If the Gop Falls Short There's Likely to Be a Bloody Battle within the Party

By Ponnuru, Ramesh | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), October 31, 2014 | Go to article overview

If the Gop Falls Short There's Likely to Be a Bloody Battle within the Party


Ponnuru, Ramesh, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


What if the Democrats win?

The prevailing assumption is that Republicans will take the Senate in the midterm elections on Nov. 4. It would be a surprise if they didn't. But not a huge surprise.

In the poll averages at RealClearPolitics, Republican Senate candidates have leads smaller than 2.3 percentage points in Alaska, Georgia and Iowa. If all three of them lost - because of better- than-expected Democratic turnout, last-minute shifts in the race or dumb luck - Republicans would come up just short of a majority.

That would count as a good night for Democrats, given the usual losses the party in charge of the White House suffers in midterms and given President Barack Obama's unpopularity. It would be an especially good night for them if they added to the number of governorships they hold by winning tight races in Connecticut, Florida, Kansas and Wisconsin.

Democrats believe history is on their side. It's part of being progressive, and it's backed up by demographic trends. A good result in adverse circumstances would add to their confidence about both Hillary Clinton's chances to win the presidency in 2016 and the basic political soundness of their agenda.

Republicans would be shell-shocked, having done worse than expected in two elections in a row. Defeat would mean the party's problems run deeper than they thought. …

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