Much attention has been paid to the House of Representatives as primaries on Tuesday in California demonstrated real weakness for Democrats, opening the door to the possibility of the GOP taking back the majority and removing the gavel from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi next January. Having control of the House, Senate, and White House would give the GOP agenda a huge boost for at least two of President Trump’s final four years.
The House looks promising and the White House looks pretty secure as Democrats squabble over socialism versus senility. But the Senate is also in play as Democrats try to flip the four seats necessary to take back the majority they lost in 2014. What are their chances of doing that?
Currently, 18 of the 35 seats up for grabs in November are safe. It would take something catastrophic for Tom Cotton to lose in Arkansas or Dick Durbin to lose in Illinois. That leaves 17 that have the possibility of being flipped, and most of them are Republicans. The good news is one of those that is almost certain to be flipped is Doug Jones in Alabama. He squeaked by the special election due to reports that his Republican opponent, Judge Roy Moore, dated teen girls when he was in his 30s. He denied the reports, but voters were spooked enough to put a Democrat in the seat vacated by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Now Sessions and Tommy Tuberville are vying for the opportunity to take on Jones in the general election. Either one of them should beat Jones by double digits.
With the Senate currently sitting at 53-47, flipping Alabama means the Democrats would need to win four elections to get a tie. Assuming Vice President Mike Pence is still the tiebreaker in 2021, Democrats would need a fifth win to get an actual majority and install Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader, thus demolishing the President’s judicial agenda of plugging in right-leaning judges. This is why Schumer made his unhinged rant this week to set the stage for an election battle with Roe v. Wade unofficially on the ballot.
There are currently four Republicans who are in real danger of losing their seats with several others who are not in easy races. Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine are all behind the eight ball. Though most analysts are calling their races toss-ups, I would have a much more grim perspective. These seats are likely to be flipped if a concerted effort and a lot of money isn’t injected into those races between now and November. Gardner in particular is in trouble as Colorado has gone from purple to very much blue in recent years. Name recognition and incumbency status may not be enough to overcome the state’s blue wave that saw Bernie Sanders defeat “moderate” Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Collins isn’t loved in her light blue state, either. Maine has been bucking the GOP a lot lately, and while she was once the popular Republican there with her pro-choice abortion stance, her support of Brett Kavanaugh’s conformation did not endear her to many of the Independents who supported her. But she has the money advantage and she’s been there a long time. There’s still a chance she can pull this out.
McSally is simply weak. She lost to Kyrsten Sinema in 2018, then was appointed to the other Senate seat after John McCain died. But Arizona is still mostly red, leaning towards purple but not quite there yet. Of the four races, hers is the one that the GOP needs to win the most. Losing in Arizona would be a major blow to keeping the state right-leaning, opening the door to future candidates in other races because of the perceived Republican weakness.
Gary Peters in Michigan is the only other Democrat with a realistic chance of being flipped. If the GOP loses all four vulnerable seats, they may need Peters’ seat to keep things moving along properly. A slim majority of 51 would hamper the GOP agenda greatly. With people like Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski siding with Democrats regularly, it’s important for Republicans to not rely on a sliver. We need strong majority in order to keep the judiciary leaning towards the Constitution and for the Trump agenda to move full-speed ahead if Republicans can retake control of the House.
So much attention is put on presidential elections, but a win by President Trump is greatly hampered if his party cannot keep control of the Senate. This is not the time for complacency or laziness. Republicans must rally to keep the Senate red.
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