Ronald Brownstein from the LA Times gives on honest and sobering assessment to the Democrats for 2006. Namely, even with the math that is taught in public schools today the Democrats do not have a chance of winning back the Senate.
Democrats are optimistic about their chances of ousting GOP senators in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, states that voted for Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. But the Democrats are unlikely to regain a Senate majority Ã¢â‚¬” in 2006 or soon thereafter Ã¢â‚¬” unless they can reverse the GOP consolidation of Senate seats in states that have supported Bush.
Since 2000, both parties have gained Senate seats in the states they typically carry in presidential campaigns. But this political partitioning provides a clear advantage for Republicans because so many more states backed Bush in his bids for the presidency.
If Democrats only gain in their part of the map, “it’s like saying, ‘We’re going to win more home games but never worry about road games,’ ” said Matthew Dowd, a political advisor to the Republican National Committee and senior strategist for Bush’s reelection campaign. “They could have a great home record but never win a majority.”
It is rather peculiar and actually stunning that the LA Times would write such an optimistic piece for Republicans. The fact that most intellectually honest people, notably the blogosphere, saw this trend on November 3, 2004. The numbers never were there for Democrats to gain the Senate back in 2006. Democrats had to win in too many Red states and defend in them as well. No matter where Senate seats are being contested; Republican’s must defend 15 seats while Democrat’s have 18.
Twenty-nine states voted for Bush in 2000 and in 2004. Republicans now hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in those so-called red states. That’s a much higher percentage of in-party Senate seats than Presidents Reagan and Clinton were able to claim in states they carried twice.
More important, on the strength of those states alone, the GOP is on the brink of a majority in the 100-member Senate.
Democrats are just as strong in the states that voted for Kerry and Gore. But there are only 18 of those so-called blue states; Democrats hold 28 of those 36 Senate seats.
Republicans also hold four of the Senate seats in the three states that switched parties from 2000 to 2004 Ã¢â‚¬” New Mexico, New Hampshire and Iowa.
This division has reshaped the political landscape most profoundly in the South. Under Bush, the GOP has won the last nine open Southern Senate seats, including five seats vacated by retiring Democrats in 2004. In all, Republicans now control 18 of the 22 Senate seats in the 11 states of the old Confederacy, compared to just 10 of those seats after Reagan’s 1984 landslide.
One of the losing 2004 Southern Democratic Senate candidates, who asked not to be identified while criticizing his party, said today’s highly partisan atmosphere had undermined strategies that once let the region’s Democrats survive even as GOP presidential candidates carried their states.
Other than the fact that Democrats must defend more seats than Republicans in 2006 and Dem’s must defend in red states like FL, NE, NM and ND; Democrats also face another strike against them. Democratic hopes have been placed upon ousting RINO’s like Snowe in ME and Chafee in RI. However, there is a reason why they are called RINO’s. They pretty much follow the political liberal landscape of New England and is the electorate of their respective states willing to replace a Republican Senator who is in the majority with a Democrat who will have no power or influence? Not only would a Democrat be in the minority but would also be first term low on the totem pole minority Senators.
I predict that the voters of ME and RI will not change in 2006 because they realize their state would lose any privilege of power and Committee Chairmanships that it presently has. I will go on record as saying baring any unforeseen major events Republicans will pick up a +3 or +4 Senate seats.