Category Archives: Senate

Easier Said than Done

While November was disappointing, the Democrats did gain seats in the Senate.  As a result, the Republicans only hold a 52-48 majority.  If three Republican Senators vote no on any confirmation or bill, it fails.  We are already seeing signs that the next two years could get very interesting — even if the Democrats are more responsible in using the filibuster than Republicans were.

Right now, the Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The Republicans have never been able to exactly what they don’t like about the Affordable Care Act other than that it was passed by a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.   For seven years, the Republicans have been asserting the need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  While the Republicans have been relatively unified on their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they have never been able to reach a consensus on how to replace it.

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Protecting Democracy

democracy-header1Every day, more nominees. I never thought I’d actually be rooting for Mittens so there will be at least one adult in the room.

If you’d told me that “President of these United States” was an entry-level elected position, I would have laughed.

Who could have predicted that the Weekly World News would have gotten more right over its years of publication than what is shown on most news stations. (At the very end of this post is the best story EVER about the Weekly World News.)

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DCW 2016 Senate Forecast

Well the Senate is going down to the wire, but the bottom line hasn’t changed.  Assuming the Dems take over the seats in WI and IL, they need 3 additional seats from IN/NV/MO/NC/NH/PA. While WI has tightened up, the signs are positive in NV and PA.

The forecast is based on a average of pundit and poll based forecasts, including own own DocJess. The 3rd column shows a running total of Senate seats.

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Election 2016 — Missouri and Kansas

mo-sealBy the time that this posts, there will be one week to go until the end of voting.  For a variety of reasons, the national campaign has been even more negative than is normal (although nowhere near the most negative presidential campaign in US history, the campaigns of the 1800s were routinely negative with lots of slanderous accusations).  More importantly, the daily release of a new piece of negative information about the presidential candidates have sucked up a lot of the oxygen from state and local races.

While the news media focuses on the national race for president, the reality is that even, for president, there is not a national election.  The race for president is actually 51 local races (one in each state and in the District of Columbia).  Senate control will be decided by 34 local elections, and control of the House will be decided by 435 local races.  It’s impossible for anyone person to know the lay of the land in all of the races (one reason why polling exists), but each of us have some idea of what is happening where we live.  Here is what things are looking like in Missouri and Kansas.

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DCW 2016 Senate Forecast

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Democratic Convention Watch 2016 Senate Forecast, showing the Democrats projected to win 50.3 seats. Assuming the Dems take over the seats in WI and IL, we need 3 additional seats from IN/NV/MO/NC/NH/PA.

The forecast is based on a average of pundit and poll based forecasts, including own own DocJess. The 3rd column shows a running total of Senate seats.

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Sunday with the Senators: Saturday Edition

Vote by JessWe’re 17 days out from the election, and while the main event seems like a foregone conclusion, the Senate is pretty much a nail-biter. Matt will have the Senate race rankings up tonight and we’ll see the specifics, but first, a little context, and a race that no one is looking at, which may actually delay knowing who controls the Senate until 10 December.

Let’s play. We need a net of 4 seats to take back the Senate, assuming that Secretary Clinton wins the general, and thus Tim Kaine would be the tie-breaker. Based on current projections, we’ll pick up Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. Will we hold Nevada? Maybe. If we do we need one more, if not, we need two. The likeliest options should be Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Should be. Could be. The data indicate that if Secretary Clinton wins by 7 points in Pennsylvania and 6 points in New Hampshire, her coattails will be enough. I have been following New Hampshire from a distance and it appears very close. Ayotte is constantly tied to Trump in ads. For some reason, a lot of politicians don’t seem to get that everyone has a phone, and thus video capabilities, and when you call Donald Trump “a role model” that’s going to make the ads even if you disavow some of his actions. A lot will depend on how much money is poured into the ads in the next couple weeks. The polls have been tied, and just yesterday WMUR said that Hassan is 8 points ahead: is it an outlier or has the die been cast?

Pennsylvania is so tight there’s no daylight in the polls. Brooklyn knows this and that’s why both Clinton and Kaine will be in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia today. Should be noted that Secretary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Senator Kaine, President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President Biden and even Bubba the Big Dog have all been here. Upcoming in the next two weeks, Anne Holton (Senator Kaine’s wife), Jill Biden, Jon Bon Jovi and Katy Perry.  It seems as though the street closure information is an almost daily occurrence on the traffic reports.

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The Supreme Fillibuster

US SenateWhen Justice Antonin Scalia died, Senate Republicans announced that they would not hold hearings because of their belief — not supported by any precedent — that a lame duck president should not get to fill a vacancy during his last year in office.   Earlier this week, in a classic gaffe (i.e. he mistakenly told the truth), Senator John McCain announced that Senate Republicans intend to block any nominee that President Hillary Clinton might put forward.  While Senator McCain has attempted to walk back this statement, he revealed what many of us have known to be true all along — the Republicans do not have any problem with any specific nominee that President Obama has or that President Clinton might put forward; there problem is with losing the majority on the Supreme Court.

If the Republicans can keep their current Senate majority, the process of blocking all nominees is simple — although with potential political consequences.  They simply vote down any nominee.  Their problem is if, as current polls suggest, the Democrats regain the Senate majority for the next two years.  If that happens, we are potentially looking at the next conflict over the filibuster.

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Senate Primaries: Arizona and Florida

US SenateIn the weeks since the nominating conventions, a lot has happened.  Trump royally blew the immediate post-convention period and re-shuffled his staff.  U.S. athletes, for the most part, had a strong showing at the Olympics.  And many states have held primary elections for state and federal offices.  There are about two more weeks of primaries left.  (Except for Louisiana which does not really have a primary election, and a special primary election for one district in New York, the last primaries will be held on September 13. )  This week, we have the Senate primaries in two states that are seen as potential Senate battlegrounds in November:  Arizona and Florida.

In Arizona, the Democratic candidate — Representative Ann Kirkpatrick — is running unopposed.  The potentially interesting primary is the Republican primary.  Senator John McCain is facing three opponents — one of whom has semi-withdrawn, urging voters to support whichever candidate is most likely to defeat McCain.

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Sleeper Senate Race:Louisiana

Louisiana is one of those states that does things differently than everybody else.  (Louisiana also tends to change the rules every cycle.)  This cycle, like Washington and California, everybody runs in one primary regardless of party.  However, Louisiana differs from Washington and California in two significant ways.  First, unlike Washington and California, where the primary is simply a primary and the top two advance to the general regardless of whether anybody gets a majority of the vote, the Louisiana primary is actually the general election.  Thus, if somebody gets a majority, they win the election.  It is only if nobody gets a majority that the top two advance to a run-off.  Second, because it is actually the general election and not the primary, the first round of the election is on November 8.  Because of these two features, close elections in Louisiana tend to go to the December run-off.  Thus, if the Senate comes down to Louisiana, we may not know who controls the Senate until mid-December.  Because Louisiana will be an open seat, there is a great likelihood that this race will go to a run-off.

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Primary Season

Now that the two national conventions are done, the next significant political events are primary elections across the country for offices ranging from the U.S. Senate to local offices and party committee people.  As with presidential primaries, each state legislature gets to choose the date for their primary.  Twenty states conserve money by holding their federal primary (and if they have state elections in an even year, their state offices primary) on the same date as their presidential primary.  Ten states hold their non-presidential primary in May or June.  (In addition, you have two weird states.  New York holds three separate primaries — a presidential primary in April, a federal offices primary in June, and a state primary in September.  Louisiana does not hold a separate primary, allowing all candidates to run in the general and using a run-off if nobody gets a majority.)

That leaves eighteen  states that hold their non-presidential primary in August and September.  Four states (Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington) hold their primary on August 2.  Tennessee holds its primary on August 4.   Four states (Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin) hold their primary on August 9.  Hawaii holds its primary on August 13.  Alaska and Wyoming hold their primary on August 16.  Arizona and Florida hold their primary on August 30.  Massachusetts holds its primary on September 8.  The last three states (Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) hold their primary on September 13.

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