in 2015, Lieberman is gone, with Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire subbed in, but Graham still has all the same answers. “Invade, invade, 9/11. bomb, invade, kill, 9/11, radical Islam, war, Iran, Benghazi, bomb, security, kill kill kill.” I suppose it is disingenuous to use quotes, but I stand by those terms as a pretty good paraphrase. His presidential run is not in any way to win, but instead to do two things: become a potential VP candidate, but more importantly, keep the hawkish line in the official discourse.
I guess this presidential run means Lindsey will not announce his coming out of the closet any time soon, but I sure hope Graham accepts his homosexuality soon and drops the facade of being a lifelong bachelor.
Mike Huckabee (snake oil selling former Governor from Arkansas)
Type: evangelical conservative
Purpose for running: profit
Chance of winning primary: 9%
Chance of winning general: 22%
Base of support: Evangelical movement; certain right-wing populists; some moderates that view his rhetoric and governance as two distinct, almost disconnected paths.
Geographic base: Bible Belt, south of the Ohio River, east of the Colorado
Mike Huckabee has managed to transform from mild-mannered, pragmatic conservative governor to hate-filled, pandering, solicitous demagogue in a matter of eight years. Where Huckabee used to come across as an authentic populist with religious commitments, he now seems to represent purely reactionary elements within the country. Further, he tends to use language that foments anger and increases general hostility toward government instead of framing his perspective on issues as problem-solving what others fail to fix. These changes point towards a general lack of interest in governance, and instead, a growing interest in money. If he has a secondary motive, it might be to grow his power within the American baptist and evangelical communities, but even this may now simply serve as a vehicle for resource extraction through peddling snake oil products like crappy health care coverage after the PPACA, or weak cure-alls to diabetes. Among all the profit-motivated candidates in the race at this time, he still has the largest political base and greatest chance to at least win some primaries. He has done it before, and even if he has lost the esteem of more serious voters, his burgeoning power within the religious right affords him a strong, motivated base to turnout in droves.
Bobby Jindal (awkward malware Governor of Louisiana)
Purpose for running: self-meaning, VP bait
Chance of winning primary: zero
Base of support: none really, but some conservative policy wonks like him
Geographic base: parts of Louisiana
Bobby Jindal is not a well-liked or popular political figure in any circles. Louisianans don’t like him, so he has no geographic base. Big money types have all-American good ol’ boys like Walker and Bush to turn to. Youths don’t like him. I am sure he holds some esteem in the Indian community, which on balance is more conservative than most Asian American communities, but that base is not strong enough in the GOP to do much. He tends to play up new generation leadership with fresh ideas, much like Rubio (and in his awkward, vague manner, Cruz), but Jindal does not actually have many ideas. School choice? Stopping Iran from getting a nuke? Repealing Obamacare? Keystone XL? Nothing innovative or original about this stuff. Even in a weak field, he would likely finish near last, but here, Jindal stands no chance. Chances are Jindal becomes a highly paid lobbyist for an oil company after he leaves the governor’s mansion.
John Kasich (calculating Governor of Ohio)
Type: Reaganite, pragmatic conservative
Purpose for running: governance; ambition
Chance of winning primary: 3%
Chance of winning general: 48%
Base of support: Beltway players; moderates; policy wonks; Reagan era pols; in-government bureaucrats; business interests without conservative social agendas
Geographic base: Great Lakes, D.C.
Governor Kasich is a savvy politician, well-seasoned in decades of austerity era American governance. He probably aspires to be nearly as conservative as most of the other candidates here, but unlike them, when he perceives public sentiment is against him, he will compromise. The Issue 2 debacle in 2011 seems to have shaken the depths of his conservative agenda, but that likely made him a better general election candidate and representative of broader interests. Perhaps the fact that he has a conscience precludes him from becoming the GOP candidate, but if he somehow made it to the general, there is a strong chance he could beat Hillary to become president. When an authentic conservative willing to make deals to keep the country moving has almost no shot of winning the Republican primary, something is seriously wrong.
George Pataki (bored former Governor of New York)
Type: security statist
Purpose for running: relevance, life meaning, probably profit
Chance of winning primary: zero
Base of support: Giuliani type well-to-do metropolitan homeowners who fear minorities and crime
Geographic base: places hit with terrorism, suburbs, and exurbs
As a fringe candidate running purely out of boredom and a dwindling sense of life-force, Pataki at least fulfills the security state fear monger role Giuliani usually fills. Aside from that, not much to say about Pataki except he is unlikely to gain any traction short of a terrorist attack that somehow he forecasted. That should also make him a prime suspect if one is to occur. He has a reputation as a New York conservative, but short of James Buckley, he would still seem quite moderate to the GOP base. A meaningless campaign for a meaningless person.
Rand Paul (the less disgusting Senator from Kentucky)
Type: libertarian extraordinaire
Purpose for running: keep libertarian line in public discourse; sell books
Chance of winning: 18%
Chance of winning general: 28%
Base of support: paleo-conservatives; libertarians; Bourbon GOP; college-aged white males; Ayn Rand readers.
Geographic base: national, college campuses
Every now and then Rand Paul will say or do something that seems cross-partisan and almost beneficial for the country, such as fighting the surveillance state and working with Harry Reid to retrench the prison industrial complex and enfranchise felons. That is really good stuff, and his voice within the GOP is much more important than the many Democratic civil libertarian analogs, which is quite ironic since the GOP is supposed to be the party of limited government, reserved rights, and skepticism toward governmental power. As some–but not all–political observers understand, the GOP actually seems to be the party of inflated and wasteful government, which is an interesting method of decreasing public confidence in government, which thereby bolsters claims to dismantle parts of the state that actually do serve a purpose, such as the welfare state. Anyone who followed Reagan’s presidency understands this tactic well: starve the beast to create the crisis in which retrenchment takes hold; make government so heinous regular folks will call for deregulation and the marginalization of public goods. But while these conservatives, starting with Nixon, the expansion of state oppressive apparatuses such as the surveillance and carceral states belies much of their retrenchment messages. This is where Rand Paul is both confounding and refreshing: he generally wants to dismantle nearly everything across the board, which includes conservative-led police state structures. Paul’s several filibusters have certainly kept these items on the agenda and disallow quick, bipartisan reauthorizations, even if he fails at the end of the day. Launching a filibuster when you are publishing a book about your filibusters is also a nice way to profit from these seemingly symbolic articulations.
That is where Paul becomes a little easier to figure out than say, Scott Walker: Paul wants to spread the gospel of libertarian doctrine, and if that forces him to lose some allies while he makes some money, so be it. The senator is not running for president to win, but instead to keep his agenda in the public eye, and to further build his middle-class white college boy base into a larger network. Perhaps one day he will become the GOP candidate, but right now the primary voters are not libertarians, but instead generally Huckabee type social authoritarians. In the past, Paul has pandered to this crowd (see any of his comments on civil rights), but he seems less content to make that a focal point in his current campaign. Although the Paul electorate is not fully formed, the elder (Ron) Paul did exceedingly well for an insurgency campaign in 2012. Perhaps Rand will go even further this time, which means several states outright. That libertarian strain is strong in California, Colorado, Maine, the Dakotas, and possibly Kentucky (for obvious reasons).
Rick Perry (moronic former Governor from Texas)
Type: states-rights evangelical conservative and secessionist
Purpose for running: relevance
Chance of winning primary: 5%
Chance of winning general: 2%
Base of support: secessionists; racists; Texans
Geographic base: Texas and parts of the Sun Belt
Oh Rick Perry, why do you want to advertise your stupidity? I know glasses can be perceived as a sign of intelligence, but that is if you adhere to Khmer Rouge assessments of intelligence, in which Perry should probably take the glasses off lest he be led to the killing fields. As if the glasses were not enough, he also obtained a lecturer job in the political science department of Texas A&M, which is actually a pretty good school and department despite it being his alma mater. What would complete Perry’s transformation into the conservative’s intellectual would be the ability to articulate clearly, write legibly, and remember one’s argument. Once he gets those down, National Review here he comes!
As if Perry’s meltdown last cycle was not enough, Perry is back for more. If he was the only southern conservative with occasional bouts of racist psychobabble, he might actually have a chance to make it to the final three. However, this cycle has Huckabee, Jindal, Santorum, and Cruz, which is a clown car of the same ilk. They will splinter the vote to the point that a “moderate,” northern conservative, or libertarian might carry the day, further marginalizing the quite formidable southern bloc. Perry is probably in the race to provide liberals with laughs and to potentially hype a forthcoming book about Texas secession and why he hates America so much. Of all the fringe candidates, Perry has the highest likelihood a winning a state primary (South Carolina maybe), but he will quickly lose steam and implode, much like happened to revisionist pseudo-historian Newt Gingrich.
Marco Rubio (thirsty Senator from Florida)
Purpose for running: ambition and hopeful VP pick
Chance of winning primary: 11%
Chance of winning general: 35%
Base of support: politically illiterate young people; moderates; certain Tea Partiers; Club for Growth
Geographic base: Southern Florida
The man that drinks scared, Rubio loves to tell everyone how much he likes hip-hop, and apparently, electronic music. Well that’s nice. I like hip-hop too. Oh, you like Tupac and Biggie? Me too!!!! I guess you have my vote (says no one). Although I do not doubt his sincerity with liking rap, I definitely think his infatuation with dub step is pure pandering. That said, in a general election equipped with rock the vote campaigns, he might benefit from some of these statements. But there are very few Republican primary voters who share his authentic interest in 90s hip-hop. If Rubio is crafty enough, he will try to learn a thing or two from Rand Paul and storm college campuses for his voting base. Simply put, Cubanos are not a large enough population in states out side of Florida, which will likely go for Bush over him, though I could be wrong on that. Rubio is betting the farm on this campaign as he is not running for reelection in the Senate–unlike unscrupulous Rand Paul–which implies he is either very confident in winning/gaining VP nod, or he does not want to be in DC anymore and would rather run for FL governor or get a show on Fox. Rubio’s message has predominantly focused on international issues, such as Iran and ISIS, with sprinkles of Obamacare and entitlement talk. I doubt these combination will go very far in such a crowded field, but I am hesitant to dismiss Rubio the way I do with other candidates. Historically he has shown a unique leadership style, such as his state-crossing idea generation tour when he was a state lawmaker, which allowed him to craft an image as a visionary man of the people. I do not see him doing such things nowadays, but if he can stay in the race past the first primary months, I think he could be a serious candidate that is capable of pleasing both establishment (“moderate”) GOP business interests, as well the Tea Party. Moreover, he then adds in the youthful vigor element to contrast with Hillary, and who knows, maybe he pulls off an incredible upset. Stranger things have happened.
Rick Santorum (talking airbag and former Senator from Pennsylvania)
Type: Christian conservative, blue collar conservative
Purpose for running: profit, nothing better to do
Chance of winning primary: 1%
Chance of winning general: 8%
Base of support: 19 & Counting; disenchanted conservative union workers; nuclear family idealists
Geographic base: Rust Belt
Rick Santorum is an utter moron, but lately I have realized he is probably not a bad person. Moreover, he has a strain of preferences in his career of taking pro-worker stances on some issues when the GOP line would be to his right. Granted, these are rare and often meaningless, but my point is he is not the worst. He might be a fundamentalist, but he has some common sense. He also has a low IQ, which hurts his ability to answer questions and communicate in an effective manner. Anyway, Santorum is not a threat to win this election–he seems to struggle to find an audience willing to listen to him. Unfortunately, that means this race is simply about keeping his name out there so he can make enough money off of family biographies to buy the his eponymous domain name. A frothy mixture indeed.
Donald Trump (ego-maniacal profiteer)
Type: xenophobic business conservative
Purpose for running: vanity and self-meaning
Chance of winning primary: 3%
Chance of winning general: 1%
Base of support: himself; interests abroad
Geographic base: Suburbs, NY and Chicago, Northeast
Trump is the most prolific troll in American political history. Unlike most human beings, when Trump makes an assertion at the beginning of a sentence, he has no problem completely disowning that view by the end of the sentence. Where many people are bound by consistency to decrease cognitive dissonance, Trump will float from one string of ideas to another that completely contradicts what he just said. He is neither principled nor conservative, which is what the base really wants. He is an opportunist who says what he thinks people want to hear, which may strike people as untrue, but that is what does. Many members of the GOP hate Mexicans, but Trump does not. And yet he feels very at ease with attacking anyone of that nationality as likely criminals or moochers. He makes business deals in quick succession with Chinese or Arab autocrats and tyrants, then will vilify their whole lot as enemies of the state. Wouldn’t that make Trump a traitor? Anyone that allows the words that fart out of Trumps disgusting head to bother them is misunderstanding what Trump represents in the cosmic collective: Trump is the desperate fame worshiping failure that thinks he has all the answers, when he has exactly zero solutions to anything. No matter how well he polls in New Hampshire, or any other state, the egomaniac will never gain elected office with a diverse electorate. He could run for mayor of Greenwich if he wanted, and might win, but that is about as high as this vanity candidate can buy his way into elected office. Now he could become a diplomat for a winning candidate he financed, but then he would have to knock off the racism, which might be asking too much.
Scott Walker (sinister Orwellian Governor of Wisconsin)
Type: smooth talking arsonist
Purpose for running: power, policy, ambition
Chance of winning primary: 26%
Chance of winning general: 46%
Base of support: Koch Bros™; multi-national business interests; homeowners; union haters; polarized and fearful public; bikers.
Geographic base: Great Lakes and Great Plains
First off, Scott is a such a cool dude. Like really. What a man of the people and just really humble, and hey, he is just like me: a commoner. He rides around Wisconsin in a rotund motorcycle, he has badges. I mean, so cool.
Too bad he is the contemporary incarnation of Richard Nixon. Seriously. He is the most Nixonian candidate this country has seen in… ever. His paranoia, quest for power, unscrupulous personal and institutional attacks on others, and his incredible ability to forge a seemingly benign message to cover up a dystopian policy is uncanny. Walker is the biggest threat of any candidate to become president, and then quickly deregulate an already deregulated country, open up nature reserves for resource extraction, and massively retool the surveillance/security state to Orwellian levels. Fear, like with Nixon, is his currency.
Walker is quite perplexing. The weirdest aspect of Walker’s person is no one really knows what he actually believes. It is easy to paint him as a mouthpiece for the Koch Bros™, willing to do anything for his big money donors in the quest for quid pro quo enrichment and political gain. But, he could also be a principled business oriented conservative, driven to implement his ideal vision of an American in which… businesses… and… Republicans reign supreme. But who knows to what extent he pursues his principles, discrete interests, constituent demands, or big business directives. Does it even matter?
The answer is no. Whether he believes in the policies or political tactics he readily employs hardly matters. What is known is that he pursues a deregulatory, union-busting, surveillance included agenda that would likely hurt almost every person in the country, whether they realize it or not. I could see the allure of seemingly normal, seemingly humble, seemingly direct leader that levels with people and claims to balance budgets and cut taxes. All this amounts to a middle class white male homeowner’s dream candidate.
Whether Walker is driven by personal goals or select interests, one thing is known: he is a power hungry politician that uses covert tactics to achieve his strategy of ensuring politics is filled with hatred, animosity, fear, and permanent crisis. In this context, he can step in and be the patrician leader business interests and scared people adore. God help us if ever becomes president.
Strictly about this campaign, he is among the most sophisticated politicians in the country, and he has an endless stream of dark money to keep him in the race long after most other candidates piss their sugar daddy off and bow out. I consider him the strongest primary candidate in the GOP, and among the top 4 strongest general election GOP candidate. If he wins Iowa, he could still lose in other states, but if he wins New Hampshire, I would say primary season will be over very quickly.
This election cycle is looking increasingly favorable for the GOP, but several interesting shake-ups are in the works. Here are the site’s predictions for the 33 Senate desks up for the taking:
(Disclaimer, this blog entry has been updated several times to add more text and debate links, but prediction winners and vote shares have not been altered. Whether they end up being accurate is less important that the fun of taking an educated guess several days before an election, and seeing how reality differs)
(Further disclaimer: I did change my prediction for the Louisiana Senate race on 11/2/14 to reflect a PPP poll that showed Maness with a 15% share. I have upped his share in my prediction to 10%, with a 3 pt reduction in Cassidy, and a 2 pt reduction in Landrieu’s share. I stand by my above disclaimer for all other race predictions)
Alabama: Jeff Sessions (R) v. write-ins.
Not much to say here. Sessions will win with about 81 to 87% of the vote. There must be some statewide office that Dems are looking to pick up but did not want to mobilize federally minded Rs to the poll. I could look into it, but who cares. Too bad, keeping one of the biggest tools in Congress honest is an admirable cause.
Results: 79R-16former D-2-1-1-1
Effect: R Hold.
Alaska: Mark Begich (D) v. Dan Sullivan (R) v. assorted third partiers.
If any Dem can win in Alaska, it is Begich. He is an independent-minded, frontier type politician, just like his daddy. He supports the worst energy industry tendencies to bogart federal dollars to profitable oil companies via tax expenditures (i.e. subsidies). However, this is an anti-incumbent year, with an out-party tilt, though not as dramatic as 2010. Dan Sullivan is a run of the mill Alaska Republican, with not nearly as much baggage as Joe Miller. To me, this is the toughest race to call this cycle. Begich is a much stronger candidate than Pryor, Braley, and maybe even Landrieu, but the votes just might not be there. That said, Alaskans would be wise to set partisanship aside and develop their seniority, which — considering his fierce substantive representation of the region — should satisfy the common economic interests of the region. Environmentalists may never have a representative of their own, but Begich is a smart guy. If Sullivan was a stronger candidate, none of the above would matter.
Effect: D Hold.
Arkansas: Mark Pryor (D) v. Tom Cotton (R)
Mark Pryor is definitely one of the dumbest members of the Senate. His father was an accomplished legislator, bringing in a new, more progressive type of southern politician in an era of Wilbur Mills types. But he is not his father. Pryor is little more than nondescript conservative Democrat. Cotton, on the other hand, is a Ivy educated vet, but funny enough, is not actually very bright either. Certainly Cotton is the more cerebral of the two candidates, but either Cotton is as big of an ideologue as he wants conservative Arkansans to believe, or he is a slightly smarter master manipulator of public sentiment, just to advance his career and quietly work to ingratiate himself within the GOP leadership. He could potentially be a bridge between the Tea Party and mainstream sides of the Senate caucus, as double speak is certainly a trait of his, but he has to get their first. And unfortunately for Pryor, this might all be quite consequential. Although Cotton is not the superstar many had hyped him up to be, he has enough partisan id in his favor to win this election, even if he has done little to deserve a raise.
Effect: R pickup
Colorado: Mark Udall (D) v. Corey Gardner (R)
Mark Udall has never been a great candidate. Unlike his more progressive cousin Tom to the south in Nuevo Mexico, Mark has never carved out an area of specialization in the Senate–either ideologically or on policy. By overemphasizing women’s issues, he did alienate much of the state that just wants balanced discussion, or anti-feminist who find it taxing to have to listen women’s needs. I happen to think his ads are spot on in showcasing Gardner’s anti-choice record (including the personhood bill he refuses to call a bill). But the winds are blowing against the Democrats in general, and Corey Gardner has made sure to moderate and obfuscate as much as possible to play off of people’s uncertainties and angst. Had
Winner: Pure tossup, but Udall
Effect: D Hold
Delaware: Chris Coons (D) v. Kevin Wade (R) v. Andrew Goff (G)
Not much of a race here. Coons is not a charismatic politician, but a solid hybrid populist-technocrat. Wade does not come across too poorly, but his critique of Coons is not sufficient to propel him to victory in blue state.
Effect: D Hold
Georgia: David Perdue (R) v. Michele Nunn (D) v. Amanda Swafford (L)
Perdue has very little to offer voters in terms of an affirmative agenda. More than any other candidate, he is simply running against Obama, who is the source for all ills in the world. Nunn, on the other hand, has posed herself as an independent pragmatist, cognizant of the problems this country faces and willing to work toward solutions. Now whether one would be better than the other is up to your ideological preference, and how you judge competence, but certainly Nunn has wiped the floor with the seemingly hollow man of Perdue. A stronger Libertarian Party candidate would likely play spoiler, perhaps on both sides, but Sawfford is fairly ineffectual, as she focuses more on the novelty of having a third choice than convincingly attracting support.
Effect: D Pickup
Hawaii: Brian Schatz (D) v. Campbell Cavasso (R) v. Michal Kokoski (L)
Without knowing the full history of the GOP side of this race, I am baffled how the party arrived at Cavasso as the candidate. Former governor Lingle could have pushed Schatz hard, but this election is a pure push.
Effect: D Hold
Idaho: John Risch (R) v. Nels Mitchell (D)
One of the most right-wing creeps will return to the Senate. In the debate, Risch did everything he could to steer away from any substantial issue to instead paint Mitchell as an Obama surrogate from California in an effort to legitimize his insurgent candidacy. Such a creep… I definitely think Idaho could produce better people than Risch. Even Crapo is better.
Effect: R Hold
Illinois: Dick Durbin (D) v. Jim Oberweis (R) v. Sharon Hensen (L)
Oberweis is a mega lightweight. His words carry no weight, he seems to lack any conviction on the issues. Durbin in a landslide. The question is, how far Obie runs behind Bruce Rauner–I figure somewhere around 12 points (which unfortunately means Rauner wins his race).
Effect: D Hold
Iowa: Bruce Braley (D) v. Joni Ernst v. Doug Butzler (L)
Braley had this election well in tow before making fun of farming Senator Grassley. Since then, he has alienated a large proportion of older voters in the state, who may look at Ernst’s general election stance as who she is, when her primary positions deserve extreme scrutiny. That said, she may be more moderate than her primary stances, and more conservative than her general, making her a median member in the Senate GOP caucus. It seems like Ernst has this race in the bag, which should serve as a lesson to anyone who disparages the core economic venture in the state and seeks a raise to higher office. You would not think that needs to be said, but Braley clearly did not get the memo.
Results: 50R-48D-2 all others
Effect: R Pickup
Kansas: Pat Roberts (R) v. Greg Orman (I) v. Randall Batson (L)
Orman is one of the best challengers in this election cycle. He comes across as even-keeled and clear-headed. In contrast, Roberts comes across as desperate and on edge, with a little (though not as much as other faltering incumbents) transparent hostility. I have heard numerous stories over the years of Roberts being the funniest man in the Senate–sharp witted and consistently entertaining. But Orman has created a pretty unique Tea Party-progressive coalition, which although mercurial and at risk of shattering at any time, might carry long enough to get him one term in the Senate. Once the Democrat got kicked off the ballot, this race really became a heated race.
Effect: I Pickup
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell (R) v. Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) v. David Patterson (L)
McConnell is a seriously slimy pol, both pejoratively in his shifty appearance and questionable motives, and positively in his savvy ability to manipulate the general electorate into supporting him, even if no one likes the guy, This election will likely confirm all of the above, with McConnell barely getting by with a simple plurality (instead of majority) of the vote. McConnell’s explanation of certain issues, like keeping the Kentucky exchange (it is “okay”), while repealing the whole of Obamacare, and Kentucky’s dwindling economy over the last 50 years being somehow a product of Obama’s regulatory policies, are a bit hard to swallow. Lundergan Grimes is a very strong candidate who would likely defeat McConnell in 4 out of 10 races, but in a single election, winning is tough. She is also one of the few Democrats who is more likely to win in a midterm year than a presidential year, with a negative pull of Democratic presidential candidates in Kentucky, as well as a very small liberal base (college students, African Americans, intellectuals, environmentalists) to turn out in Kentucky. The one thing about ALG, and with many red state Democrats, is basically defending why they are even Democrats. In this race, she has not done a good job standing up for her party id, which essentially means she is more liberal than what she expects would fly in Kentucky. Much of being a red state Democrat comes down to confusing enough voters into thinking you are something you are not, or simply benefiting from antipathy toward the GOP candidate. Both seem true here, but the latter may not move enough voters into Lundergan Grimes’ camp. I should say McConnell also has to deceive voters to receive votes, as most normal people would not support his particular use of tactics or dystopian policy views, even if they identify as conservative. Patterson is the clear spoiler here, but my calculation is he pulls about equally from disenchanted ultra-conservatives as potential Democratic independents who resent liberal elitism. The vote margin will be within 8000 votes, or about 0.6% of the total vote.
Effect: R Hold
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu (D) v. Bill Cassidy (R) v. Rob Maness (I)
Unlike Lundergan Grimes above, Landrieu is the genuine article conservative Democrat. She nearly killed Obamacare, she wanted to let BP skate with barely any penalty for destroying the Gulf, and she has often risen to the Senate floor to challenge progressive reforms offered by less senior members. On paper, Cassidy should beat her, based on the party id structural advantage, midterm year, and Cassidy’s history of pulling some African American votes to his side. However, Cassidy is campaigning in a very erratic manner, which makes him look very unstable (watch the debates above). In contrast, Maness has seemed lackadaisical and ill-informed, although he does come across as a fairly nice person. Landrieu is a very savvy campaigner and knows her state as well as any governor or senator in the country. The question becomes will she receive enough support in the general to avoid a runoff (which depends on Maness’ ability to pull votes from Cassidy)? The answer is no. Then she is disfavored from victory in a runoff. But I think she will fail to receive a majority in the general, and still win in the runoff, even with key Democratic base voters staying home. What explains this, I do not know–which may mean I am wrong–but she has done it before and can do it again.
Results: Plurality in general (46D-44R-10I); Majority in runoff 50.1D-49.9R
Effect: D Hold
Maine: Susan Collins (R) v. Shenna Bellows (D)
Put simply, the Democratic Party of Maine likes Susan Collins for some reason. More than respect, more than “she is a formidable candidate so we will not challenge her”–there is something going on there. Collins is a great legislator (though not as prolific as Olympia Snowe), and there is little reason to make a change in a state as independently liberal as Maine.
Results: 67R-32D-1 others
Effect: R Hold
Massachusetts: Ed Markey (D) v. Brian Herr
Markey and John Kerry are very similar legislators, and as such, he will be returned to Congress with almost a Kerry-like electoral margin. I expect him to achieve fully Kerrydom in the next cycle in 2020 with a 70% share.
Effect: D Hold
Michigan: Gary Peters (D) v. Terri Lynn Land (R) v. Jim Fullner (L)
The disappearing candidate strategy of Land (which is why there were no debates) will turn out not be a winning one. Peters wins. Pretty dumb strategy considering the best time to defeat an incumbent party is when they have to replace a long-time candidate. Peters will not be as vulnerable in 2020.
Effect: D Hold
Minnesota: Al Franken (D) v. Mike McFadden (R) v. Steve Carlson (IP)
Franken has tailored a Minnesota first image by advancing local issues and only speaking to local press. He is a smart, dedicated leader who represents the interests of members of the public who may hold more conservative views. His debate performances have been quite underwhelming, but luckily his opponent McFadden is indefatigably moronic in his line of critiques and ideas. I could pick so many baffling quotes to display here, but I do not quite care enough to do it. Well, ok, I will do one. He supports revenue neutral tax code reform, “because we have 17 trillion dollars of debt.” Doesn’t that suggest the government needs more money? Or is the debt not the point, but and ideological commitment to not raising taxes is actually the motivation?
Effect: D Hold
Mississippi: Thad Cochran (R) v. Travis Childers (D) v. Shawn O’Hara (Ref)
Childers being as conservative as he is will demobilize Democrats from seizing the momentum against Cochran. Cochran’s appeals to black voters in the primary may bolster his totals this go-round.
P.S. If write-ins were accepted (which I do not think they are), I would expect McDaniel supporters to aggregate into about a 17% vote share. 46R-36D-17McDeezee-1Ref
Effect: R Hold
Montana: Amanda Curtis (D) v. Steve Daines (R) v. Roger Roots (L)
Curtis acts like she is taking one for the team by falling on the sword this election, which I think is unsavory being that Daines is not a perfect candidate and could be called out on more things. But Daines does have a strong legislative temperament and actually possesses a semblance of competence that many freshman Republicans sorely lacked. Although I think Curtis is more intelligent on the issues that she conveys in a debate forum, her lack of eloquence reduces the ability of voters to project competence at the next level. That is key since Daines has used competence as his explicit number one quality.
Effect: R pickup
Nebraska: Ben Sasse (R) v. David Domina (D) v. Jim Jenkins (I) v. Todd Watson (I)
Sasse is not the worst conservative to have around, but is a fairly standard pseudo-moderate. But his opponent Domina is much less attractive candidate. He is a mild idiot–he can explain his positions on issues, but does not seem to understand the root of the concepts he is addressing. And example, when asked in a debate to name a conflict, if any, he would have opposed sending the military, he said Bosnia and Albania. Ok, not a bad answer. But in answering the question, he stated authoritatively that the primary role of the the US military is eliminate threats beyond our borders at the lowest possible level of appearance. Uh… no. Not at all. Independent candidate Watson seized on this in his response, addressing the need to be more defensive, to which Domina stated the point is to never be on defense by always being on offense. Wow. That would Domina in the extreme right with his foreign policy and defense views, perhaps even of John McCain. Basically, Sasse skates by with simple answers, his youth, and party id to get to the Senate. Who knows, maybe he is capable of doing something good…
I was ready to end this post but then Domina said Israel saves the US billions of dollars by defending itself, because the alternative is to have a substantial military presence in the Middle East. Ok… so we do not have a military presence in the region, let alone an enormous one?
Effect: R Hold
New Hampshire: Jeane Shaheen (D) v. Scott Brown (R)
The Great Carpetbagger Scott Brown followed through on moving to New Hampshire–which according to him he was never not a part of–and challenged solid, if not amazing Jeane Shaheen. In theory, Brown should be able to beat Shaheen in a midterm election in the most conservative northeastern state. However, Brown will lose for several reasons. One, carpetbagging is not well-received in contemporary politics. Historically, it mattered very little, except for northern Unionist moving down the former Confederacy to run shit after the Civil War. Only in the last 50ish years have enough states solidified that you cannot hold office in one state then attempt to attain office in another. Put simply, people look on candidates from other states or districts as not them, and suspicious for even attempting to manipulate them or meddle in their affairs. Second, Shaheen is a fairly strong candidate. Yes, she has lost an election in the past, but she has a strong record within the state and even with current attacks on her, is a fairly moderate Democrat. Third, Brown’s campaign has been so excessively negative and snarky, I do not see who would switch a previous vote for Shaheen for a prospective vote for Brown. He has fear mongered on ISIS and Ebola well beyond the median fear mongering politician in the last few weeks (which is an incredible statement since overacting to this public health issue has become a characteristic of American political culture). I would not be shocked if Brown won, but I figure it is more likely New Hampshireans (New Hampshirites?) would consciously vote in a strategic manner to split their delegation. This state has a record of somehow making that happen.
Effect: D Hold
New Jersey: Corey Booker (D) v. Jeff Bell (R)
The question is how transformative a politician Booker will become, as gauged by his electoral margin. Booker’s conservative, Main street, Third Way form of liberalism is actually a step back from Lautenberg’s overt progressivism. But Booker connects with people exceptionally well, which just like President Obama, allows him to build coalitions that exceed that of a standard moderate or progressive Democrat. That said, the large coalition may not materialize in election returns, which is a bit confusing. Bell is a weak candidate. If Christie can pull Dems to his side, I am sure Booker can gain a reciprocal amount of GOP votes. (The dirty secret in NJ politics is that they are not that far apart on most issues.) Anyway, Booker wins, but probably not as big as he will in 2020 (assuming he does not allow a replacement to run while he seeks the presidency).
Effect: D Hold
New Mexico: Tom Udall (D) v. Allen Weh
Unlike his weak sauce cousin up north, Tom Udall has risen to near moral leader status in the Senate. It may be because New Mexico is more liberal than Colorado, but the Tom version of Udall has staked our coherent and logical positions on topics across issues, which has allowed him to cultivate a clear image in the eyes of voters. I venture to wager if Tom was running in Colorado, even with his more left-wing record, he would beat Gardner at least 54-46. But anyway, about this race: … not much to say… Udall returns to the Senate and advances good government reforms.
Effect: D Hold
North Carolina: Kay Hagan (R) v. Thom Tillis v. Sean Haugh
You would not think the architect of kicking voters of voting rolls and requiring state issued ID to vote would seek a raise, let alone proudly campaign on his legislative accomplishments during a campaign. But that is Thom Tillis. He has serious guts, I will give him that. But he will not win, primarily because of his record, Hagan’s solid get out the vote effort, and Libertarian Haugh’s place on the ballot (which will pull votes almost solely from Tillis).
Effect: D Hold
Oklahoma 1: James Inhofe (R) v. Matt Silverstein (D)
The prickly curmudgeon of the Senate asks voters for their support for the 5th time, with what pitch exactly? He is going to continue to aggressively deny reality and stop the illegal Muslim Manchurian programmed Obamar? This may prove to be Inhofe’s most successful vote share in Senate elections, as he traditionally receives either 55% (one time) or 57% (three times), but this time, he is polling in the low 60s with almost 10% undecided. His opponent is a classic lightweight who portrays himself as not a DC insider, but the Democratic version of Tom Coburn. Ok, so why should anyone vote for you?
Effect: R Hold
Oklahoma 2: James Lankford (R) v. Connie Johnson (D) v. Mark Beard (I)
Among the freshman GOPers to arrive in the House in 2010, I always thought Lankford and Kevin Yoder of Kansas City would rise high within the party apparatus, as both are classic Republicans (not Tea Partiers, even when they have received Tea Party support) and they both have deep baritone voices, which gives their words an extra “I am an adult” feel to them. Both of them consistently serve as presiding speaker in the House, which is a sign of courting leadership support. I took no higher pleasure than watching Lankford beat wack-job TW Shannon in the GOP primary, even as Shannon paraded the anti-reality GOP stars around to increase his crypto-fascist cred. Shannon’s lose indicates Oklahoma may have a strong moderate Republican wing, which belies Inhofe’s repeated success over the years. Langford’s Christianity has seemingly played a role in not fear mongering on Ebola, suggesting the US cannot abdicate its role as a leading force in eradicating the disease by sealing the border and ignoring Africa (which interestingly, Johnson then took the screen everyone approach). I expect Langford to run ahead of Inhofe, as I imagine there are some Dems who will vote for Langford, who would not vote for Inhofe.
Effect: R Hold
Oregon: Jeff Merkley (D) v. Monica Wehby v. Christina Lugo (G) v. Mike Montchalin (L) v. Karl King (I)
Merkley is one of the leading reformers of the Senate, and although he has seemingly allowed himself to drift leftward, he is still a pragmatic, innovative leader akin to his fellow Oregonian Ron Wyden. Wehby, on the other hand, is an ineloquent speaker, with a seeming level of disingenuous distortion that motivates her fleeting campaign. Her primary health care recommendations, aside from the numerous plagiarized ones, is to… lower costs? She strikes me as one of those doctors who writes her own scripts for muscle relaxers, which then proceeds to take before every interview she gives. Her lackluster campaign will lead to a libertarian Montchalin picking up some of her prospective voters. Lugo’s vote share is not as much a reflection of dissatisfaction with Merkley, but simply a baseline level of support the Green Party receives in the northwest.
Effect: D Hold
Rhode Island: Jack Reed (D) v. Mark Zaccaria (R)
No contest. Reed and Whitehouse represent their state extremely well, and there is not disconnect between the average voter or body of voters and their two Senators. I take it from polling Zaccaria is a weak candidate, but even if he were stronger, Reed is well entrenched.
Effect: D Hold
South Carolina 1: Lindsey Graham (R) v. Brad Hutto (D) v. Victor Kocher (L) v. Tom Ravenel (I)
Weirdo disgraced ex-Treasurer/reality star Ravenel is running a Tea Party campaign to syphon votes from Graham, with no chance of victory whatsoever. Graham, now free of his scary primary, can fulfill the role he likes the most, which is to lecture the population on how bipartisanship and war-hawkery are the way to go. His opponent Hutto strikes me as quite capable and makes pretty convincing arguments that South Carolina should think about switching representation at this point. But that said, there are enough right-of-center moderates who would generally vote blue dog, but for Graham specifically will cross party lines. Graham wins, but with his lowest percentage in his career.
Effect: R Hold
South Carolina 2: Tim Scott (R) v. Joyce Dickerson (D) v. Jill Bossi (A)
Tom Scott is very popular in South Carolina–no Democrat in the whole state could be him in this particular election. Dickerson is a very weak candidate to begin with. One thing that is odd about Scott is he leans very heavily to his right side when he gives stump speeches, which is quite disorienting. Is it a tell that he is lying about something? Is there a medical explanation? Does he even realize he does this?
Effect: R Hold
South Dakota: Mike Rounds (R) v. Rick Weiland (D) v. Larry Pressler (I) v. Gordon Howie (I)
Rounds has a solid economic development record (and by that I mean, right place right time), to send him straight to Congress. Weiland is a progressive in a state that has been steadily obliterating any left-wing sense. Pressler probably represents average/median voter the best. Howie is just to attack Rounds. Pressler could have beat Rounds if Weiland was not on the ballot.
Effect: R Pickup
Tennessee: Lamar Alexander (R) v. Gordon Ball (D) v. Danny Page (I)
Alexander’s only threat was (and always will be) in the primary, as he is a moderate and responsible Republican, which makes him public enemy number one to many ultra-conservatives. Well, he got through the primary and faces a competent, though overall uninspiring Democrat in Ball. Then there is Page, who is campaigning to the right of Alexander. No matter, in a general Alexander is quite formidable, and he will skate to victory.
Effect: R Hold
Texas: John Cornyn (R) v. David Alameel (D) v. Rebecca Paddock (L) v. Emily Marie Sanchez (G)
After surviving the grass-roots onslaught of the great populist icon Steven Stockman (hopefully my sarcasm was obvious), Cornyn will meet business Dem Alameel, which says about all you need to know about his ability to mobilize the D base. Hispanic mobilization is probably more important than black mobilization at this point, but they are both necessary for a Democrat to win statewide. Although I appreciate Alameel’s heated rhetoric blaming Cornyn for the free trade, outsourcing, and stagnant wages that characterize the US economy, I do not see how that would attract enough outright conservatives to beat the tone deaf ideologue of Cornyn. After all, there are many more of Cornyn’s lot in the general electorate than Alameel’s. If this were a presidential year, Alameel would probably crack 40 percent.
Effect: R Hold
Virginia: Mark Warner (D) v. Ed Gillespie (R) v. Robert Sarvis (L)
Ed Gillespie just rubs people the wrong way. He seems smarmy and unrelatable. His fear-mongering and laying all the nation’s ills at the heels of the Democrats and Mark Warner just do not fly. Warner is a corporate technocrat who rarely does anything too poorly or too well. He is calculating and plays to his strengths. He and Time Kaine are the template for the type of Democrat that can win statewide in Virginia, and I doubt that will change (ever). He has a seat for life, unless he faces a primary from the left.
Effect: D Hold
West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito (R) v. Natalie Tennant (D)
It is sad to see how far Moore Capito has deviated from being a cerebral moderate pragmatist, now portraying herself exactly like Tea Partiers: Obama is to blame for everything, Harry Reid is an obstructionist, and the GOP does no wrong. From the debate above, it seemed quite obvious the Tennant may be a lefty, but her critiques of SMC were very strong and she positioned herself well as the true change the paradigm candidate. But none of that will matter as the state continues to shift Republican, and Moore Capito is the most electable member of that party in the whole state. She will likely maintain the seat for over 12 years.
Winner: Moore Capito
Effect: R Pickup
Wyoming: Mike Enzi (R) v. Charlie Hardy (D) v. Curt Gottshall (I) v. Joseph Porambo (L)
Enzi is going nowhere in the most conservative state in the union. Among most Republicans, he is actually one of the more integrity filled, honest brokers (which has got him in hot water with right-wing activists before). As is often the case, this seat is his until a formidable enough Republican defeats him in a primary.
Effect: R Hold
A few thoughts:
- The Sixth Party System failed to call every race correctly. SPS called 29/33 (88%) Senate races correctly (being wrong about Tester in Montana, Flake in Arizona, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, and Baldwin in Wisconsin), and 49/50 (98%) states (with Florida going for Obama being somewhat of a surprise).
- Obama won every state he won in 2008 except for Indiana and (by a slim margin) North Carolina, even with a reduction of his popular vote by 6 million voters.
- You might say, how can that be? A simple glance at all the Midwest prairie states shows that Obama’s share of the vote in conservative states decreased by an average of 5% across the board. For example, Obama received 42% of the vote in Kansas in 2008, but only 37% this election. Same margin for Wyoming, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.
- The electorate was somewhat stickier in the South, as Obama basically matched what he received in 2008 in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina. This is largely because white voters did not vote for Obama in these parts in 2008, so he could not go down very much. The minority Black electorate still supported Obama by the same intensity (though turnout was slightly down).
- Other Appalachian and Tennessee Valley states that do not have a significant Black population, and therefore did not have the electoral anchor of the South, decreased their support for Obama by about 4-5% on average. This includes a 3% reduction in Tennessee and Kentucky, and a 6-7% reduction in Indiana and West Virginia. Here is where white voters who formerly thought of him as a structural reformer, only to later believe him to be an uber-liberal, channeled their alienation and voted for Romney. It also did not help that all of these states have moved away from the Democratic party in general in the last decade, and furthermore, that these voters may identify Obama to be anti-coal, anti-domestic energy, which poses a threat to their livelihood (especially true in Kentucky and West Virginia).
- Furthermore, in non-competitive states with a blue hue, Obama’s average decreased by 2-3%. This follows in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Minnesota, New Mexico, Maine, New York, etc etc.
- Finally, Obama’s strength lay in battleground states. He tailored policies to appeal to those who reside in those states, and this shows in the empirical data. Obama’s average reduction in swing states was between 2-3%, which is almost statistically insignificant based on his previous margin. These states were Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina.
- All of these reductions explain his lower percentage of the popular vote, even without addressing the turnout question in metropolitan areas. One can conclude that Obama essentially faced an average 3-4% reduction across the board, but that where it counted, the margin was less. Essentially, the Obama campaign relented on governing or campaigning as base pleasers, and instead focused on policies tailored for, and GOTV efforts in, swing states, thus ensuring his reelection even with popular parity. Quite an astute strategy in such a vitriolic and anti-government environment.
- The dichotomy of the House and Senate essentially remaining the same, in conjunction with Obama winning reelection by a slim popular vote, but a large electoral vote, poses several questions.
- Do institutions (1/3 of the Senate running each cycle; the electoral college) impede the will of the people?
- Why did some great candidates, like Kathy Hochul, lose, and some lackluster candidates, like Martha McSally, win?
- How does the electorate conceptualize policy-making in relation to their vote? Would a voter favor a moderate who could advocate and fulfill a legislative agenda that would benefit the voter, or instead, would the voter favor an ideological member who cannot work in a bipartisan manner?
- How will the GOP reassess their platform. With the current redistricting, there is a strong possibility the GOP controls the House for the next decade. The only impediment will be either a) Blue Dogs make a comback or a realignment takes place in the South, or b) The GOP becomes more extreme and loses moderate areas (like most of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan).
Why not pile everything in at the end? The Sixth Party System likes handicapping as much as the next person, so let’s get to it:
Election Landscape: 21 Democrats, 10 Republicans, 2 Independents; 23 Dem caucus members versus 10 GOP.
Overall Senate Landscape: 51D to 47R to 2I (53D to 47R)
Arizona (retiring R)-Jeff Flake (R) versus Richard Carmona (D):
Flake is too odd to be a sure fire victor, which, coupled with Richard Carmona’s positioning as a right of center candidate, leads me to believe Carmona will win. He is one of the strongest localized candidates the Dems have recruited in a decade. His strategy will lay the groundwork for a further Dem penetration into red, Midwestern and Western territory.
Estimate: Carmona wins, 49.3% to 48.9% D+1 R-1
California (D incumbent)-Dianne Feinstein (D) versus Elizabeth Emken (R):
Feinstein is invincible in California, for one, she is to the right of Boxer (and most Democrats), which allows her to win a significant amount of voters in the Central Valley and Greater San Diego area. Secondly, she maintains liberal support based on her legacy in San Francisco following the Harvey Milk and Mayor Mascone. The base has not been pleased with her conservative ways in quite some time, and yet she has never received a serious challenge. Also, it helps the GOP conceded this seat by running a far-right campaign, just like Carly Fiorina did in 2010. Invincible, I tells ya.
Estimate: Feinstein wins, 64% to 34% No Net Change
Connecticut (Retiring I)-Chris Murphy (D) versus Linda McMahon (R):
Money talks, and Linda McMahon has tons of it. She has been attacking Murphy very hard, and it seems to have had an effect. However, a blue state is a blue state, and only a strong ideas candidate with integrity and credibility can pull off this upset—McMahon is not that candidate. Murphy fits the state well, as he could easily be a shill for the financial services sector, which is essentially the number one issue in CT political elite circles.
Estimate: Murphy wins, 53% to 46% D+1 I-1
Delaware (D Incumbent)-Tom Carper (D) v. Kevin Wade (R) v. Alex Pires (I):
Interesting blowout race, as Alex Pires has flanked Carper to the left, which may shift his margin of victory. Wade is a weak candidate, sort of a business Tea Party type. He makes incendiary remarks and uses faulty attacks to often to beat Carper. Anyway, Carper has a lock on this state, perennially (at least until the GOP begins to accept moderates back into the fold).
Estimate: Carper wins, 62% to 32% to 4% No Net Change
Florida (D Incumbent)-Bill Nelson (D) versus Connie Mack (R):
Nelson is a very unique and above-the-frey type of politician. Mack is trying is darndest to tie Nelson to Obama, but the voters of Florida know Nelson is his own type of Democrat, albeit predominantly liberal. Mack was actually a strong candidate, but he cannot beat Nelson, who is stronger. At least Mack and his imploding wife will have each other when they both lose their races. Even with Romney winning the state, Nelson will win.
Estimate: Nelson wins, 55% to 44% No Net Change
Hawaii (Retiring D)-Mazie Hirono versus Linda Lingle (R):
Cannot fault Lingle for a second; she is a strong candidate, a firm moderate, and a reasonable policymaker. However, the native son being on the ballot, and Hirono representing the island’s views closely, means Lingle is out to sea. She would have beat Ed Case, and truth be told, I would have voted for her over his slimey behind.
Estimate: Hirono wins, 57% to 43% No Net Change
Indiana (Retiring R, sort of*)-Joe Donnelly (D) v. Tricky Dick Mourdock (R) v. Andrew Horning (L):
The asterisk is because Dick Lugar, one of the great statesman currently in government, lost his primary; he did not want to retire, but the Tea Party got him. We all know Mourdock has repeatedly shot himself in the foot on various issues, not just God-created rape, but even without those blunders, Donnelly could have won. He is a centrist, much like the center-right electorate of the state, and in absolute terms, he is ideologically closer to Lugar than Mourdock. He is banking on people realizing this, and voting for him. I think they will. He is a strong candiate, who would have held Lugar to around 60%; Mourdock will not fare as well. Additionally, Horning will siphon a significant portion of anti-GOP conservatives that otherwise would have bit the bullet and voted for Mourdock. Horning is your classic libertarian, but with a slightly better niche combating the GOP from within, then leaving when his attempts let to no avail.
Estimate: Donnelly wins 51% to 46% to 3% D+1 R-1
Maine (Retiring R)-Angus King (I) v. Charles Summers (R) v. Cynthia Dill (D) v. Danny Dalton (I) v. Andrew Ian Dodge (I) v. Steve Woods (I):
Only way popular former Governor Angus “The” King loses is if Dill siphons enough far-left votes from him. Luckily, the presence of another liberal in the race, as well as three conservatives, will splinter all ideological groups, and the race ill become a cult of personality and name recognition. Both of those factors leave King atop the standings, and the king will join the Senate, where he will caucus with the Democrats. Interesting because all six leading, as in debate participating, candidates support Roe v. Wade, including the Tea Partier Dodge and Republican Summers.
Estimate: King 48% to Summers 31% to Dill 17% I+1 R-1
Maryland (D Incumbent)-Ben Cardin (D) v. Dan Bongino (R) v. Rob Sobhani (I) v. Dean Ahmad (L):
The presence of Sobhani attracts votes from both sides, limiting Cardin’s margin of victory, but also stymieing Bongino’s ability to attract a plurality. Non-race.
Estimate: Cardin 56% to Bongino 25% to Sobhani 12% to Ahmad 1% No Net Change
Massachusetts (R Incumbent)-Elizabeth Warren (D) versus Scott Brown (R):
Excellent race. Two strong candidates. Here is how both parties should proceed, by selecting district/state tailor made candidates that can attract voters of the opposite party. In this case, Scott Brown does not attract Dems that much, but he is incredibly strong among the state’s 50% Independents. However, this race will surely end in his defeat. Warren, though a member of the Harvard elite, has the important pedigree as an outsider turned insider reformer, and it is quite difficult to make her look bad. Brown has tried the carpetbagger stuff, but Warren fits the state’s interests well, and the voters will make that clear. Even in defeat, Scott Brown is one of the best GOP campaigners in the biz today.
Estimate: Warren wins, 49.2% to 48.3% D+1 R-1
Michigan (D Incumbent)-Debbie Stabenow (D) v. Pete Hoekstra (R) v. Scotty Boman (L):
Remember that racist ad with a Berkeley alum pandering to xenophobia? We were so proud to see one of our own contribute to racist propaganda!! Anyway, Hoekstra is not that weak of a candidate: yes, he is pron to verbal gaffs and racist/anti-Islamic behavior, but he has a manner that resonates with suburban males. However, that is not enough to overcome Stabenow. She has adeptly positioned herself as Ag committee chairman, which will benefit her in the rural parts of the state that Dems have trouble in. Of course, if a farm bill passed, that would be even better, but most concerned voters understand that issue was on the House side. Anywho, Stabenow wins by a wider margin than she should of.
Estimate: Stabenow wins, 56% to 40% to 3% No Net Change
Minnesota (D Incumbent)-Amy Klobuchar (D) versus Kurt Bills (R):
Way off the grid. Klobuchar us perhaps the best Democrat in the nation at attracting GOP voters, even though she is liberal. This race may see a 30 to 45 point margin. Here is an example of a candidate who has cultivated her electorate well.
Estimate: Klobuchar wins, 66% to 34% No Net Change
Mississippi (R Incumbent)-Roger Wicker (R) v. Albert Gore (D) (and some other cons):
Wicker is a vulnerable republican, as he is not very prolific at any policy field and has definite weaknesses in personality. However, the Dems have conceded this seat, for no apparent reason that to justify not spending money on a losing race. So you get some old foggy name Al Gore and that’s that.
Estimate: Wicker wins, 62% to 35% to 3% others No Net Change
Missouri (D Incumbent)-Claire McCaskill v. Todd Akin (R) v. Jonathan Dine (L):
Yup, never good to justify, or legitimize rape. McCaskill would have lost to Sarah Steelman by a good 7 points, but Akin is out of touch enough to cost his party this election. On merit, McCaskill does deserve to win, as she is a moderate in a moderate state, but Obama will drag her down a little. Essentially, to make up for the structural disadvantage, she needed the other guy to mess up and make himself look unelectable. Well, Akin did… loser. Dine will get the conservative voters who were disenchanted with Akin, but not enough to simply stay home.
Estimate: McCaskill 48.8% to 46.3% to 3% No Net Change
Montana (D Incumbent)-Jon Tester (D) v. Denny Rehberg (R) v. Dan Cox (L):
Suing the government because firefighters did not save enough of your large estate is not a flattering look for a politician. Such is the case with Denny Rehberg, whose selfishness and bad-guy qualities may cost him the race. Additionally, Dan Cox is a fairly strong Lib candidate, and will steal some votes otherwise allocated to Rehberg. However, structural factors, and Tester’s difficulty disassociating himself from leadership, will lead Rehberg to gain a promotion he does not deserve.
Estimate: Rehberg wins, 48.3 to 48.1 to 3.4 R+1 D-1
Nebraska (Retiring D)-Deb Fischer (R) versus Bob Kerrey (D):
Ben Nelson probably could have weathered the storm, even with the PPACA vote, but he chose to quit. Though I have had a lot of personal animus toward Nelson over the years, he has been valuable in key votes, and for that, liberals should be thankful (to some extent). Anyway, Deb Fischer was the second weakest potential candidate to emerge from the GOP primary, ahead of Tea Partier Don Stenberg, but behind established candidate Jon Bruning. And Bob Kerrey was the strongest potential candidate. However, the deficit in this race, caused by the hatred of Obama and rightward, intolerant turn of the general electorate, has left this race solidly for Fischer. Had Kerrey maintained his presence in NE, he could win, but being a “New York liberal” does not play well in Kearney.
Estimate: Fischer wins, 56% to 43% R+1 D-1
Nevada (R Incumbent)-Dean Heller (R) versus Shelley Berkeley (D):
Not hard to diagnose this race. Heller is from the rural northern part of the state, which explains his Tea Party conservatism, and Berkeley is a New York transplant from Vegas. Statewide elections in Nevada always hinge on either a) massive turnout in Las Vegas and Henderson, or b) the swing electorate in Reno and Carson City. This race will not benefit from heightened turnout like 2008, as home foreclosures and unemployment have made pro-Dem turnout less likely. Therefore, the race will be decided in Reno, where Berkeley is unpopular and is seen a too closely aligned with Vegas interest (and some conflict of interest stuff). Heller, on the other hand, has very little baggage other than his voting record, and can appeal to people with his reform minded rhetoric. I expect split ticket voters to favor Heller, as pragmatic moderates may see Obama’s predicament as not solely his doing, but nonetheless not support Berkeley’s elitist caricature.
Estimate: Heller wins, 51% to 49% No Net Change
New Jersey (D Incumbent)-Bob Menendez (D) v. Joe Kyrillos (R) v. Ken Kaplan (L):
Menendez seemed vulnerable going into the race, but Kyrillos has an incredible amount of trouble explaining his views on matters that put New Jerseyeans at odds with national Republicans. He still has not explained how he would vote on abortion legislation, which although it is not the premier issue, is just a microcosm of his policies as a whole. Menendez wins by default.
Estimate: Menendez wins, 56% to 40% to 3% No Net Change
New Mexico (Retiring D)-Martin Heinrich versus Heather Wilson (R):
Wilson is a strong candidate, with an interesting pedigree and reasonable stances for her electorate. However, New Mexico is moving away from the party, f not the values, that she is connected to. Heinrich was thought to be a much stronger candidate, but has proven lackluster; only good enough to win. Some might say that is good enough.
Estimate: Heinrich wins 54% to 45% No Net Change
New York (D Incumbent)-Kirsten Gillibrand (D, Working Families, and Independence) versus Wendy Long (R and Conservative):
Gillibrand has moved to the left since coming under the guidance of Chuck Schumer, and is being groomed to possibly be the first female president of the nation. Fortunately for her, she is well liked in all parts of the state, and as an indicator of how center-right voters view her, she received the Independence party endorsement. She will win handedly.
Estimate: Gillibrand wins, 68% to 28% No Net Change
North Dakota (Retiring D)-Rick Berg (R) versus Heidi Heitkamp:
Heitkamp is a superb candidate. In a midterm election, she might have won. However, in this presidential election year, she may be tied to Obama, and may lose the race by a slim margin. Berg has problems conveying his accomplishments, but his party identification may prove enough to gain a plurality. Too bad, Heidi is an ideas person to boot.
Estimate: Berg wins, 50.6% to 49.1% R+1 D-1
Ohio (D Incumbent)-Sherrod Brown (D) versus Josh Mandel (R):
Mandel is a very creepy and awkward guy. I do not doubt he patriotic, and I do not doubt in his heart, he believes what he stands for, but I do question how aware of social forces and inequity he is aware of. Watching the debates between he and Brown, it looked quite forced and gimmicky how he was trying to pigeonhole Brown. Brown was talking about policy, and Mandel was rolling in mud and trying to mislead people. His youth means he will eventually become Governor or Senator, but it will not be during this election. Some split ticketing, in favor of Brown (especially in the Southeast portion of the state).
Estimate: Brown wins, 53% to 46% No Net Change
Pennsylvania (D Incumbent)-Bob Casey (D) versus Tom Smith (R):
Tom Smith is not ready to join government. He has a very low level of understanding about both politics and policy, and I do not think that would change with experience. I think he would simply end up totting the party line in a mindless fashion. Watching the debates, it is clear Casey has learned from his position on the Joint Committee on Taxation, whereas Smith knows almost nothing. The surge for Smith has been because of the millions of dollars he has spent attacking Casey. It may have cut Casey’s margin, but will not change the election outcome.
Estimate: Casey wins, 58% to 40% No Net Change
Rhode Island (D Incumbent)-Sheldon Whitehouse (D) versus Barry Hinckley (R):
Whitehouse and his cohort Senator Reed are highly entrenched in Rhode Island. Even though Representative Cicilline is facing a tough reelection, almost all of detractors from Cicilline will still support Whitehouse. He is a smart legislator who minds the interest of his people. On the other hand, Hinckley has not gained any momentum as he has not found a line of attack that works against Whitehouse.
Estimate: Whitehouse wins, 63% to 36% No Net Change
Tennessee (R Incumbent)-Bob Corker (R) v. Mark Clayton (D) v. Shaun Crowell (L):
Bob Corker, though a millionaire, was once considered a conservative reformer who may work independently of his party. Every now and then, this permutation of Corker still shows up on a procedural vote, but he has otherwise become the party’s median member. His Democratic opponent is an incendiary dixie-crat who the party disavowed in a state with a relatively strong bench. Crowell will take more votes from Clayton than Corker, but Corker will get some of the Democrat votes that might otherwise have stayed home. Crappy situation for the Dems, but Corker could not have wished for a easier election.
By the way, Clayton’s “Issues” tab on his campaign page is quite interesting. He praises Hillary Clinton and talks about “Snoopy bills” (privacy rights), while simultaneously .
Estimate: Corker wins, 71% to 24% to 4% No Net Change
Texas (R Incumbent)-Ted Cruz (R) v. Paul Sadler (D) v. John Myers (L):
Ted Cruz will fit nicely with the Rand Paul-Rob Johnson-Mike Lee-Jim DeMint faction of the Senate. Texas will become a purple state within the decade, but its current constitution is bright red. Paul Sadler is conservative, but the Texan electorate has no tolerance for a Democrat right now, period. Cruz will win despite Myers operating in the same space, as well as some other candidates. But that would only be a problem if the race was close, which it won’t be.
Estimate: Cruz wins, 55% to 44% to 2% No Net Change
Utah (R Incumbent)-Orrin Hatch (R) versus Scott Howell (D):
Hatch lucked out of the eponymous Tea Party state convention, and then the election was over. No much to say, except Hatch is as much a product of this era of ideological shift as any other Senator. He was an original sponsor of the DREAM Act in the Senate, but has since become an Obama conspiracy theorist and bad-faith dealer.
Estimate: Hatch wins, 68% to 31% No Net Change
Vermont (I Incumbent)-Bernie Sanders v. MacGovern (R) v. odd bunch:
I am watching the Vermont Senate debate right now, and man, between the pro-marijuana, China is Big Bird lady, and hippie burnout who thinks Sanders is a warmonger, to the lady who says bills need to be a few words, and the Austrian engineer who thinks the Democrats and Republicans are really only one party, Sanders looks outright moderate and reasonable. If there was one person I could work for in Congress, it would be Bernie Sanders. He will win this one with a wide margin, even though MacGovern isn’t that for from the median voter in suburban areas of eastern Vermont.
The moderator questioned him pretty hard about why he supports the F-35, which he was largely defensive in response. Interesting turn of events when Sanders is the pro-military industrial complex candidate. I actually agree with his pragmatism—local jobs valuable and should be preserved, while the greater policy should be changed.
Estimate: Sanders wins, 76% to 23% (1% for all other candidates) No Net Change
Virginia (Retiring D)-Tim Kaine (D) versus George Allen (R):
George Allen wants his old seat back, and the conservative political elite want it back for him. In this newly purple state, Tim Kaine and George Allen both hold a soft spot in the electorate, one for his father’s coaching experience, the other for his stewardship of Virginia into a job creating machine. Both are ex-Governors, both have high name recognition, and both wield incredible sums of money. This one will not be as close as it could, but in this Obama year, expect high turnout in Northern Virginia, ensuring Kaine’s victory.
Estimate: Kaine wins, 51% to 48% No Net Change
Washington (D Incumbent)-Maria Cantwell (D) versus Michael Baumgartner (R):
Cantwell is a New Democrat and her ideological pairing of state business interest, like Boeing and the tech sector, with her ability to speak on social issues, make her a well positioned candidate in her Washington. Baumgartner is also a unique Republican, as he seems to be the next generation of Tea Party deconstructionist, but seemingly a little more selective on what he is nihilistic about.
Estimate: Cantwell wins, 57% to 42% No Net Change
West Virginia (D Incumbent)-Joe Manchin (D) versus John Raese (R):
Rematch of the last special election, which was much closer than this one will be. Raese does not have credibility with voters and in many ways works against workers’ rights that some in West Virginia still value. On the other side, Manchin has tailored an localized image as the last protector of West Virginian interests, including coal in all forms and a commercial of him shooting a target with Obama’s face on it (pretty fucked up, regardless of who is President). His independence from his party, as well as his paternalistic approach (which he had as Governor), will lead him to an easy victory. Shelley Moore-Capito could have given Manchin a run for his money, but Raese cannot.
Estimate: Manchin wins, 59% to 40% No Net Change
Wisconsin (Retiring D)-Tommy Thompson (R) versus Tammy Baldwin (D):
In the most polarized state in the nation, it is possible this race replicates the electoral geography of the recent Scott Walker recall election. Both Thompson and Baldwin are strong candidates, Thompson because of his highly esteemed record in Wisconsin, and Baldwin because of the progressive views she holds. These two dimensions provide the two contending interests (labor, youth and educated progressives versus religious, rural and suburban conservatives). Pragmatic conservatives are not necessarily too far removed from Baldwin ideologically to inhibit their crossover.
Estimate: Thompson wins, 49.7 to 49.2 R+1 D-1
Wyoming (Incumbent R)-John Barrasso (R) versus Tim Chestnut (D):
Wyoming is the most conservative state in the country, which makes it even nicer that Chestnut is running as an authentic, reasoned liberal. The only major caveat is his energy policy, but being the way Wyoming is constituted, that makes perfect sense. Barrasso is well-entrenched, even if he is one of the worst offenders of misleading voters, distorting the truth, and operating in bad faith when he legislates (although, is legislating against his ideology?). Barrasso should imitate his compadre Mike Enzi, who is on the far-right, and yet has decent working relations with numerous moderates and liberals in the Senate. Still waiting for Freudenthal to run, maybe in six years…
Estimate: Barrasso wins, 68% to 29% No Net Change
Overall Change In The Senate: No Net Change! The Democrats will gain some new seats, while losing some in the Midwest, which will all be offset. Even two independents who caucus with the Democrats will return to the Senate (King will caucus with the majority, which will be Democratic once more).
I hope you enjoyed this set of predictions and did your civic duty and voted! If you have not voted early, make sure to take some time to vote today!!
The election is tomorrow, and accordingly, a belated electoral college prediction is necessary. I regret my inactivity on this blog in the last six months, but life sometimes pushes hobbies to the wayside. Let’s get into it:
Among the tossup states, it is my belief Obama will take all of the Rustbelt states, largely due to the auto bailout and ancestral alliance to unions (though the 2010 election showed union members are willing to leave the Democratic party). This means, regardless of the voter irregularities in the counting of votes in Ohio, which Governor Kasich’s character has ensured will occur, Obama’s margin will be large enough to where it is moot. Wisconsin may be even closer than Ohio, but the ground game, and national level thinking of the electorate, will once again make it a blue state.
Florida will go for Romney. Rick Scott becoming Governor of Florida shows the electorate there is among the least informed and aware in the country. There are simply not enough Jewish and black voters in Florida to overcome the caucazoid and Cuban conservative coalition. Florida will be a blue state again, but not this election. Virginia, in contrast, will go for Obama based on the yuppie class that populates the northern segment of the state. Their whole reason for even living in Virginia is due to the expansion of the federal government, so this constituency will break hard for Obama. Still a 50-49 race, but the victor will be the same as 2008.
Moving west, the pundits and pollsters seem to think Colorado is in Romney’s camp, but the demographics, and good governance history of Colorado, make me think otherwise. In truth, Romney is the perfect type of Republican for this state: moderate, sort of folksy (in a contrived way), and non-threatening. However, the voter intensity in this state will still favor Obama, as a whole new group of 18-21 years olds who are not policy oriented (and thus do not feel scorned by Obama’s continuation of Bush era policies) will vote as they would have in 2008. Expect a 51-48 victory there, with Gary Johnson pulling a max of 2% of the vote (leaving a 50-48-2 split). In Nevada, the preponderance of Mormons and the state’s nation’s worst unemployment figures should all aid Romney. Again however, demographic changes, and the inability (or lack of trying) to court Hispanics into the GOP has left a structural gap that cannot be made up this election. Expect a 51-46-3 split, with Gary Johnson pulling evenly from Obama and Romney in third place.
That leaves the electoral college at 303 to 235, in favor of Obamar. The overall popular vote will be something like 63,500,000 for Obama and 62,000,000 for Romney. As you can see, I expect lower voter turnout, by about 2 million voters, than in the 2008 election. Most of these would have supported Obama, but are to his ideological left and feel betrayed by not fighting harder for a progressive change agenda.
And that is the election. Next up in national politics: gridlock in Congress, a civil war in the GOP, and who will crack first on the sequester?
Praise Jesus! I swear, this guy will be the face of the Evangelical Right in the Republican Party once his playing career is over. Hopefully he will make for a less insidious politician than the current Evangelical hate mongers. I do not even know if he will reside in Florida again, but people will remember him…
Oh wait, is this about Tebow or the primary?
I guess the latter.
Here are the predictions:
1. Mittbot… 45%
2. Fathead… 28%
3. Santorum… 14%
4. Nostradamus Paul… 11%
The only caveat I might add is that Paul is very popular among college students and there are a lot of colleges in Florida. The thing is, do they participate in the Republican primary? Hopefully Nate Silver will have an exit poll consortium that sheds light on this cleavage. If college voters really turnout, Paul could get up 17%.
South Carolina Primary Prediction
1. Newt “Dude, Where’s My Next Wife” Gingrich… 40%
2. Mitt “Rombot” Romney … 30%
3. Rick “Santorum” Santorum … 15%
4. Ron “The World Is Ending” Paul… 12%
5. Rick “At This Rate, I’ll Be Governor Forever” Perry… 2%
Whoohooh! More garbage to eat!
This is a demographical map of slave concentration in South Carolina from 1861. It seems to speak volumes about what the state has historically stood for: right-wing racism, incendiary behavior, violence, aristocratic commercial control, and general oppression of the black, and by the white, populace. When deciding what image to upload for this post, I considered John Calhoun’s portrait, a Nullifier Party poster, an image of a lynching in 1932, a Barbadian planter family portrait from the 1740s, an image of Strom Thurmond filibustering the Civil Rights legislation in the late 50s and 60s, or a picture of Fort Sumter being bombarded. How about this quote from Governor Tillman:
“We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.”
If you love disgraceful history… then you will love South Carolina
The fringe of the Republican-conservative-Tea Party-libertarian-arnacho-fascist electorate has achieved a great milestone. In Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, the ever radicalized right-wing electorate has attracted two of the most pathetic conservative presidential candidates in American history. Both Bachmann and Perry are pron to verbal confusion and the flubbing of facts to suit their narratives, regardless of broad consensus interpretation on the subject. Jon Huntsman is good guy who undertands how to accomplish modern day problems with a conservative bend. Though I am not a conservative, I can see how someone like Huntsman could effectively govern; I do not retain this assessment for Bachmann or Perry. Romney will now win-out smoothly. Iowa will be split, something like:
Gingrich, Cain, Huntsman, Santorum 2-3% each
New Hampshire will easily go for Romney, with about 58% of the vote.
South Carolina will still go with Bachmannm then Perry, then Cain, then Romney. Paul’s message is not jingoistic enough for SC.
From there Romney will cost. California should be interesting, as California libertarians outnumber California conservatives in the electorate, but are historically timid in Republican primaries. If Gary Johnson or Ron Paul are able to win the state on Super Tuesday, it could shift the entire landscape. Romney should do fairly well in California, though he was trounced by McCain in 2008 (not exactly the strongest candidate).
Though I would bet all the money I have in the bank (which is $0 since I spent it all in anticipation of the May 21 rapture) that Palin will not run, I thought it would be fun to create hypothetical electoral college results. This is Obama’s high water mark, which he is unlikely to reach facing any serious candidate. This race would most likely breed a third party candidacy by another conservative or a libertarian minded individual (Paul, Bloomberg, etc.). I decided creating a map including a third party candidate would unleash to many confounding variables, so I stuck to the one-on-one matchup. I will do a few more of these maps for other prospective races.
Notes on the map: She would only win Alaska is heavily anti-Obama. That follows from Alaska’s antagonism towards the federal government and the connection demagogues have made between big government and Obama, despite his tax reductions. What is “big government” anyway? Check out Michigan’s Public Act:
now that is big government. Also, Texas would be in play if Palin ran because she is very good at rallying antithesis support from minorities, which might compel the “sleeping giant” Hispanic vote to finally turn Texas blue. Georgia would be the only bible belt state to turn blue, but it was already fairly close in 2008.
The Republican field is still wide open to challenge President Obama in November 2012. Below is an assessment of each candidates strengths and weaknesses. The field is separated into 3 fields: Already announced presidential campaign, likely to run/formed committee, and unlikely to run but loves publicity. Here we go…
Strengths: Firebrand member of intellectual wing of party. Has the ability to mobilize the racist and anti-Obama wing of electorate well. Comes up with creative ideas that accomplish conservative policy aspirations. Has a track record of fiscal discipline… sort of.
Weaknesses: Hated by half of the general electorate. One of the weakest candidates against Obama. Cannot stop making incendiary remarks, if not about Obama being a secular-socialist-fascist-nazi, then calling Paul Ryan’s budget “right-wing social engineering.” Has establishment and Tea Party credentials, but lacks a base of support in either.
Ideology: Libertarian, social moderate
Strengths: Has some sensible plans about how to reduce spending and end the war on drugs—good in the general election. Good Government pragmatist.
Weaknesses: Has some sensible plans about how to reduce spending and end the war on drugs—bad in the primary election. He supports a woman’s right to choose, which is tantamount to murdering babies in Republican primaries.
Strengths: Very consistent in adhering rhetorically and in practice to his strict constitutionalists/libertarian views. This could finally be the year the electorate is desperate enough to tackle the debt that they select Paul. If debt is the number one issue he has a great shot at winning the primary, though his views on the Department of Education alone would cost him the general.
Weaknesses: A novelty in many respects, votes too “left” on foreign policy and wants to dismantle the military industrial complex, which most conservatives dearly love. Too honest/consistent.
Formed Exploratory Committee/Likely To Run
Herman Cain (GA) Update: Formally Announced on May 21, 2011; dropped out on December 3
Strengths: Tea Partiers could collectivize around his candidacy, even if they are racist and he is black. Appeals to the I-am-qualified-to-be-president-because-I-have-never-served-in-government crowd who instinctually think everyone in government is doing something to screw them over. Will fair well in South Carolina, but nowhere else.
Weaknesses: Too inflammatory to be a serious candidate. Does not have ideas about how to practically fix government, only sweeping idealisms that will collide into a wall in government.
Ideology: Mainstream Conservative (with some moderate views)
Strengths: Good general election candidate who can capture moderate votes in Ohio and Florida. He can bridge the gap between the Tea Party and the rest of the country. One of the few Republicans I can say is a good person and that when he signs legislation he thinks about those it affects.
Weaknesses: Too diplomatic in how he speaks about Obama to win the votes of indignant primary voters. Very low key, hard to gain traction that way.
Mitch Daniels (IN) Update: Dropped out May 21st to spare family of scrutiny
Strengths: Has the know-how greatly reduce federal spending in a sensible manner.
Weaknesses: Said he was not against raising taxes and refused to take Grover Norquist’s No Tax Pledge, which is an asset in governance, but a deficiency in an extreme primary culture. If he makes it to Super Tuesday he may fair a shot, or if the convention deadlocks and a consensus candidate is drafted (which rarely happens anymore)
Ideology: Mainstream Conservative
Strengths: Will most likely be the Republican candidate once the delegates are heard. Has the evangelical background (converted to Baptist from Catholicism) and the mainstream business Republican support to make him the ultimate consensus nominee. Also is credible in a general election since he twice won election statewide in dark blue Minnesota. Will likely be the Republican candidate when all is said and done.
Weaknesses: Has a somewhat shaky fiscal record in Minnesota, diverting money allocated for certain programs into others, which led to a 5 billion dollar deficit the next year (it is notable that this might not hurt him in a Republican primary since his method was to take money from healthcare and education; two things Republicans do not highly prioritize).
Ideology: Moderate (though he paints himself as otherwise)
Strengths: Can appeal to a broad constituency in a general election. Hails from a very blue state, and yet he governed in a bipartisan way. Has some creative ideas and has a history of working to forge consensus. The only candidate that the Obama white house fears facing.
Weaknesses: Flip-flops at a record breaking pace. Unclear if he actually holds any principled beliefs, or if winning is his only motivator. Seems insincere to Republicans when he says he’s pro-life, or now when he tries to bash Obamacare while hailing his own health care initiative that served as the template for the former plan. Will have trouble in the primaries.
Rick Santorum (PA) Update: Announced candidacy on 6 June 2011
Ideology: Evangelical Conservative
Strengths: Appeals to the radical fringe in his party.
Weaknesses: Was driven out of the Senate because of hateful stances on many issues, not to mention he has a poor legislative record. The more you learn about Santorum, the more it becomes apparent he is a creep.
Michelle Bachmann (MN) Update: Announced 6/13/11;
Strengths: Adopted the Tea Party as her base, and it seems like they believe she is one of them (whatever “them” is). Raises a lot of money and can merge the deregulatory, business side with the radical side of the party. Definitely a threat in Iowa.
Weaknesses: Questions abound regarding her intellect, competence, and mass appeal. She can fan the flames of hate, but can she gain support for her policies. Not well-rounded, and she is quite prone to verbal diarrhea.
John Bolton (MD)
Ideology: Strict Conservative
Strengths: Party insider, plenty of connections.
Weaknesses: Low name recognition, radical stances of international affairs (such as the deep belief that the US should pull out of the UN), and has alienated quite a few former Bush administration allies. If he did run, he would poll low early, poll low late. As with Bachmann, he is better at speaking out against Obama than gaining support for his views.
Rudy Guiliani (NY)
Ideology: None really
Strengths: 9/11, though that has become a novelty and has less relevance now that Osama is dead. In a general election his record as mayor would actually help him a lot, but he will likely not survive a Republican primary (just like last time).
Weaknesses: Too liberal for primary voters. Simply does not excel at any of the issues voters care about this election cycle.
Sarah Palin (Formerly Alaska, but they hate her now)
Strengths: Name recognition, fundraising, and the ability to control the media. Speaks to a devoted following that would do anything for her. However…
Weaknesses: She lacks an in-depth understanding of the issues facing the nation. When she speaks about policy it often sounds disjointed, confusing and indicative of someone trying to provide a good answer with little knowledge. She stammers and strings along sentences with little substance. She can be stumped by simple questions, such as “what magazines do you read?” She has created an unlikely coalition of liberals, moderates and conservatives, all agreeing she is unqualified to be president. Her name recognition only helps for Republicans, but the nation as a whole gives her a favorability rating under 20%. She will not run, but if she did Obama would actually win more states than he did in 2008, something very unlikely to happen against any other Republican in this volatile environment.