For 2014 midterms, Democrats are on defense


The Washington Post

National Journal’s new Senate race rankings paint a grim picture for Democrats. Let’s break down the races into four categories:

• Races that Republicans are pretty much certain to win: South Dakota and West Virginia.

• Core red-state battlegrounds: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana and North Carolina. While Arkansas and Montana may favor the GOP now, Republicans will need to dislodge incumbents in all five, and all will be long, hard slogs.

• Races that would show Republicans have broadened the map if they remain very close later this year: Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota. These will be competitive until the end.

• Races where Democrats have a shot at pickups: Kentucky and Georgia.

Control of the Senate may be decided in states that were carried by Mitt Romney in 2012 and tend to be older and whiter than the broader coalition that Democrats increasingly rely on to win national elections. This, in a non-presidential year. But Democrats could hang on if conditions are right.

The best-case scenario for Democrats: Republicans fail to seriously broaden the map, and Democrats manage to pick off Georgia or Kentucky. If that happens, the GOP would have to sweep all five of the core battlegrounds to win the Senate.

The somewhat-difficult scenario for Democrats: Republicans fail to seriously broaden the map but Democrats fail to pick up Georgia or Kentucky. Then, the GOP would have to sweep four of five core battlegrounds to win, which really could happen given Democratic weakness in many of them.

The harrowing scenario for Democrats: Republicans broaden the map, and Democrats fail to win Georgia or Kentucky. Given that the GOP starts with two more seats in its “likely” column, Republicans would have to win four out of as many as nine. This is very plausible.

Election outcomes will be influenced by the economy, external events, the candidates, campaigns and local issues. Also, Democrats say they are in the worst moment in the cycle, with Obamacare’s rollout problems only just fading and outside GOP groups pouring huge money into areas where Democratic campaigns are not yet spending resources.

Bottom line: The Democrats are on defense, and control of the Senate will likely be decided in a core battleground made up of red states. A GOP takeover is very possible. But it’s way too early to say with any certainty how all of this will play out.

© 2014, The Washington Post

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • A GOP ultimatum to Vlad

    With the party united, the odds are now at least even that the GOP will not only hold the House but also capture the Senate in November.

  • College cost not big problem for poor students

    To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting more kids from poor families into college, the key to moving up in an increasingly unequal society.

  • Torture is not a public relations problem

    The CIA is on a “charm offensive.”

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category