By Brian McKay
2016 was always expected to be a good year for the Democrats, now it is looking like it might even exceed those expectations. Presidential election years are always better for Democrats than mid-terms for the very reason that young and minority voters actually show up. Mid-terms are dominated by old, white and evangelical simply by being the only group that consistently goes to the polls.
The map looked good for Democrats going into the year but a Cruz or Trump Presidential nomination could make it all just fucking awesome. Yeah that is the appropriate word to use for the amount of awesomeness that it could be for them. Awesome sauce is another good term.
The Republicans picked up 9 seats in the Senate in 2012 due to a favorable map, those old, white people and some poor organization from the Democrats. In 2016 the Democrats only have 10 seats to hold onto while the Republicans have 24. Seven of those Republican seats are in states that President Obama won in both of his elections.
There are a few states that have moved left in recent years and states like Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania, that are toss ups. A Cruz or Trump candidacy truly helps push those toss ups in favor of the Democrats.
zenruption has previously discussed the numbers of Trump and Cruz voters that say they will not show up to vote for the other if he wins the nomination. Add in the votes of independents that now swing left and the Democrats forecast to pick up 5 seats turns into a potential 9 or 10.
Tough races even include John McCain’s seat in Senate with his Democratic challenger, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, tied with him in polling at 42 percent among registered voters.
The continued polarization in the Republican field sees pollsters moving the needle in favor of the Democrats in a multitude of races. Democrats probably feel similar to a major tech company that found out its main competitor just delayed its new product release for another year. Yes, it is that good to be them.
Unfortunately, it might be the moderate Republican Senate members that suffer the worst when independents move left. Removing the moderate side of the party simply entrenches the same clowns that have been destroying it this year. The lack of a sensible Republican establishment sets up even more Congressional dysfunction. Maybe we will see that 12 percent approval rating for Congress fall into the single digits soon?
One truly interesting state to watch will be Wisconsin, as under Governor Scott Walker the state has become more dysfunctional than a heroin addict with a fear of snakes accidentally getting locked in the local zoo’s reptile house. The state has always been able to flip flop to some extent but Republican policies in the state have caused more people to fall out of the middle class since the recession than any other state. The amount that have fallen out of the middle class is an astounding 5.7 percent since 2000, with the majority of the losses happening since the recession. Incomes have fallen 14.7 percent in the state since 2000. Because of this the state has been moving solidly left.
Overall it seems to be lining up to be a banner year for Democrat gains in the Senate, but like all things, you take ‘em when you can get ‘em. The 2018 map is rough for the Dems and maybe the Republicans will get a decent therapist and some anti-psychotics going before then.
Brian McKay is a zenruption co-founder and has his degree in political science from Gonzaga University and his MBA from Boise State University. He feels very fortunate that he has alumni connections to kick ass NCAA football and basketball teams. The whole zenruption team plans to congregate and drink whiskey sours with him while the election night results come in.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license