The Electoral Math That Will Give the Democrats US Senate Control

By Alan Steinberg | May 10, 2020

Insider NJ

US Senator Bob Menendez

---

On April 19, 2020, I authored an InsiderNJ column, “A Democratic Wave Election is Coming this November.”  In this column, I predicted a national Democratic “Blue Wave” landslide in November that would result in the election of Democrat Joe Biden for president, the retention by the Democrats of control of the US House of Representatives, and the Democrats gaining of control of the US Senate.

https://www.insidernj.com/democratic-wave-election-coming-this-november/

I want to apologize to my readers for vastly understating the extent of the Democratic landslide to come this November.  This will not be a blue wave – this will be a blue tsunami, resulting from a horrific downturn in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter of this year, exceeding 35 percent.   In addition, there are forecasts that unemployment can rise in the second quarter to 25 percent.

This economic crash will eliminate any chance Donald Trump has of being reelected.  In the words of the venerable Democratic sage, James Carville.  It’s the economy, stupid!

Trump campaign strategists claim that the third quarter 2020 economic figures will provide hope to the electorate and enable Trump to avoid defeat.  These strategists display a remarkable degree of economic and political illiteracy.

The only way the economy can register any significant improvement in GDP in the third quarter of 2020 would be through a massive increase in consumer spending.  That will not happen until 2021, as consumers are fearful of the risk of contracting the Coronavirus if they leave their homes to make purchases.

When Trump strategists are interviewed regarding the Depression- level economy, they claim that they can shift the focus of the campaign by making China and Mexico the villains of the Pandemic and asserting that Biden is soft on both countries.  This is a laughable strategy, without any credibility.

Trump spent the first three months of 2020 boasting of his excellent relationship with China and claiming this as a factor keeping the Coronavirus well under control.  He also promised in 2016 that he would build the wall with Mexico and force them to pay for it.  Forget it, Trumpists.  Attempting to blame Biden softness on China and Mexico for the current economic disaster is a failed joke.

What further dooms the Trump campaign is the total lack of empathy on the part of the president and his closest confidant, Jared Kushner.  While Americans are dying by the tens of thousands and the economy Is sinking into the abyss, Jared is describing the Trump administration performance as a great American success story.  This is giving the Trump administration an historically unsurpassed credibility gap in an election year.

In desperation, some Trump die-hards are hoping to discredit Joe Biden with the sexual assault allegations of Tara Reade.  Aside from the major credibility problems of both Ms. Reade personally and her allegations, the notion that Donald Trump can credibly assert a sexual misconduct claim against anybody is ludicrous.

So Donald Trump is doomed to defeat.  I reaffirm my prediction that Biden will win at least 400 electoral votes and attain a popular vote margin of at least ten percent. And the presidential landslide will enhance the Democratic Senate campaign as well.

The GOP currently holds a 53-47 Senate majority, and Democrats would need to net three seats to win control of the chamber if they also win the White House — or four seats if Donald Trump wins reelection.  The GOP is certain to regain the Alabama US Senate seat currently held by Democrat Doug Jones.

This means that in order to win control of the Senate, the Democrats must win five seats currently held by Republican incumbents.  It so happens that there are five races in which the Democratic challengers are solid favorites to defeat the Republican incumbents.

  1.  Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly, a former Astronaut, US Navy Captain, and husband of former Representative and assassination survivor Gabby Giffords, is an overwhelming favorite to defeat incumbent GOP US Senator Martha McSally.
  2. Democratic former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is a prohibitive favorite to defeat incumbent Republican US Senator Cory Gardner.
  3.  Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Sara Gideon is a solid favorite to triumph over incumbent GOP Senator Susan Collins, at long last sending her into an overdue retirement.
  4.  Montana Democratic Governor Steve Bullock is continuing to maintain a sizable lead over incumbent Republican US Senator Steve Daines.
  5. North Carolina Democrat former State Senator Cal Cunningham is on course to maintain his start-to-finish lead over Republican incumbent US Senator Thom Tillis.

Victory by all five of these Democratic challengers will give the Democrats control of the US Senate.  All five of these Democratic challengers are currently both leading their GOP incumbents in the polls and outpacing them in fundraising.  I am not a betting man, but if I were, I would bet on these five Democratic challengers.

These five races, however, do not constitute the only chances for Democrats to oust GOP Senate incumbents.

In Iowa, incumbent Republican US Senator Joni Ernst leads her likely opponent, Democratic real estate executive Theresa Greenfield by only one point.

In Kansas, the leading Democratic contender, State Senator Dr. Barbara Bollier, seeking the US Senate seat being vacated by GOP incumbent Pat Roberts is leading the likely Republican candidate, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach by 2 points.

And there are two US Senate seats held by powerful Republican incumbents who are finding themselves to be in surprisingly competitive races: 1) Kentucky US Senator and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell  facing a surprisingly well-funded campaign (largely through low dollar contributions) of Democratic former Marine pilot Amy McGrath; and 2) South Carolina Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, facing a stiff challenge from Jaime Harrison, a longtime  Democratic activist and former aide to Democratic Congressman and South Carolina icon Jim Clyburn.  Harrison is actually currently outpacing Graham in fundraising, largely through the assistance of bundlers.

So in 2020, for the Democrats in the US Senate races, everything’s coming up roses.

And when the Democrats win control of the US Senate, one of the major winners will be New Jersey US Senator Bob Menendez.  One of the strongest allies of Israel in modern American politics, Menendez will become the powerful chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  This will have a major impact in the politics of the Middle East, the internal politics of the Democratic Party, and the politics of the American Jewish community.  More on that in my next column.

 

Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment