Just Asking: What does it tell you about a political party if in a year of epic disaster for their opponents the best they can hope for is a 51-49 majority in the Senate? ... Update: Matt Yglesias says it tells us the Senate is constitutionally malapportioned. I agree. But that's still a problem for the Dems! And many readers email to point out that only a third of the Senate was up for election. That's true too. But it's also true that the Democrats have had other elections, with other Senate seats, to build a stronger majority and they haven't. ... The 2004 election, with its famous "wrong track" numbers, should have been good for the Democrats, while it's hard to imagine a more favorable climate than the current one. ... Six years into the last Republican two-term President, in 1986, the Democrats gained eight seats to achieve a 55-45 majority. And Ronald Reagan's sixth year wasn't nearly as bad as George W. Bush's sixth year. ... If this is the high water mark for the Dems in the Senate, it's a low high water mark. ... The same can probably be said for the House, though it's too early to tell exactly how big Pelosi's margin will be. ... 8:21 A.M.
Monday, November 6, 2006
Analyst Charlie Cook is standing by his "wave":
Seven national polls have been conducted since Wednesday, November 1. They give Democrats an average lead of 11.6 percentage points, larger than any party has had going into an Election Day in memory. Even if you knock five points off of it, it's 6.6 percentage points, bigger than the advantage that Republicans had going into 1994.
Furthermore, there is no evidence of a trend in the generic ballot test. In chronological order of interviewing (using the midpoint of field dates), the margins were: 15 points (Time 11/1-3), 6 points (ABC/Wash Post), 4 points (Pew), 7 points (Gallup), 16 points (Newsweek), 20 points (CNN) and 13 points (Fox). -- From Cook Political Report email update. [Emphasis added]
Bloggingheads Pre-Election Special 2006: Featuring moments of deep paranoia. ... And comments! ... 3:08 P.M.
1. We'd like to punish President Bush. If I could get Bush out of office now with my vote I'd exercise it immediately. But we can't get rid of Bush. We can only defeat his party in Congress.
2. One effect of a Dem House takeover is the radically increased probability that Congress will pass a version of Bush's "comprehensive" immigration reform, including some sort of not-very-difficult path to full citizenship for illegal aliens now living in the U.S. ("semi-amnesty"). The Republican House majority, after all, has been the only thing standing in Bush's way. In other words, a Democratic victory would punish Bush by giving him a gift of his top domestic legislative priority. Perverse! It would be easy to live with the perversity if Bush's plan were sound policy--but it's more Iraq-style wishful Bush thinking: a) thinking that granting amnesty won't encourage more foreign workers to try to come here illegally to position themselves for the next amnesty; b) thinking that a Republican administration will administer a tough, effective system of sanctions against any employers who hire those illegal workers. If you believe that, you probably believed we could just train the Iraqi police force and then everything would calm down over there.
3. If the GOPs lose, it will be primarily because of Iraq--but it seems unlikely that a Democratic victory will actually have a huge effect on American policy in Iraq, at least for the next two years. (Alter agrees.) Bush will still be president, remember (see Perversity #1). He will have to deal with the mess he's gotten the nation into. And it's not as if the Democrats have a raft of solutions that are better than the ones the Baker Commission will come up with. Nor does it seem likely that the Democrats will join with Bush to take responsibility for any new strategy he chooses. But the Dem victory is likely to limit Bush's options--e.g. making it harder for him to credibly threaten a long-range American military presence. Since extricating ourselves from bad military situations (e.g. the Korean War) often requires issuing threats (even nuclear threats) and making promises of military protetion, these new limits may not be a positive development even for those who'd like to get out of Iraq quickly.
The implications of these unintended-but-not-unanticipated, consequences for Tuesday night seem clear to me: the best outcome would be if the GOPs retain the House (thwarting Bush's immigration plan) but decisively lose the Senate(punishing Bush and establishing a mechanism for the hearings and oversight Dems like Alter want). This, of course, is the least likely thing to actually happen. Perversity #4.
Update--Perversity #5: I make a big deal about how it would be better if the Dems lost the House battle, but in the only House race on my ballot, I voted Democratic (absentee). Why? My Democratic congresswoman, Jane Harman, is moderate and responsible. I like her, even if Nancy Pelosi doesn't. ... 12:38 P.M. link
Sunday, November 5, 2006