Sunday, July 14, 2013

The future of the Senate

I was going to write about how the Dems were doomed when it came to holding the Senate (not for the first time either). It stands to reason that with so many rural and southern conservative states, the Dems can't hold the Senate much longer.

Wrong. I checked out my hypothesis that there are more conservative states than liberal states, but that's not true. According to the 2012 presidential election returns, Obama won 26 states, and Romney won 24.


Of course, about a dozen of these are swing states. Many more are not so liberal that they won't elect a Republican senator. But it's not the slam-dunk for the GOP that I initially thought.

The GOP should have been able to flip the Senate, but they've picked some terrible candidates (roll call: Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, Christine O'Donnell). The GOP establishment keeps hoping, but the GOP base keeps undermining them. It'll interesting to watch what happens in 2014 because the Dems are still vulnerable.

The GOP desperately needs to turn the Senate. Their power in the House looks impregnable (thanks to their control of a majority of state governments and the tradition of gerrymandering), but it hasn't done them much good. The Senate routinely ignores the highly partisan bills arriving from the House, making the House look stupid and the Senate wise.

It's questionable whether the GOP can turn the Senate while they behave as they do in the House. There is no better incentive for voters to choose a Dem senate candidate than the current crop of House Republicans.

If the GOP were to gain the Senate, what would they do with it? If they became as extreme as the House, they would not keep the Senate long. Fed-up senators have already been quitting on a regular basis. On the other hand, the GOP have passed a lot of their agenda in a short time when they had the chance, as in 2001. That won't happen after 2014 with a Dem still in the White House. It's questionable what they could do with the Senate, except hope to build momentum for a complete sweep in 2016.

In the meantime, the GOP has got to be looking over its shoulder as some states are turning blue, or bluish. Virginia is one of the first, but Georgia and Arizona are getting ripe.

It seems to me that there's no strategy for the GOP to gain a lot of power, between their base, their extremists in the House, their frequently execrable candidates, and looming demographics. But I did think of one thing that could help them! If they just gave the House back to Nancy Pelosi...


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