Republican leaders must be starting to sweat. True, they are the favorites to win many key races today. But here’s the thing: All the Democrats have to do is NOT lose more than five US Senate seats and the media will cast the Republicans as the BIG losers of this election.
And I’m not just talking the liberal media. Just a few days ago conservative writer and Fox news regular Charles Krauthammer told us that if the Republicans can't win the Senate this year, "maybe the Party ought to look for another country."
Consequently, anything but securing control of the Senate will be deemed a failure by both the left and the right. And lets be honest: The GOP couldn’t have asked for a better political climate than this year. 2014 is like perfect political storm for the GOP to the point where GOP Senate minority Mitch McConnell should be sizing up Harry Reid’s office to decide how he wants to decorate it.
Obama’s approval ratings are at historic lows. The economy is sputtering. Obamacare is still generally unpopular. The Democrats have to defend 21 seats to the GOP’s 15, many in States that Mitt Romney won in 2012. And Republicans have a fundraising edge with almost $2 billion raised.
But here’s the thing: The polls are still very close in key battleground states that the Republicans thought they would likely win such as in Georgia, Louisiana, Alaska and North Carolina. In fact, I was in North Carolina last week, and as I mentioned in my article for The Daily Beast yesterday, early voting numbers and polling there indicates that the Democratic Senator Kay Hagan will likely win. If that happens, the GOP’s dreams of controlling the Senate will have become that much tougher.
If Republicans pick up 5 seats this year– one less than they need to control the Senate – can’t they pick up the other seat in 2016 you ask? Nope. In 2016 the Republicans will be defending 22 Senate seats to the Democrats nine.
Odds are that in 2016 the GOP will lose, not gain Senate seats given those numbers. And making it even more challenging is that many of the Republican Senators up in 2016 are in traditionally Blue States such as Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson and Illinois’ Mark Kirk. So after this election, the next real shot the GOP of taking the Senate is 2018, at best.
So if the GOP doesn’t prevail in its race for the Senate what happens next? Finger pointing central! You can likely say goodbye to Reince Priebus as RNC Chair.
Plus you will see some really pissed off Republican Senators. Ted Cruz for starters who stands to become a subcommittee chair if GOP takes control of the Senate. Plus Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have a shot at full committee chairs. This will provide all three with greater media coverage and in turn helps them raise funds for their expected run for president come 2016. Failing to pick up the Senate deprives them of this benefit. (Conversely it would likely be a boost to Republican Governors like Chris Christie seeking the presidential nomination angering these Senators even more.)
There you have it. While the Democrats might look like they are like George Clooney in the movie The Perfect Storm watching a huge wave about to crash into his ship, all the Democrats have to do is avoid drowning and they will have won. And for that reason alone, I would predict that Republican leaders might be sweating a little more right now than they want us to know.
Dean Obeidallah is the editor of The Dean's Report. He is also is a former lawyer, turned political comedian/writer and a columnist for The Daily Beast. He co-directed the recently released comedy documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!" You can follow Dean on Twitter
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