With Election Day just two weeks away, predictions as to which party will win the Senate majority are becoming easier to make, and many pundits see the Democrats taking over by winning the five seats they need to have the majority.
NPR’s Jessica Taylor believes that the Democrats have the edge, and that a Democratic takeover is “more likely than ever.”
Taylor says that although states like Ohio and Florida may have moved out of reach for the Democrats, they have “successfully expanded the map enough so that they have multiple paths to the five seats they need for an outright majority.” Republicans, on the other hand, need a near-perfect night to keep their majority, and according to Taylor, that looks harder and harder each day.
Taylor also thinks that the Democrats have done a better job of organizing. Not only did Hillary Clinton's campaign have more offices and staffers across the country than Donald Trump's, but now that she has opened up a consistent lead, she, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and other top Democratic surrogates have now turned to helping down-ballot races. Not only do Republicans not have help from the top of the ticket, but as Taylor notes, they probably don’t want their candidates onstage with Trump, either.
Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report thinks that Democrats will pick up five to seven seats in the Senate. She notes that Senate Republicans were doing a good job of keeping their distance from Trump and choosing instead to focus on issues of importance to their local constituents, a strategy that would have worked well for them if not for the Oct. 7 release of the Access Hollywood videotape in which Trump boasted about being able to sexually assault women.
With early voting already underway in 27 states, Duffy says that the Republicans don’t have very much time to turn things around, and their presidential candidate will not be much help because his campaign doesn’t really have a ground game to speak of.
Even conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post thinks that the Dems have it in the bag.
“If you are a betting person, you’d have to go with the D’s on this one,” Rubin wrote. She thinks the one wild card the Republicans have to play would be the large projected Obamacare premium hikes for next year. Democrats have been on board defending Obamacare, and Rubin says that gives the Republicans a “meaty, relevant issue on which to attack.”
Ian Prior of the Senate Leadership Fund told Rubin, “The Obamacare premium hikes are going to be a huge issue. As we enter into the final stretch before the election, Republicans should be absolutely hammering their opponents for their unqualified support for this stink bomb of a law.
“In a close race, it could be the difference,” he added.
Even if the Democrats win the Senate majority this election, the Washington Post reminds us that in 2018, 25 Democratic or Democratic-affiliated independents will be up for re-election, compared with just eight Republicans, meaning that a majority win in this election could be short-lived.
That is definitely something to keep an eye on.