Midterms: Can Democrats win the Senate?
The GOP’s nightmare midterm scenario is suddenly looking a lot more likely, said Paul Waldman in WashingtonPost.com. Until recently, conventional wisdom has been that Democrats will retake the House of Representatives in November, and Republicans will keep control of the Senate. That’s because the GOP is defending only nine Senate seats this year, compared with 26 for Democrats. But despite the brutal electoral map, polls show Democratic incumbents hanging tough. Embattled red-state Democrats like Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Claire McCaskill in Missouri are in surprisingly good shape, while Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, and Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin “all hold comfortable leads in states Trump won.” Democrats have also recruited quality challengers in conservative states like Arizona and Tennessee, where polls are neck and neck. Republicans are even being forced to defend deep-red Texas, where the “charismatic and dogged” Beto O’Rourke is causing Sen. Ted Cruz to worry. Improbably, a path to a Democratic Senate majority is starting to emerge.
“Republicans running for office need to man up,” said Liz Peek in FoxNews.com. GOP candidates should be hammering home the fact that the economy under President Trump is booming, with unemployment the lowest it’s been in nearly two decades. If Republicans can’t win in this environment, “shame on them.” The economy doesn’t matter, said Matthew Continetti in FreeBeacon.com. Trump’s approval rating is now below 40 percent in multiple polls, dragging down the entire Republican Party. How are GOP candidates supposed to stay on message when they’re constantly worried about the next presidential tweet? “This is a one-issue election. The issue is Donald Trump.”
I still wouldn’t bet on Democrats taking the Senate, said Josh Kraushaar in NationalJournal.com. In many ways, “the House and Senate races are operating in two entirely different universes.” The most competitive House races are taking place in affluent suburban districts, where Democrats are poised to make huge gains. But the key “Senate races are occurring in some of the Trumpiest parts of the country,” like North Dakota and Montana. Democrats might pick off Senate seats in a few red states, but to win a majority, they’ll have to run the table in every close race. In all likelihood, Republicans will hold on to their narrow 51-49 advantage. The math for Democrats is just too tough.