With Tea Party challengers in GOP Primaries, and moderate Republican incumbents losing their primary bids, I have to question whether the liberals and Democrats are going to sweep November's elections. Many would argue that is not possible with the gerrymandering and voter suppression acts being implemented in GOP dominated states. However, there are two facts of the current landscape that cannot be ignored.
The first is the anti-incumbent sentiment in population, especially toward Congress. Since Republicans hold a majority of the incumbent seats in the House, this growing anti-incumbent wave in the electorate cannot avoid impacting Republicans more than Democrats. A few Senate races will no doubt be affected by this same voter sentiment.
The second fact which can't be ignored is that the Independent voters, who will determine a great many race outcomes, will have a choice in many cases between a Tea Party candidate and a Democrat. Because of 'don't give an inch' stance of Tea Party incumbents, primarily responsible for this 'accomplish nothing' Congress, it is beginning to appear that a large number of moderately conservative independents may hold their nose and vote for the Democrat. Democrat policy positions, according to polls, are more in line on most issues with moderate and liberal independents.
The majority of Independents in polling data do not want to see costs go up, or benefits cut, for a host of programs that Democrats are defending and Republicans aren't, such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, education, and job retraining programs. Women and the youth vote have decidedly moved toward the Democrats, as has the majority of Hispanic origin voters. It will take some serious subterfuge and vast floods of money for the Republicans to counter these trends in the electorate, if that is even possibly going to be sufficient. They are working at it.
The attempts to suppress liberal leaning voters through voter ID laws, and gerrymandering in 2010, will not be sufficient to counter the electorate's lean in Democrat's favor. Hence, the need for vast quantities of campaign dollars flowing into advertising in support of GOP candidates directly, and indirectly. Large amounts of money however, did not save the day for several gubernatorial and Senate Republican candidates in 2012.
It remains to be seen, whether the public can be so easily dissuaded from voting Democrat, after an incredibly long campaign season in which the news coverage worked decidedly against the GOP. The Wisconsin debacle and recall elections of Republicans, the intense negative campaigning between Republican presidential candidates, and the public's awareness of the Great Recession having begun under Republican White House rule, cannot be easily erased from independent voter's minds.
If I were a betting person, I would lay odds in Democrat's favor coming close to, or achieving a majority in the House, and holding onto their slim majority in the Senate, despite analyst's predictions to the contrary. I would not lay odds on the presidential race. I would offer even money on Obama winning reelection, but, I suspect it will be close. A lot will depend on the trend line of economic recovery the second half of the year prior to the elections.
The single most influential factor for me, however, is how the Tea Party has distanced the majority of voters from them, painting themselves as obstructionist, and on the side of the 1% and corporations, including the big financial corporations that brought our economy down. Throw in the Tea Party's increasing social policy extremism, and war on moderate Republicans, and from my vantage point, the Tea Party is forcing the GOP to commit hari-kari. In addition, some polls suggest this may be a generation long rejection of the GOP and Tea Party, inasmuch as the youth vote is decidedly leaning more left these days.
Putting hopes and biases aside, what do you think are Republican and Democratic chances, and why? I would love to hear other' opinions and rationale for their educated guesses.