Flip and flop
At the beginning of the year, Karl Rove announced that the Republicans would make national security the key issue for the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections.
But now, the Republicans have flipped. The Republican election strategists are now officially saying all politics is local. They even expressly admit they are going to go negative against Democratic Party candidates.
I know everyone wants to talk about the House races, and the 15 seats the Democratic Party needs to take to re-gain control of the House. And yes, I think the Democratic Party has an outside chance of succeeding. However, I remain skeptical because of gerrymandered districts where party registration alone means enough Republican incumbents will win to maintain Republican control of the House.
My perhaps contrarian belief is that the US Senate, where the Republicans have a 56-44 advantage, is ironically more likely to end up in a 50-50 tie, thus largely neutralizing the Republican Party advantage in that legislative chamber. Here is a list of Senate Republicans who are now in trouble, per the latest polling data:
* Missouri: Sen. Jim Talent
* Montana: Sen. Conrad Burns
* Ohio: Sen. Mike DeWine
* Pennsylvania: Sen. Rick Santorum
* Rhode Island: Lincoln Chafee, who like Lieberman, may not survive his party primary
* Tennessee: OPEN (Sen. Bill Frist is retiring)
* Virginia: Sen. George Allen (1st term/52%)
Polling data from each of these States shows either (1) the Republican incumbent trailing or (2) the Republican incumbent ahead by the margin of error in polls. If 6 of the 7 on the above list go to the Democratic Party challenger, the Republicans would, for the next two years, at least, need unanimous support in order for the Worst Vice President Ever to come to the Senate to break a tie.
But what about Democratic Party Senators running for re-election, you may ask? Well, outside of Lieberman, none, except NJ's new incumbent, Bob Menendez, are in trouble. And Mendenez will win against Kean, Jr. as Republicans in NJ are still rather despondent. I also think enough Dems in Connecticut who voted for Lieberman in the primary are going to vote Lamont in a few weeks--because more than enough Democratic Party voters see these Congressional elections as national. That means that most, if not all Democratic Party voters will stick with their candidates, despite the amazing mud that will now be slinged against their party's candidates.
Therefore, where there is no gerrymandering of districts, as States are just States that don't change boundaries every decade, and population changes come rather slowly, the irony, again, is that, in about eight weeks, the Democrats may have a better chance to neutralize the Republican majority in the US Senate than take control of the House of Representatives.