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Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Nevada and Tea Party favourite Sharron Angle, who lost to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in her race for the U.S. Senate, speaks to supporters at an election night rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 2,
Who will be the Sharron Angle of 2014? You know there's one out there!
For those closely following the 2014 elections, the primary topic of conversation has been the battle over the balance of power in the United States Senate, where Democrats are holding onto a 55-45 majority (for the picky, 53-45 with two Independents that caucus with the Democrats).

Republicans, smelling a little blood in the water, have begun quite boldly speculating about seizing the majority from the Democrats. A reasonable examination of the landscape tells us that this burgeoning optimism coming from devotees of the GOP is not completely unfounded. Not only are the Democrats defending more seats in the Senate (21-15, when the three special elections are factored in), but they are defending some seats in what has become brutal turf for the Democrats in recent elections. Look down the menu: Arkansas, West Virginia, South Dakota, Alaska, Louisiana. Not one of those is a state where having a "D" after your name would be considered an asset, to be sure.

That having been said, however, the salivation over a Republican ascendancy in the Senate ignores, quite frankly, a vital lesson of recent history. The lesson in question? The fact that Republicans must first survive the perils of primary season in order to put their best foot (and candidate) forward for November. What's more: Their track record in the past two cycles on this score has been hideous. If the Republicans were capable of avoiding bazooka shots to their own feet, they might be on the cusp of the Senate majority already.

With that in mind, let's take a look back at the recent history for the GOP, how they've compromised their own chances well before November, and how they may do so again in 2014. All of that awaits you on the other side of the squiggly thing.


The recent spate of Republican self-immolation in the battle for the Senate began in earnest in 2010. In what was, without a doubt, the most favorable electoral climate for Republicans in a generation, the GOP handed three seats to the Democrats.

The most memorable, of course, came in the form of one Christine O'Donnell of Delaware. When Joe Biden was elevated to the vice presidency, the universal assumption was that the seat would be a Republican pickup, assuming that longtime Republican Rep. Mike Castle (one of the last GOPers that could be called a moderate without it being a complete and total joke) would make the Senate bid. Castle did, and never even got out of the Republican primary. There, in a fit of electoral brilliance, Delaware Republicans eschewed Castle in favor of O'Donnell, who had been slammed by Biden in a 2008 Senate race by a 2-to-1 margin.

How badly did Delaware GOP primary voters mess the bed on that one? A poll taken shortly after the primary showed Democratic Chris Coons with a 15-point lead over O'Donnell. For a lark, the pollster asked how people would've voted were the race between Coons and Castle. Castle led by the same 15-point margin. The primary had produced, apparently, a 30-point swing.

O'Donnell wasn't the only primary winner who markedly diminished the chances of victory for the GOP in a Senate race. Both Ken Buck of Colorado and Sharron Angle of Nevada snatched defeat from the jaws of victory for the red team. A net gain for the Democrats of three seats, and all because of Republican primaries. And that's not even counting Joe Miller's upset win in Alaska's Republican primary, because that seat stayed in Republican hands when Lisa Murkowski ran as an Independent and kept her seat (and then immediately switched back to the GOP).

In 2012, the streak continued in spectacular fashion. Who can forget, after all, the electoral catastrophes that were Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock? Add Akin and Mourdock to the list, and that's five GOP primaries that swapped out at least even-money bets to defeat Democrats in favor of candidates that went zero-for-five.

(And that's not even counting Linda McMahon, who threw gazillions of dollars at former Republican Rep. Chris Shays to knock him out of the GOP primary so she could have the privilege of spending a net total of nine figures to lose twice to Democrats by double digits.)

That adds up to a total of five winnable seats the GOP absolutely and undeniably pissed away. Had they put their most electable foot forward, the Senate landscape right now would, in all probability, be no better than 52-48 Democratic (perhaps Reid and McCaskill could've hung on against the more electable Republicans), and perhaps 50-50.

Has the internal strife in the GOP abated since 2012? There aren't many signs of it. So, there's no reason to think that the primaries of 2014 will suddenly see Republicans placing electability over ideology.


In what could be a very challenging Democratic cycle, there are nevertheless several places where Democrats could be the beneficiaries of Republican self-immolation well before November.

The best prospects may come in races where the GOP has outsized primary fields with several legitimate candidates. In those races, out-of-the-mainstream ideological candidates can find their salvation in the fact that 35 percent or less of the vote could bring them home. In the South, meanwhile, a large field gives the "more conservative" candidate a clean shot in the runoff against an incumbent or a more "establishment" candidate.

Several states in this cycle fit that particular description. Interestingly, two of them involve men who played parts in the 2010/12 GOP primaries: Ken Buck of Colorado and Joe Miller of Alaska.

In a small smattering of evidence to prove the point, a GOP poll released this week underscores the peril for Republicans in Alaska. While the poll claimed that either GOP Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell or former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan would lead incumbent Democrat Mark Begich, it also showed that Miller would be down 19 (!) points to the freshman senator.

While Ken Buck fares about as well against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall as his primary mates, it is worth noting that the standing of Buck's rivals against Udall have all improved since November, while his is identical to where he was in November. This could be a sign that Buck's non-disastrous numbers earlier in the cycle were more a function of residual name recognition than a true reassessment of him as a candidate.

What's more: Someone's standing in the polls today may not reflect the true peril that their nomination would bring. Look at the two most infamous examples from 2012: Akin and Mourdock. Both of them, at differing points in the cycle, held leads over their Democratic counterparts. What gave Democrats hope in both of those races was that, at some point, they'd expose themselves politically. In glorious fashion (one in August, the other in October), both of them complied.

Which is what gives Democrats hope for ... say ... a Paul Broun nomination in Georgia. With limited name recognition at present, Broun polls about as well as all the other Republican aspirants in the Peach State when paired with near-certain Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn. But, hey, it's not like there's a chance that Broun will say something to render himself less electable.

Broun isn't the only Republican that Democrats have to secretly be hoping will win at least one election during 2014. Some have legitimate shots of doing so: Broun in Georgia, or Bob Vander Plaats in Iowa, who seems to be edging towards a bid. Others are bigger longshots, but their mere presence and efforts could weaken the favorites. Here, we think about the longshot primary challenge to Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, or former Sen. Bob Smith's bid for the Senate in New Hampshire, which would certainly be a huge underdog should Scott Brown get in.

There are a number of other races where the candidates are a bit less well known, but the same dynamic applies. In North Carolina, for example, you'd probably rather (if you are a fan of freshman Democrat Kay Hagan) see Greg Brannon win the nomination than Thom Tillis. In Louisiana, you'd rather see anyone other than Bill Cassidy win the nod, though the prospects of that seem remote at this point. In Montana, you'd love to see Champ Edmunds somehow ride a wave of anti-establishment, anti-DC sentiment to a win over Steve Daines. Again, Edmunds is the longest of longshots, but ... hey ... wasn't Christine O'Donnell?

The bottom line is this, however: There is certainly precedent for Republican primary voters causing excruciating heartburn over at the NRSC. And there is absolutely no reason to think that, in this cycle, it won't happen again. And with the number of competitive races on the docket this cycle, it would only take a couple to turn the GOP from a legitimate threat to seize the Senate in 2014 to no better than a 50/50 prospect to do so.

The latter result would be particularly disastrous for the GOP, because their class of 2010 is up in just two years. Therefore, even if they somehow snare 51 seats, it would seem to be a very short-lived victory.

If they want to be anything more than temporary tenants in the Senate majority, they need to not only seize the majority this year, they need to run up the score a little bit. And, if past is prologue, the next seven months may make that task a good deal more difficult.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yup, folks like McYertle still have to get past (23+ / 0-)

    their Tea Party challengers before they can even work against their Democratic opponent. And the numbers aren't looking too good for Turtle Man. Buwahahahaha!
    But the Tea Party did manage to pollute the Senate with the likes of Rand Paul so it's not all laughs and giggles.

    Food processed to be nothing more than simple starches with two dozen flavorings and stabilizers added to make it appear to be food isn't "food". It's "feed" -- what you give to livestock to fatten them up for slaughter.

    by ontheleftcoast on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:12:36 PM PST

    •  Kentucky is looking good. If it holds that means a (8+ / 0-)

      7 seat piclup needed by Republicans, 8 if Georgia is flipped. So far I only see 4-6 likely/possible GOP gains: Montana, SD, Arkansas, and WV (with Alaska and NC questionable, although I lean towards NC held because of incumbency + activated NC base---moral Monday's, etc.).

      •  In Montana (0+ / 0-)

        you have to remember that West has already won an election for state-wide office as Lt. Governor.  Montana has a history of electing a Republican legislature and Democrats for governor and U.S. Senate.

        Knowledge without conscience is the ruination of the soul -- François Rabelais

        by ccyd on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 07:23:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its the news media (0+ / 0-)

          FOX is telling everyone that the Republicans will take the Senate and maintain the house. If FOX says it then the other so called liberal media will go along with it. Fox told the media to concentrate on the South and that is just what the news media is doing. There are more than 17 House members in California, New York, Illinois and Washington State, blue states, where House Republicans will lose their seats however not a single news media will report this fact. The reason why is because FOX will not report this fact therefore neither will another news media.

  •  Democrats still need to go on the offensive, (21+ / 0-)

    can't assume they will stick other parts of their anatomy in their mouths. Besides, the more pressure that is applied, the better the chance they start sticking things in. And as other people have stated here, we need to force them to answer for their policy.

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:21:03 PM PST

  •  Whatever Issues Divide The Right and The Far Right (13+ / 0-)

    We should push.  

    All of Us are Smarter Than Any of Us

    by organize on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:23:17 PM PST

  •  I'm actually hoping for Thom Tillis in NC. (19+ / 0-)

    The GOP legislature is hugely unpopular state wide and that is only going to get worse as the legislative session begins and extends through the campaign season.

    As the leader of the NC House Thom Tillis will become the poster boy for all that is rotten with the GOP in NC.

    Senator Hagan can easily kill two birds with one stone, energizing the base to get out to vote against the NC legislature and its symbol Thom Tillis.

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:23:49 PM PST

  •  I don't think we want McConnell to lose (4+ / 0-)

    Also, some of the others like Cochran, Graham, Alexander, Roberts, Cornyn et al don't help because there isn't a competitive Democrat on the horizon.

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:24:27 PM PST

  •  This is worth reading, with a caveat. (12+ / 0-)

    Don't assume that the same thing will happen in 2014 that happened in 2010. That year, there was an abundance of idiocy bouncing around the GOP. This year, the big money guys are going to work very hard at getting these nut jobs off of the radar.

    The fact remains that there are issues that will pull us up and put us over the top: minimum wage and the Medicaid expansion (especially in those red states). In Kentucky, the success of Kentucky's exchange looks like it just might be starting to reap benefits for Alison Lundergen Grimes.

    We need to start getting out there now and not assume that they will put out wingnuts.

    You remember the old saying:

    "When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. "

    •  Possible (7+ / 0-)

      But they said there would be no more Angle and O'Donnell situations in 2012 after 2010 and they still had Akin and Mourdock.

      "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

      by conspiracy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:29:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That could still help us, if it means their (0+ / 0-)

      Crazy base does not turn out to vote for the country-club R in November.

      So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

      by illinifan17 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:05:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's even MORE idiocy now (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, PassionateJus

      And 2010 was a real wave year for them. I don't sense 2014 will be quite as big.

      Many candidates are not just out there NOW, they've been out there a while. You think Alison Lundergen Grimes just started campaigning?

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:09:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only if we run on those, instead of in (0+ / 0-)

      opposition to them, s GOP lite.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:52:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, there's that but it will be really tough (0+ / 0-)

      I'm hoping the economy will pick up noticeably this year. It's about time and if so it will provide a boost as there has been little economic legislation since 2009 / 2010. What we've put into place, and have not been allowed to build on, is stimulus to the economy. Besides after 13 odd years of Bush tax cuts, huge corporate tax loopholes and deregulation NOT having spurred on the economy in any way, people might be ready to try higher taxes on the wealthy and a healthy dose of government investment in infrastructure, education, and other job builders. The sequester was no help economically and perhaps people will want it lifted.

      But it will still be a tough slog and we may be quite lucky if we hold the Senate. On the other hand, we might gain a few more seats in the House. Just a few, but it's possible. But then, two years ago at this time I was already bracing to lose a Senate were we wound up adding two seats.

  •  Good diary, Steve: but a question: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mainly, is there EVER (or will there EVER be?) an Senate election cycle in which Democrats will not be at a "disadvantage"??
    Maybe it's just one of those common media tropes one can't ever escape, but it just seems like every two years, the CW is that Democrats are always having to "defend" more Senate seats than Republicans. Which, seeing as the Dems are the Majority party seems odd...

  •  might help if Hilery wasn't sitting on the money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    see diary

    a female privileged jerk is no more desirable than a male privileged jerk in my humble opinion

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:28:19 PM PST

  •  Not just Broun, Gingrey and Kingston are also (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, Odysseus, Jacob1145, JBraden

    not terribly disciplined and skillful at not saying dumb things. And Handel's campaign is unimpressive. I think Nunn has a decent chance as long as she wins 50+% on November's election day and doesn't go to a run-off.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:30:22 PM PST

    •  Yeah, a runoff could get really crazy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Jacob1145, JBraden

      Especially if it ends up determining control of the Senate.

      Although I don't think it'll get that far. I've never given the GOP much chance of winning Senate control. To do so, they have to (a) basically run the table of vulnerable Dem seats and (b) not lose any of their own. Neither of those seem likely, especially not with KY and GA looking dicey for them.

      And who knows what more mischief the teabaggers can cause?

  •  ooof (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bananapouch1, wishingwell

    that Alaska poll just doesn't look good for Begich. Let's hope Miller gets the GOP nod as their nominee.

    KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

    by fcvaguy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:34:41 PM PST

  •  50/50? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, bananapouch1, Jacob1145, JBraden

    I'd say they're not even close to 50/50 even with their best candidates. It's more apt to say that they have a chance at taking the Senate right now, but they won't have any chance if they nominate Broun in GA. That seat would instantly become lean-D.

    TX-17 (Bill Flores-R), TX Sen-14 (Kirk Watson-D), TX HD-50 (Celia Israel-D)

    by Le Champignon on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:36:01 PM PST

  •  Priorities USA Action has decided to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ifthethunderdontgetya, askew

    not get involved in the 2014 elections. That decision gives the GOP much less competition in the "marketplace of ideas" to sell their toxic bullshit to the voters. Here in NC, AFP is hammering Kay Hagen, a vulnerable Senator running for re-election, with almost no pushback. Where are these "fighting Dems" we keep reading about?

    •  They’re poor (0+ / 0-)

      The fighting Dems are poor and can’t waste money on commercials a year before election day. Nobody, but nobody, on Team Blue can match the financial firepower of the Koch brothers. It’d take Bill Gates money and there’s like 4 dudes richer than the Kochs and I don’t think Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Larry Ellison are going to be riding to the rescue. Even if, say, Oprah went all-in for Democrats, she’d be massively financially out-gunned, being a mere $1 billionaire.

      Plus, the Koch brothers have been building infrastructure and recruiting allies for a number of years now. They may have lost in 2008 and 2012 (mostly because Bush in 2008 and Romney in 2012) but they won in 2010 and could easily win in 2014 because they don’t have to go one-on-one in a race that’s so massively over-covered by the media that a financial advantage  in media buys doesn’t have much of an effect.

      Kansan by birth, Californian by choice and Gay by the Grace of God.

      by arealmc on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:02:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Iowa (4+ / 0-)

    The top tier of potential GOP candidates declined to run for senate -- both Republican congressmen, the Governor, Lt.Governor, Secretary of Agriculture, and Secretary of State. They are left with six lesser-known candidates with the possibility of more, like extreme social conservative Bob Vander Plaats. If no candidate gets 35%, the nominee will be chosen by a convention. The convention delegates come from precinct caucuses that were held in January -- a process that over-represents far right activists from the Tea Party and anti-choice groups.

    •  Iowa never was really in play this cycle (5+ / 0-)

      One Braley got in on the Dem side, any and all potential decent GOP candidiate declined to get in. Hell, the best potential they had, Latham, is quitting Congress entirely.

      •  Iowa is very much in play. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        One Opinion, nimh

        The two parties are close to equal in number of registered voters with the GOP having a slight advantage. Iowa is a swing state, and we Democrats have trouble getting our voters to the polls in off-year elections. The GOP ballot will be headed by a popular incumbent governor.

        Obama won the last two national elections in Iowa by a combination of a massive GOTV operation plus GOP candidates (McCain and Romney) who did not connect with Iowa voters.

        Americans for Prosperity (Koch Bros.) is running continual TV ads attacking Braley on Obamacare. They certainly think Iowa is in play.

        Braley is a good candidate, but he has the disadvantage of being a sitting member of congress, and congressmen, even Dems, are not popular. That will not be a problem for the Republicans. Whoever they nominate will be able to run against Washington. As this diary suggests, it depends on who the GOP nominates. They have a couple of candidates who could give Braley a run for it. If they nominate someone like Vander Plaats, Braley will win.

  •  There is a disturbing trend lately for more than (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, bananapouch1, Jacob1145

    a few pundits to predict a Republican takeover. The mood the electorate is in, together with off-Presidential elections, could put them over.

    That having been said, what pundits, even ones here, are infallible? (Okay, occasionally except Nate Silver, and apparently he's stayin' out of this hunt.)

    What do I think, ol' Joe Schmo? I dunno. But I'm not sanguine (I like to use that word whenever possible) about it.  

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:38:32 PM PST

    •  They were supposedly nailed on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, wishingwell, Jacob1145

      To take control last cycle. Democrats ended up gaining seats.

      "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

      by conspiracy on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:42:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If anything, last cycle was worse. I think the (4+ / 0-)

        ration of Dem to GOP seat defended was on the order of 2-1

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:52:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think this cycle is still tougher (0+ / 0-)

        It seems like South Dakota is basically written off and that nobody is really expecting the Democrats to hang onto West Virginia either. Combine them with Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alaska, and you have five states that haven't voted Democratic for President since Bill Clinton was in office, or even further back than that for SD and AK.

        If you look at the endangered Democratic seats from 2012 - North Dakota, Missouri, Montana, Virginia, Nebraska - only Nebraska was pretty much considered hopeless. MO and MT might lean right of center, but they are both states where Democrats have still had some success at the state level, and VA is pretty much a swing state. North Dakota was an upset, but it seemed like people were noticing early on that Heitkamp could at least be competitive. So, while challenging, this combination was (IMO) still friendlier to Dems overall than the AR/AK/LA/SD/WV group.

        Meanwhile, the two pickups came in Maine (if you count Angus King, and this is a fairly solid Dem state at the presidential level) and Indiana, which is somewhat conservative but did go for Obama in '08. The two GOP seats that Dems are eyeing this time, Kentucky and Georgia, are again probably more hostile terrain by comparison.

        Plus, it seems like Dems may at least have a fight on their hands in Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, and New Hampshire. If I had to guess, I'd say they probably hold all four in the end. But then I'd never have guessed that Democrats would win Indiana or North Dakota in 2012 either.

        Maybe I'm wrong about this, but this is reminding me uncomfortably of 2004, when Democrats hyped up their chances for upsets in a lot of tough Senate races and then mostly got their asses kicked.

    •  They are playing the odds (5+ / 0-)

      Conventional wisdom says the GOP takes the Senate. That of course assumes that the War on Women, the War on Workers and the various other Wars the GOP is waging will be forgotten by November.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:55:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The media is constantly cheering for a GOP (7+ / 0-)

      takeover. It's a never-ending drumbeat.

  •  That Begich Poll is a GOP poll. so take it with a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    grain or two of salt. i think Begich is leading that race, but its not going to be a cakewalk unless Miller somehow wins.

  •  The problem is that Republicans have been (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max, Odysseus, Buckeye54, JBraden

    complete morons.

    I can't associate Republicans with anything positive in the last few years.

    The one Republican that I can associate with something positive supported gay marriage and more gun regulation, something you don't see much from Republicans.

    Six years into an administration that has presided over a sputtering economy, NSA scandals, a continued drone war and more, I would expect that a viable opposition party could wipe out the Democratic majority.

    Does anybody think the modern GOP is a viable opposition party?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:49:12 PM PST

    •  Viable opposition party? (4+ / 0-)

      The economy is sputtering because the GOP has taken extraordinary measures to fucking tank the economy ever since this president took the oath of office.  Hell they even tried to make an issue about THAT.  

      In order for an opposition party to be viable they have to have some ideas.  The GOP hasn't had one original fucking idea in over 30 years and reflexively saying NO to everything the party in power proposes does not make the GOP a viable opposition party.    

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:14:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the Shutdown showed one thing clearly (3+ / 0-)

    The Tea Wees are winning the GOP Civil War, and treat NOT deep-sixing the United States as a superpower with default as a temporary setback.

    And they're up against Democrats more than happy to say: Yeah, I'm for raising the minimum wage. I'm all in with Obamacare. You say it like it's a bad thing.

  •  This obituary has been written before. (9+ / 0-)

    We were supposed to lose the Senate in 2012 too, much for the same more seats to defend reason.  Like Mark Twain reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.

    •  Still have to show up. (3+ / 0-)

      Presidential approval ratings are below 50% in many states, often under 40%.  Republicans will steadily chant "Obama!  Obama! Obama!".

      Democrats have to have candidate who will express a positive message.  The deeper that Republican campaigns go into serious negative messages, the more some people will be turned off.  We have to push the positive and give people something to vote for, not against.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:12:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How do you get an idiot elected? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Black Max

    How do you get a good progressive elected? Money spent illustrating what an idiot your opponent is. They will hang themselves. When are progressive billionaires going to step up?

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:56:32 PM PST

    •  They aren’t any (0+ / 0-)

      What progressive billionaires? George Soros. And? Most of the really rich progressives are multi-multi-millionaires, but the Kochs are among the 10 wealthiest people in the known universe, with something like $50 billion at this point. If Democrats try to compete on money, they’re going to lose, either their principles or their close races. Like it or not, for the near future, we’re the shoestring and duct tape party. Then again, Americans do like underdogs...

      Kansan by birth, Californian by choice and Gay by the Grace of God.

      by arealmc on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:07:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Do you mean? (0+ / 0-)

    And there is absolutely no reason to think that, in this cycle, it will not happen again?

  •  Is this a typo? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, Jacob1145
    There is certainly precedent for Republican primary voters causing excruciating heartburn over at the NRSC. And there is absolutely no reason to think that, in this cycle, it will happen again.
    Shouldn't it be "there's no reason to think it WON'T happen again?"

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:02:17 PM PST

  •  2014 and impending GOP takeover (6+ / 0-)

    Take anyone predicting a GOP takeover with a Dead Sea's worth of salt.  for starters in order for the GOP to take over the Senate they have to gain 5 seats.  There are 9 races IMO which will decide majority:


    The first 7 are Dem seats and the last 2 are GOP held seats.  In order for the GOP to gain the majority they have to win 8 of the 9 or better,  Conversely, if the Dems are to hold the majority they only have to win 2 or more.  If they win 2 Biden is tiebreaker.  

    That's it.  The Dems have to only win TWO seats out of those 9 above.  

    Right now Dems are polling even money or better in AK, LA, NC and KY.  GA is a bit iffy because Nunn would have to clear 50+1% to avoid a runoff and fallout in turnout.  SD and WV look pretty bad and AR and MT will be close.  But Dems have an Akin like candidate running against Pryor in Cotton and in MT Walsh will have the advantage of incumbency not to mention alot of difficult to explain votes by Daines in the US House.  

    So anyone who says the GOP will take the Senate isn't being realistic.  They have to basically sweep all 9 races or AT LEAST win 8/9 to regain the majority.

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:08:55 PM PST

    •  SD (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, Jacob1145, One Opinion

      Rounds (the GOP front runner) may have a scandal brewing if the media and investigators can get by the republican state government, if Rounds campaign does get caught up in the EB-5 scandal, the democrat Weiland may have a decent chance at taking Tim Johnson's seat. People here are republican to a fault, but the one thing they are sick of is scandal and the constant cover-ups that go on here. Weiland has taken the good parts of ACA and is running on them, also talking about working to improve it and not afraid to talk about it, he is also pounding the right on their misguided bullshit about minimum wage increases. That also resonates well here as more than 50% of the population works at or close to minimum wage. If Rounds gets caught, or the state makes him look like he has something to hide, then maybe. If Rounds wins the primary then that will sink it, his money raising is unprecedented here.

      If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

      by RepresentUsPlease on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:35:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  SD also has a third party candidate as well (3+ / 0-)

        And not a no-name either, but Larry Pressler, aka the former 3-term GOP Senator who held the seat before Johnson. He further complicates things.

        Of course, given Pressler is a moderate who endorsed Obama, it's a question of who he might draw more votes from.

        •  I haven't heard much (0+ / 0-)

          from Mr Pressler since he announced, I would be interested in seeing if his stance has changed much since the old days. He has said it will be one term only, not sure what the motivation is, he may actually be trying to do the right thing, if people sense that, who knows.

          If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

          by RepresentUsPlease on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:44:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  LOL... which of these states are solid BLUE (0+ / 0-)

      states, I wonder?

      Alaska? Montana? Georgia?


      "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:58:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who the fuck cares. (0+ / 0-)

        So long as Dems win it really doesn't matter.  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:20:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  JUST WIN BABY!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ten canvassers

          Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..... you're implying those knuckle-dragging states are a lock for the respective democratic candidates/incumbents??

          "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

          by Superpole on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:35:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not implying anything (0+ / 0-)

            You're the one implying that those states are populated by knuckle-dragging people who will no doubt vote GOP and therefore WE'RE SCROOOOOOOD.  O MY GAWD,  DUH SKY IZ GONNA FALL!!!!!

            All I'm saying is the the Dems only have to win TWO of those races to retain the majority.  So pardon me for not buying into your 'the Dems are going to lose' bullshit.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 12:41:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  6 seats not 5 we have 55 seats, them gaining 5 (0+ / 0-)

      just ties things at 50 and biden breaks ties in our favor. to gain the majority they need 6, 51-49. realistically they'd need to win all 7 dem held seats and not drop any of theirs. with mitch struggling in ky and the georgia rs choosing from a group of morons, thats not a guarantee. the odds of them running the table are slim imo. i expect Begich to hold his seat in AK, which means the gop would have t win the other 8. unlikely.

      •  They need to win 6 Dem held seats (0+ / 0-)

        and hold their two.  or win all 7 Dems held seats and only lose one of their own.  They can only lose 1 seat.  Begich looks pretty good and Landrieu is looking better than even money.  Hagan is getting pounded but the GOP in NC is liked less than cockroaches.  

        The chances of the GOP winning 8 of 9 are slim to almost none at this point.  Alot can change between now and November but at this point in 2011-2012 the Dems were not looking so good either.  NE, MO and ND looked like sure losses.  MT looked like it was going too.  ME and IN looked like solid GOP states, MA looked like it also may have stayed red  and other states like PA,  VA, OH and WI were also questionable blue states.  In the end Dems lost 1 seat (NE), flipped 3 (ME, IN and MA), won every other race that they previously held and got the majority up to 55-45.  

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:29:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Meh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bananapouch1, bryduck

    While obviously we should fight as hard as we can to keep control of the Senate, I don't see control of the Senate being that significant so long as the Republicans hold the House. What exactly have we accomplished with the Democratic controlled Senate?

  •  The concept that having an R after one's name (7+ / 0-)

    anywhere is an asset needs to be changed.

    Working on that in Alaska.

    •  Anyone wishing to show Sen. Begich a little (5+ / 0-)

      campaign love with even a $3 donation, please do so here at his Act Blue page.

      Begich has been good with health care reform and with protecting Alaska's wild fish stocks in Bristol Bay, on the Chilkat, and elsewhere.

      He is solid representation for Alaska and a good team player in D.C.

      Koch Brothers are putting a lot of money into Alaska...because Benghazi, freedom, guns, Obamacare!

      •   begich should put his money where his mouth is (0+ / 0-)

        and introduce legislation setting aside Bristol Bay as a monument. Since a monument protecting the watershed and the bay will cover millions of acres and AK has the stupid 'the President has to get Congress' ok, if he sets aside more than 5000 acres' rule,   it has to go through Congress to get it done. if we retake the House and he keeps his seat, then its a good chance it would pass if he proposes it.

        •  Let's just keep in the Senate for another term for (0+ / 0-)

          the time being. Help do that and then maybe ask for a little more. Koch Brothers throwing big money into Alaska to defeat him.

          •  Agreed akmk. First things first (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Begich has to keep his job. once thats done then we can push for monument status, which i think would get wide local support. as it would protect the fishery forever, and alaska is a big tourist state. folks coming to that area to visit the new monument would spend millions a year. in a small town, 1 million dollars goes a long way. i should know, I live in one.

            •  We're working on protecting the Chilkoot and (0+ / 0-)

              Chilkat watersheds as well.  All wild salmon in those.  Sen. Begich has been helpful on weighing in on rather bad DOT design that would put too much fill in wetlands and river.

    •  First step in achieving that (0+ / 0-)

      is phasing out Democrats that could be misconstrued as Republican wannabes.

      The science does not support the myth of the median voter; most voters are either fulltime or part-time, either Democratic or Republican, with perhaps four percent acting as true swing voters.

      The research on this goes back to the golden age of radio - to the 1930s.

      Moral of story: Give the voters a clear choice and they will make it. A campaign that gives the electorate a muddy one hands the election to the clearer messenger.

  •  I'm not as phlegmatic . . . (0+ / 0-)

       about the Senate outcome as some here and just in case the Republicans take it back Reid needs to get all of those judges confirmed by doing away with the blue slip, because the Rs will surely cram their judges through come January if they win. Obama can veto bad legislation, but nobody will be able to stop them on judges.

  •  wv (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jacob1145, astuar

    Tennant need something to break her way, and then she can win.  
    If she fails to draw Dems to polls, you may lose not just the Senate for a generation, but also another House seat.  It would also set up the Republicans to then take the Governorship and credibly challenge and Manchin.  The National Dems need an Appalachian strategy.  Mostly, the National Dems need to communicate to West Virginians that you are willing to fight AND LOSE there.  And that's the big  first step toward winning how you win.  Obama, maybe even Rockefeller himself, may not be effective messengers in 2014.  O'malley and Biden might be.   In fact, anyone from the 'not Hillary' slate with any charisma and populist cred ought to use WV, KY and the Carolinas 2014 election as their proving ground.   If they move the needle there, even in a loss, they are the real deal.  If they aren't, they aren't.

  •  Not so sure about 2010 and Buck (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think he had a better chance than Norton and he is running again and polls the best against Udall of all the Republicans. He might look extreme from CA but here he is just run of the mill Republican. Plus don't underestimate the effect of the gun recall, Buck used to be the prosecutor in Weld (secessionist) county.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:20:22 PM PST

    •  Don't agree - buck can't win (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBraden, ban nock

      As soon as he opens his mouth during a debate he will be history. The gun recall wasn't statewide and this election is. Plus mail in ballots were not allowed in the recall election and Dems use them by about 80%. Plus we will have same day registration.

      •  I hope so (0+ / 0-)

        Udall has inoculated himself pretty well on all things gun. He has initiated some of the best federal legislation we've had extending the time frame out for Pittman Robertson funds for making new ranges along the front range.

        I'm running a caucus primary  in a few weeks. Of the five or six precincts so far I have no precinct coordinators. Mid terms aren't a big thing. The mail ins should help.

        Buck might well not debate, just spend tons of money. Elections are hard to predict, remember Bennett was supposed to lose?

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:47:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  2014-6 importance of Hispanic voters reaffirmed by (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cskendrick, LordMike, Jacob1145, JBraden

    Yesterday's announcement by Obama that, in this impending run-off:

    “...David Alvarez is the right choice to be San Diego’s next mayor and I am excited to support him.”
    Politico's report indicates the following very good news:
    Alvarez’s campaign ... has focused his message on addressing income inequality in the city. [The Republican] Faulconer ... was seen as a solid favorite at the start of the election, but polls have shown the race tightening considerably...
    Regarding primaries: Please note that Alvarez got into the run-off by beating the middle-of-road establishment choice who had recently converted from Republican to Independent to Democrat.
  •  Again, ALL I need to know regarding (0+ / 0-)

    what is going to happen this November is to look at the fact our economy still sucks. what was the job growth number for January-- 113,000?


    that's it??


    "It is essential that there should be organization of Labor. Capital organizes & therefore Labor must organize" Theodore Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 03:56:28 PM PST

  •  Senate $trategie$ must include offense: ME-Sen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1. is the only 2014 Senate race where a Republican incumbent is facing re-election in a state that Obama won twice,  

    2. has a Democratic challenger who is perfectly equipped to benefit from (and add to) the ongoing Snowden revelations, which will keep a spotlight the Republican incumbent's (Intelligence Committee) role in enabling and covering up surveillance abuse, and

    3. is a cheap media market in which a little bit of fundraising goes a long way.

    These factors may enable a Democratic pick-up despite the fact that the popular incumbent's Tea Party challenger in the Republican primary is probably too weak to have much influence on the race.

    Background and recent progress of Dem. Bellows vs. Repug Collins is detailed in numerous Dkos diaries listed here.

  •  We'd better pick up some GOP seats, because (0+ / 0-)

    AR looks pretty grim, with the incumbent deciding to take a page out of the Blanche Lincoln playbook and run as GOP lite.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 04:43:04 PM PST

  •  We're going to flip KY and GA (0+ / 0-)

    We'll hold AR, NC and LA.  That should allow us to offset gains by the GOP in other races.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit

    by khyber900 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:24:46 PM PST

  •  Cross primary voting (0+ / 0-)

    I cannot emphasize enough the necessity for us Democrats to capture the House and lengthen our lead in the Senate.  One way to help our cause is to render their primaries meaningless...Time for guerrilla warfare, that is sabotage...   Democrats, in districts where it is effective, should crossover and vote in the Republican primary.  Our Democratic Primaries will take care of themselves but this year, what with the TP Koch backed candidates that are a liability to the Republican Party and largely unelectable, we need  to crossover and vote for the weakest in THEIR PRIMARY.  Then as our strong candidate is running against the Democ...well you get the idea...we vote in the general for our guy.
    I have been doing this for years, decades even, but this year I see it could be a real game changer.    

    I believe in separation of corporation and State.

    by tipring on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:00:04 PM PST

  •  I will make only short notice: (0+ / 0-)

    to be prepared for "other side unenforced errors" is one (and absolutely correct) thing. To RELY on these "unenforced errors" as a main factor of preserving your political position (in this case - a Senate majority) - is quite another, and VERY different..

  •  Finger on the button (0+ / 0-)

    I have argued forever the single most effective weapon for Progressives this election and future ones also is an endless loop of commercials with these idiots speaking their mind. These people will defeat themselves if we just show the public who they are. Look what happened in the Republican primaries. There is verifiable evidence. We don't have to tout a single Democrat principle. As Obama said"Please continue Governer"

    “He talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans.” James Carville

    by Mokislab on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:25:04 PM PST

  •  In Sharron Angle's defense... (0+ / 0-)

    She never denied being an evil witch.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:11:43 PM PST

  •  Slightly less optimistic myself (0+ / 0-)

    The money-men running the PACs pulling the strings of their marionette puppet-party are slowly learning from their mistakes.

    And some of ours are sitting out the mid-terms.

    Hell of a way to run a railroad country.

    Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies, We were roaring drunk on petroleum -Kurt Vonnegut

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:19:21 PM PST

  •  I share the optimism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I have yet to see the justification.  Statistics are on the side of the Republicans.  Historically, fewer than 5% of incumbents ever lose their seats, all but assuring McConnell will be back.  As always, the Republicans have boatloads of money to spend, and they will.  And President Obama acknowledges his poor approval rating will not help the Democrats this year.  It will take more Tea Party snafus to make this a successful year for Democrats.  The Dems best hope for 2014?  Get out the vote!

    'As our area of knowledge expands, so too does our perimeter of ignorance.' - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    by American Expat on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 02:21:23 AM PST

  •  A Republican Senate... (0+ / 0-)

    will make its very first act a repeal the ACA and then turn to the certain-Republican Congress to claim the mandate of the people has always been to reverse the President, not merely obstruct.  The President will stand his ground on this and we'll have lame duck vetoes and more of the same nullification and obstruction from the Republicans.  To whit, nothing will happen except that the worst will be rejected by a President always willing to make a deal.  Now that's a cheery thought. The problem is not only getting Democrats to the polls---the claim is we vote, we win in many places--- but that's not true in these battlegrounds of the Senate.  There the real problem is the people: there are so many regressive, genuinely foolish people who will vote Republican, the majority of whom are voting against their needs and interests, that winning is a stretch under the best of turn outs. The problem is America.

  •  And I Would Add One More Senate Seat To The List.. (0+ / 0-)

    West Virginia.  If Republicans weren't running an unelectable hack like John Raese in WV in 2010, Manchin wouldn't have won.

  •  Hmmmm.. What else can Obama do to sink his party (0+ / 0-)

    How about including Chained CPI in his '15 budget proposal due out March 4.  Nobody's talking about this.
    I can hear the attack adds now: "The president wants to cut your Social Security".

  •  This Is A Tough Year, Folks: Get Used To It (0+ / 0-)


    The fact is that the Chamber of Commerce, along with other Wall St. folks, are gearing up for a major push to support more moderate GOPers in primaries, and to give them a leg up going into primary season.  This is NOT 2010 on the GOP side.  Many Republicans are quite angry at the Tea Party, which is not going to get the free ride this year that it got in ‘10 and ‘12.

    S.E.Cupp said it best on Stephanopoulos this past Sunday:  In 2012, using wildly distorted and skewed polls, the GOP convinced themselves and even many in the mainstream media that it was a close race and that the Republicans had an even odds shot at winning.  Such was not even remotely the case:  Republicans had built themselves an alternate Fox News-based bubble universe.

    And Cupp says she’s seeing signs that Dems are building themselves a similar universe going into 2014.  This is an off-year election, the electorate will be older, whiter and more conservative.  That’s the bottom line, which means that the Democrats are still the overwhelming underdogs at this point.

    After we get through primary season, Obama needs to be ready to make deals like crazy to get his agenda through, because THIS IS IT.  

    If he wants to get an infrastructure bill through, which is essential if the economy is ever to fully recover, he needs to fight us on free trade and get that awful trade deal passed with Republican votes.  

    If he wants immigration reform, he will need to get those new and historic EPA rules out there to limit carbon emissions from existing coal plants, a single step that would establish Obama, like TR, as a great environmental president and would do more to fight global warming than anything any president has ever done before now.  That is the price Republicans will need to swallow in order to get Keystone, which Obama WILL approve in exchange for immigration reform.

    After November, Obama will be a foreign policy president.  The Senate will be either split 50-50 and more useless to us than it is now, or it will be in GOP hands.  The Dem donors’ decision to concentrate on the Senate and give up on the House is the right one.

    Let’s stay out of the bubble universe and, instead, plan for the coming storm.  We can do so, and do fine, if we get the dancing sugar-plums out of our heads.

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