There’s never a stoppage of talk about a Blue Wave in politics. The midterm elections are the rallying beacon for the left. Ever since Democrats acknowledged Trump would assume the Whitehouse, winning the 2018 elections has been a top priority and a great source of rhetoric. In history, there are numerous occasions where the party in power loses midterm elections, leading to all sorts of political havoc. But this doesn’t happen every time. In 2010, Obama lost the House, stopping much of his agenda in its tracks from a legislative point of view. But is Trump doomed to the same fate? In the House, the answer is less certain. The vast amount of open seats gives measure to unpredictability. The Senate, on the other hand holds the power of impeachment and should Democrats really want Trump removed, they would need control.
Current Senate: 51 Republicans, 49 Democrats
The first seat that the Democrats will likely lose is North Dakota. The GOP had nearly twice as many votes than the Democrats in the primary. Heidi Heitkamp won a high turnout election in 2012 by a slim margin of 1%. She needs to build upon that to survive, but can she against a very formidable opponent? Kevin Cramer was also elected to Congress that same year. He won with 12248 more votes than Heitkamp received in a victorious election for the Democrats. In North Dakota, the congressional district is at-large meaning the Senate race and the Congressional race is virtually the same in that the candidate must have statewide appeal in order to win. Cramer has proven his appeal to voters achieving 233980 votes in 2016, 72643 more votes than Heitkamp received. Cramer has the same race, but a different opponent. It is likeliest that North Dakota turns red out of every blue seat. The math just doesn’t look good for the Democrats. On top of that, Heitkamp voted against confirming Kavanaugh, a move that signaled concession.
Joe Manchin has toted a moderate stance, but West Virginia is becoming more Conservative. Joe Manchin, on the other hand is attached to the ever left moving Democratic party. Patrick Morrisey doesn’t seem to have the same post-primary momentum that his counterparts in Trump voting states have had. This can be attributed to Joe Manchin’s likability and his ability to make moves that pander to his voters. His lone Democrat vote for Kavanaugh was a populist move, both cowardly and brave at the same time. It may, in fact, save his campaign. On the flip side, the left may snub Manchin seeing very little difference between the two. This race is a tossup.
The Primary Election yielded the strongest candidate for the GOP’s chances in November, in stark contrast to Indiana. Leah Vurkmir already has the backing of the well organized Wisconsin GOP, the same GOP that successfully campaigned for Scott Walker during his recall election. This same level of organization already found favor with the more conservative Vurkmir who handily crushed her primary against despite what polling had to say. She’s got game and doesn’t have major scandals holding her down. The Democrats neglected Wisconsin in 2016. So the Republicans better have capitalized off of Hillary’s idle hands. Vurkmir is a great test for the prowess of the GOP in Wisconsin. She makes this race a tossup.
This race began with a lot more promise. However, the emergence of Martha McSally does not bode well for Republicans. She is one of the most left leaning Senate candidates among Republicans, and she doesn’t have the military background that John McCain won with, though she is a veteran herself. It’s very likely that many Republicans snub their noses at this obvious RINO of a candidate. The Democrats on the other hand are nominating a candidate who actually supported Kate’s Law, so were dealing with a Joe Manchin level of Democrat rather than a Claire McCaskill. It doesn’t quite energize any bases to have two similar candidates. However Krysten Sinema’s true colors are coming out. Despite a seemingly moderate time in Congress, she is being revealed as far left. She has made statements bashing her own state and the country. As a result, McSally may be pulling ahead. But still this race is a tossup.
In 2016, the Republicans used the more likable Marco Rubio to maintain the Senate seat. They look to employ the same strategy with Governor Rick Scott. Rick Scott knows how to outperform polling which is what Republicans need in such a time as this. He is capable of winning statewide elections and faces a three term Senator. The GOP can’t run with anything less than a complete professional level campaigner. The Florida GOP is also more organized, similar to Wisconsin. The GOP knows how to win the state and is in the process of solidifying Florida as a red state. Most experts have this race as a tossup, which is why I give the edge to Rick Scott.
Social media is gunning for Cruz’s seat. Unreliable polls have this race as close. But can the guy who thinks that kneeling for the anthem is patriotic really win a state like Texas? I doubt it. But Ted Cruz will have to work for his reelection, which he will probably enjoy doing. Trump will come to Cruz’s assistance later in the campaign to solidify Trump voters with Cruz. I think Beto’s chances are hyped but losing by single digits are in the realm of likelihood. Ted Cruz will win, especially with Abbott running for reelection.
Joe Donnelly won in 2012 due to facing a weak candidate Mike Braun came out of one of the worst Senate primaries of the GOP. Should he win, it would be achievement of the Indiana GOP to carry such a poor candidate to victory. But Trump won Indiana by 20 points. This is a hard race for Donnelly to win, yet Donnelly isn’t the most left Democrat. He is closer to a Manchin than Feinstein, but that might change with his no vote on Kavanaugh. This unpopular move is hard to justify in a state that swung for Trump so heavily. The Indiana GOP should be glad he voted no. Donnelly sabotaging his own chances is way more likely than Braun running a sealed campaign. This race is a tossup.
Bob Menendez may have survived charges related to his corruption, but is one of the most unpopular Senators in the country. Powerful allies have turned on him. Because of his meteoric unpopularity, this race can be considered a tough one. Still New Jersey is heavy on the leftism and Conservatism is little known there. Bob Hugin is no Conservative but will give Menendez a good run if nothing else. Its hard to imagine Republicans stealing a seat in the New Jersey, but its also hard to vote for blatant corruption even if you are a pussy hat wearing soy boy. I think Hugin will lose by a only a slim margin.
Jim Renacci was a terrible candidate from the beginning despite easily winning his primary. Trump’s team handpicked him, and he has done nothing to capitalize off this endorsement. Since the primary he has had terrible poll numbers, but the bigger problem is his lack of advertising. The Blaze reports on his lack of ads:
Brown, evidently understanding the seriousness of the challenge from Renacci after Trump won Ohio in 2016, has spent freely on television and radio ads — roughly 25 times more than Renacci has in the time since the May primary.
Brown has spent $12.5 million since May, compared to only $481,000 from Renacci (which paid for ads that ran in June statewide). In 2012, Josh Mandel spent $12 million on broadcast ads in an unsuccessful bid to unseat Brown.
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State Republicans can’t figure out what Renacci’s strategy is by spending so little on ads.
Still if Renacci was good for one thing it’s the actions that inspired headlines like this Republican Jim Renacci Defends Decision To Fly On Strip Club Owner’s Private Plane To Meet Religious Leaders. Sherrod Brown saw the red wave and acted accordingly.
Jon Tester is another Democrat Senator holding a seat where Trump won bigly in 2016. However, like Indiana, this race seems to be a race to the bottom. Jon Tester is an underperformer but Matt Rosendale is seen as a carpetbagger. Rosendale is having some trouble campaigning, so it seems. Perhaps Tester voting against Kavanaugh and Gorsuch will give Rosendale an edge, like Braun in Indiana. Other factors in this race include a potential Libertarian spoiler candidate. This race is a tossup, but perhaps a debate between the candidates will change the tide.
This is the second most likely seat to flip blue. Dean Heller is the only Republican up for reelection in a state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Dean Heller is looking for a Kavanaugh bump in what looks like a dead heat of a race. His challenger, Jacky Rosen, is also looking for a Kavanaugh bump. She is the Left’s best potential reinforcement in the Senate. Along with Kavanaugh, Rosen is hedging a bet on Obamacare to sink Heller. It’s a risky strategy, but ultimately this race will be a referendum on these two issues. The California pollution is a major disadvantage for the Republicans in Nevada, rendering their incumbent in a tossup.
Claire McCaskill is another unpopular Democrat Senator. Her opponent, Josh Hawley is the darling of the Missouri GOP. This race had major implications from the beginning thus invited a large field of candidates for the primary. Josh Hawley is a likable candidate who won’t make a legitimate rape comment that gave McCaskill the seat in the first place. He even avoided campaigning with a controversial pastor. He doesn’t want people to not like him, thus he waited a long time within his campaign to clearly articulate his positions. Josh Hawley is the Missouri Marco Rubio and should carry the GOP across the finish line. There is a lot of money riding on this election. Other factors in this race may be the confusion with the lawsuit surrounding Missouri’s voter ID law. This race is a tossup on paper, but Hawley will likely take it.
Can the Democrats take this seat away from Republicans? Yes? Tennessee is the third of three seats that have a possibility of flipping blue as part of the Blue Wave? The only problem for leftist is that Phil Bredesen isn’t all that leftist and a victory in this race is not an indication that the country is embracing socialist or anticapitalist policies. Rather Phil Bredesen is perhaps a political unicorn: fiscally conservative and socially moderate. Paige rogers write this much prior to him winning his primary.
Under his tenure, the fiscally conservative Bredesen understood and respected Tennesseans’ preference for low taxes over “government goodies” and did not attempt to force more taxes down our throats. Tennessee also requires a balanced budget, which basically means that the state can’t spend more than it takes in. In a 2011 exit interview, he remarked, “As long as you’re willing to tell people there are certain things you can’t do — you can’t have Massachusetts services and Tennessee taxes … [then there’s an understanding] that Tennessee’s future lies more in being a low-tax state and accepting the level of services that implies.” And so, under the taxation-restrictive environment of Tennessee, he made the most of what he had to work with.
The threat to the GOP is real. Bredesen has even stated that he would have voted for Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, the overrated pop star Taylor Swift is shelling out for him calling Marsha Blackburn, a woman, bad for women. Tennessee is a red state, and Trump supports Marsha Blackburn. Bredesen is playing the Joe Manchin card, but Project Veritas released a video implicating his moderate act as a lie. These are critical advantages. But this race is close. This race is a tossup.
John James is a fantastic candidate on paper and a savvy campaigner, but that was in the primary. He will need a lot more than that if he wants to flip a union heavy state. Michigan went for Trump but that was very telling of how bad Hillary Clinton was rather than how popular the Republicans are. If the Republicans win in Michigan, then the Red Wave would be catastrophic. This race is winnable. Tom Rogan describes this race as one to watch.
And it’s clear the Stabenow campaign is growing increasingly concerned. Their focus has shifted away from broad appeals to Michigan voters and toward a narrative that the Republican Party wants to penalize Americans with pre-existing health conditions. It’s a basic fear strategy, devoid of factual foundation, but one they hope will be enough to shut down James’ lead.
And with Kid Rock due to campaign for James next week, the Democrats want to blunt James’ rise before he can catalyze it. James finished very strongly in his primary, after trailing his main GOP opponent for most of the race, and he’d like to pull off a similar feat next month.
Perhaps a Kavanaugh bump paired with some solid campaign ground game will deliver the upset. Just maybe he might do it. But for now, this is a blue seat.
Before Election Day Republicans 42 Democrats 23
I considered this map very liberal (not Left) with its use of tossups. At a glance, the GOP already secures 49 seats, two fewer seats than what they currently hold. A Democratic majority would require the Democrats to win all 9 toss up races along with securing the competitive races that aren’t tossup. The Democrats max out at 51, maybe 52 if they drum up some rape allegations on Ted Cruz; it’s approaching that time in the race if they are going to do that. In contrast the Republicans max out at 59, all of the tossups and a W in both New Jersey and Michigan.