What Congress may look like in three years
By Bruce Walker
The decision by former Hoosier Senator Dan Coats to seek his old seat again ought to inspire conservatives. His lifetime voting record with the American Conservative Union is 90%, which is much more conservative than Indiana Republican Lugar at 77% and vastly more conservative than Evan Bayh at 20%.
Moreover, his decision to run this year is an example of the great vulnerability that Democrats face if 2010 continues to look like a strong Republican year. A few months ago, Senator Dorgan of North Dakota and Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas were both considered pretty safe seats for Democrats in the mid-term election. The number of possible gains by Republicans was very small. In fact, after November 2008, net gains by Democrats in the Senate in 2010 were considered possible. Today, it is a sure bet that North Dakota Governor Hoeven will be a conservative Republican senator replacing a liberal Democrat Dorgan. It is just about as sure that Senator Lincoln in Arkansas, who won reelection easily six years ago, will lose to a conservative Republican.
Republican candidates are running ahead the of Democrat in Colorado, Nevada, Delaware, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. If those poll numbers hold up, a Coats’ victory over Bayh would give Republicans 49 seats in the Senate. Coats, like Hoeven in North Dakota, represented a very strong candidate against a leftist Democrat in a blue state.. Congressman Castle in Delaware is a RINO, but not a leftist. He also represents the best Republican candidate in Delaware, and polls which had shown Castle beating Biden’s son will almost certainly show Castle well ahead in the wake of Biden’s decision not to seek his father’s old Senate seat.
If Republicans can persuade the most electable candidates to run in other states, the problems for Democrats could quickly mushroom into an enormous political headache. Polls show former Governor Pataki running ahead of Senator Gillibrand in New York, where the Democrat Party is increasingly dysfunctional. Pundits see former Governor Tommy Thompson as a very strong challenger to Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. Patty Murray in Washington seems safe, according to Rasmussen, but if the former Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi runs against her, he beats Murray by two points. That is a recurring theme in the 2010 Senate election cycle: Republicans are very competitive, if the top tier of candidates can be recruited. Those three candidates could give Republicans 52 Senate seats.
The minds of incumbent Senate Democrats considering whether or not to run for reelection in 2010 could change even faster when they look ahead to the 2012 elections. It is almost certain that Republicans will gain seats in 2012. There are only 10 Republican seats in that cycle and those include seats in Utah, Nevada, Mississippi, Texas, Wyoming, Arizona, Indiana, and Tennessee. Only Scott Brown’s seat in Massachusetts and Olympia Snowe’s seat in Maine appear at any risk, and Snowe is well liked in Maine. If Republicans gain the Senate in 2010 they will hold it, easily, in 2012.
Democrats – or independents voting with Democrats to organize the Senate – will be defending 23 Senate seats in 2012. Many of those seats are from conservative states like North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, and West Virginia. Other seats are from states which have traditionally leaned Republican like Virginia and Ohio. It is possible, if the Obama Presidency continues to decline, that Republicans in 2013 could not only win the White House and the House of Representatives, but gain the elusive filibuster-proof Senate.
What about the House of Representatives? Republicans will gain a lot of seats, very probably enough to gain a majority. Even if Republican gains fall short, though, Nancy Pelosi will be playing with a very weak hand. More importantly, if 2010 is a very good year for Republicans generally, then the GOP ought to make major gains in governorships (all polls show that now) and Republicans, who held up very well in 2008 in state legislative elections, will probably come out of the 2010 elections with a majority of state legislative chambers and seats. Special legislative elections are strongly indicating that already, as I noted last October, often by stunning margins of victory.
What would it mean if Republicans have a majority of power in state governments? It would mean that the redistricting process following reapportionment would help elect more Republicans to the House. Reapportionment is already going to move House seats from red states to blue states. Add a redistricting process mainly controlled by Republicans, and an automatic increase of a dozen or so House seats to Republicans is easily conceivable. House Democrats in 2012, faced with new districts and probable minority status for several election cycles, might leave Congress in droves.
America is overwhelmingly conservative, but that conservative will has long been frustrated by a combination of leftist entrenched establishments, befuddled Republican leaders who did not grasp that their supporters wanted a conservative revolution, and Democrats like Bayh, Dorgan, and Lincoln – who said one thing at home and did something very much different in Washington. Everything has changed. The next two election cycles are critical. Right now, the constellations point to gains in 2010 and also in 2012 sufficient to allow stout hearted conservatives, through the Republican Party, to introduce the sort of hope and change that most Americans desperately want. In three years, at long last, America may have the government that the vast majority of us want.
Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!