A look at the 2016 Senate Races

With any hope of retaking the White House slipping behind the big Blue Ball, Republicans badly need to retain the Senate. Regardless of what happens to the House, another four-to-eight years of Democratic control of the Presidency promises a massive remake of the court system. Holding the Senate will be a critical brake on that revolution.

A big win in 2014 provided a valuable cushion. That buffer should help Republicans avoid a Democratic super-majority after the 2016 election, but it wasn’t big enough to sustain any hope of Senate control. The math is relentless. Republicans will lose the Senate in 2016 and face long odds against regaining it in 2018.

This is the shape of the game:

Currently we get a very different electorate in a Presidential election year from the one we see in off-years. That gap is slowly closing, but for now it remains pretty pronounced. Turnout for the 2016 national election will be 70-90% higher than it was in 2014. That voting pool will be the least white and most Hispanic in our history, trends which are accelerating.

Compared to the 2014 voting pool voters in 2016, and to a lesser extent 2018, will on average be younger, less religious, more urban, and less white than in 2012 and 2014. The amplitude of the Democratic wave will vary based on location, but it will be higher than the difference between 2010 and 2012. These demographic trends are slowly cutting into the Republican off-year advantage, forcing the party to start playing defense on a broader and broader front.

Republicans currently hold the advantage in the Senate by a margin of 54-46. In 2016, Republicans will be defending 24 of the 34 seats up for election. Out of those 24, ten are in a state that 1) Obama carried at least once, and 2) already has one Democratic Senator. In other words, these are places where Democrats can and consistently do win in a Presidential election year.

Democrats will be defending two seats that Republicans could conceivably win, Colorado and Nevada. Unfortunately under 2016 conditions those states will be almost as difficult for Republicans as New Hampshire or Pennsylvania. Given the shape of the electorate in a Presidential election year, it will be almost impossible for Republicans to flip any Democratic seats in 2016.

Keep in mind that detailed analysis isn’t easy this far out. Senate races are more fluid than the Presidency. Personalities and local forces have a greater impact on the outcome. Let’s break the Republicans’ 24 seats in the 2016 election into four buckets: the Kiss List, certain holds, likely losses, and likely competitive wins.

1) The ‘Kiss List,’ as in, ‘kiss ‘em goodbye’ (4)

IL – Mark Kirk
NH – Kelly Ayotte
PA – Toomey
WI – Johnson

It hardly matters who runs in these races. These seats were won solely on the power of the 2010 Obamacare paranoia. It would take a Democratic collapse on an epochal scale for Republicans to retain any of those seats.

Drop four seats without gaining one elsewhere and the Republicans have lost the Senate.

2) Certain GOP holds (5)

AL – Shelby
ID – Crapo
OK – Lankford
SC – Scott
UT – Lee

There are some places that just aren’t going to be competitive no matter how weird things get. Demographics mean that South Carolina might become competitive soon, but Democrats show no signs of assembling any credible organization. Scott is vulnerable there, but it doesn’t look like anyone is going to challenge him in a serious way. Lee might lose a primary, but whoever beats him has a ticket to DC.

3) Interesting races, in order of vulnerability (6)

OH – Portman
FL – (retiring)
NC – Burr
IN – (retiring)
MO – Blount
AZ – McCain

Based on demographics, candidates, and current polling, Democrats can be reasonably confident of winning the first three. The second three are vulnerable based on contingencies.

In all of the bottom three races, Republicans are likely to do something stupid, making it possible for Dems to pick one up. McCain is a wildcard. If McCain loses his primary, that seat will flip. Flake won Arizona in 2012 by only a few thousand votes. You can expect that Hispanics are going to be motivated, organized and deeply hostile to Arizona Republicans in 2016.

4) Competitive, but likely GOP wins (9)

IA – Iowans like Grassley, but the state has gone blue in the last three Presidential years.
ND – Depends on who runs. North Dakotans elected a Democrat in the last Presidential year.
AK – Murkowski is very popular, but it depends on who runs. AK had a Democratic Senator and Independent Governor until last year.
AR – Boozman is a cardboard cutout who will attract a strong challenger. The race is a good test of whether Democrats can still be competitive in the South under even the most favorable conditions.
GA – Democrats proved in ’14 that the state can be competitive. Demographics are trending hard in their favor.
KS – Discord inside the GOP is high and climbing. In a Presidential year there could be a surprise.
KY – Rand Paul is an awkward fit there.
LA – Vitter has a lot of ugly baggage. Again, demographics have potential to make this interesting.
SD – Just like ND, SD does elect Democrats to the Senate in Presidential years. Depend on candidates.


Looking across the entire field, it’s clear that Republicans can’t realistically hold the Senate in 2016. Barring some historic Republican collapse, losing in places in Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky, it will be also be impossible for Democrats to gain a super-majority. Democrats should pick up somewhere between seven and twelve seats.

A good Republican rebound in the 2018 races could help Republicans gain back as many as seven seats, but probably no more than that. If Democrats pick up eleven seats in 2016, which is a possibility but a stretch, they will likely hold the Senate for a very long time.

There is one other likely outcome from the 2016 races that should worry everyone on both sides. Unless the Democrats have a very big year, only three or four states will continue to have Senate delegations split between parties. If the map holds as expected, we will see a geographic consolidation of our political parties more extreme than at any time since the Civil War. All policy questions aside, this is an unhealthy trend with uncertain implications.

From Wikipedia:

2016 Senate Races
2018 Senate Races

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in blue wall, Election 2016, Republican Party
96 comments on “A look at the 2016 Senate Races
  1. ramblingalb says:

    Yeah, this Chris Ladd is a regular Nostradamus.

  2. […] While Republicans crowed over the 2014 midterm results, GOPLifer identified the “death-cross” hiding in the data. Those results demonstrated that at the Presidential level, Republicans now faced a “Blue Wall” large enough to lock them out of competition for the White House for the indefinite future. I explained that Virginia and New Hampshire were now beyond reach for a Republican nominee. I also explained that Georgia was moving into play at the federal level. Also in 2014 I explained that Republicans had a 0% chance of holding the Senate beyond 2016. […]

  3. […] Democrats will retake the Senate in 2016, but not gain a super-majority Date: August, 2015 How does it look: Too early to […]

  4. Brent Uzzell says:

    OT but interesting commentary by Norm Ornstein in the Atlantic:

    “What explains the Trump bump? The answer is the emerging, even dominant force in the GOP—an angry, anti-establishment, anti-leadership populism that was triggered by the financial crisis and the 2008 bailout, cynically exploited in 2010 and 2012 by the “Young Guns” in the House and other GOP leaders in Congress to convert anger into turnout and elect Tea Party-oriented candidates. This force is now turning on those leaders, creating problems not just in the presidential race, but in a Congress whose leaders face the possibility of implosion ahead.”


    • vikinghou says:

      They’re reaping what they sowed. Sorry, but I just can’t muster any sympathy.

      • 1mime says:

        Sympathy, no, but as long as Republicans hold majorities in Congress and in a majority of state legislatures, their dysfunction becomes America’s problem. Like it or not, our political process is built upon a two-party system. As far as the GOP majority not doing “dick”, why is this a surprise? Governing is HARD. If you’re not willing to compromise in the political process, don’t have the votes to impose your will (without Democratic support), what else can be expected?

        The GOP has created this angry monster that devours rational members of their party. They have nurtured the anti-government mindset which bred the TP and emboldened religious extremists. It is a matter of time before this whole thing blows up in America as downtrodden people will reach a point where anarchy is better than subsistence. History is replete with examples of uprisings of the poor. For now, the attention is on the antics of the ultra conservatives, very few of whom lack financial stability. The poor have much greater reason for their fear and anger.

  5. 1mime says:

    As important as “who” the 2016 candidates are is how they will address specific problem areas. I don’t know if Lifer plans a post on what he feels the 2016 issues should be, but I’d like to suggest Medicaid as one, because the people impacted by this program are the most vulnerable and least able to influence the legislation process.

    In Kaiser Health news, many of the red state governors and legislatures are scrapping to plug budget shortfalls by cutting Medicaid. The Republican antipathy for raising taxes (or, re-ordering priorities based upon greatest need) is focusing their budget scalpel on those with the least ability to fight back – the poor. Some governors, to their credit, are resisting their legislatures, such as AL Republican Governor Robert Bentley. It is fact that few red states have expanded Medicaid; therefore, cuts to existing Medicaid programs in these states are especially devastating. In TX, we have this situation:

    “In a two-year budget that was flush enough to trim taxes and triple state spending on border security, the Legislature told Medicaid officials to slash nearly a quarter of the $1.4 billion they shell out for acute care — or outpatient — therapy.” (for conditions like: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, alzheimers, etc.)


    The fixation of conservatives on never increasing taxes despite changing needs and population growth, may sound good to their cohorts, but demonstrates a disconnect with reality. At what point will people who are impacted by nonsensical, uncaring, irresponsible “leadership” (loosely stated) become so frustrated and angry that they will fight back? I think 2016 is when the pot will boil over. It is time.


  6. flypusher says:

    What’s better (or worse), no plan or a crazy, unworkable plan?


    Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

  7. Griffin says:

    Trump’s rating continue to sky rocket. He’s currently sitting at 23.2% in the polls and for the time being it seems he has destroyed Scott Walker’s chances of winning in Iowa.


    Maybe I was far too conservative in my estimate of him crashing and burning before the end of September though I suppose the first debate could cause anything to happen. But short of becoming a communist I can’t imagine him doing anything to cause his campaign to collapse by the end of this month. If he has survived what he’s said so far CAN he go too far in the minds of hardcore Republicans?

    While he’s already torpedoed the GOP’s chance of winning the White House he could damage the GOP brand enough to hurt their chances in the Senate as well if he hangs in the lead for long enough (as in cause an even bigger lose than they would have otherwise). I think the reason he’s still doing well is because conservative media sources love him.

    I think Lifer is correct that traditional GOP establishments are collapsing but maybe it’s largely because the conservative media is shoving them aside. If conservative media collapses than the establishment might have a comeback; they’ll never be as powerful as they were but they might be able to flex their muscles.

    • Doug says:

      “I think the reason he’s still doing well is because conservative media sources love him. ”

      In 2014, the Republicans campaigned and won on a promise of opposing many of Obama’s initiatives. They now hold the House and the Senate, and have done absolutely dick. Many conservatives are sick of being lied to by the establishment Republicans. That is why Trump is doing so well.

      • Creigh says:

        People love to badmouth politicians, but the Republicans’ current predicament shows what happens when you elect people who try not to be political and refuse to work together on anything. Anyone who thinks Trump will be any more effective than the current crop is a fool or is secretly (or maybe not so secretly) hoping for a dictator. What we need isn’t nonpoliticians like Trump, it’s better politicians. Like Obama.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Trump is doing well because he is telling the lies the Republican/TP base wants to hear.

        -Illegal immigration: In 2012, Trump “cast as ‘mean-spirited’ the tone of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney on the topic. Trump told the conservative outlet Newsmax in 2012 that “Romney harmed the Republican Party’s image with his hard line views on illegal immigration.” Now he wants to deport all the “rapists and drug dealers” coming to the US illegally from Mexico.

        -Health Care: “…in his 2000 book “The America We Deserve,” Trump wrote, “We must have universal healthcare… and longer term… find an equivalent of the
        single-payer plan.” Be careful what you wish for, Donald. “My plan now is to number one get rid of Obamacare,” Trump recently said on ABC News.

        -Taxes: Also in his 2000 book, Trump called for “a one-time, 14.25 percent tax on individuals and trusts with a net worth over $10 million.” Now Trump, citing a five-year old recession that is long since over, says that, “The last thing you can be do – is – doing is raising taxes.”

        -Abortion: Also, in 2000 Trump was Pro Choice. Now he claims to be Pro-Life.

        -Keeping Promises: In an interview with ABC News in 2011, Trump promised that he would release all of his recent tax returns when President Obama released his birth certificate. Obama’s long form birth certificate has been released but where are Trump’s tax returns?

        Doug we don’t really know where Donald Trump stands on the issues. The truth is that he will say whatever is popular and in vogue at the moment; he will tell you whatever lies that will convince the Republican base to support him. He just sounds like he is someone who speaks his mind because he is really saying only what he thinks is in the minds of the far right wingers. Once again the gullible far right is allowing emotions to lead them instead of their brains.

      • Creigh says:

        Turtles, you’ve convinced me. Trump is a troll!

      • vikinghou says:

        The Republicans have become a parody of themselves, and Trump is the logical conclusion of that joke. How do you debate that?

      • Steve Garcia says:

        “Many conservatives are sick of being lied to by the establishment Republicans.”

        Why has it taken so long, since 1994? The establishment – did they ever do anything for the Newt Gingrich-invited evangelicals? It seems the establishment used the newcomers only for their votes, but never gave them even a sop. It has amazed me that so many people would vote for the rich and against their own self interests.

  8. Turtles Run says:


    It seems that the Alex Jones brigade has some reflecting to do. It seems a couple of “patriots” took it upon themselves to fire a couple of shots at soldiers participating in Jade Helm excecises. This is the result when you whip up mass false hysteria over nothing, you allow the right wing ammosexuals to once again endanger lives.


    • 1mime says:

      Yeah, sort of like the people who bomb churches and abortion clinics…to “save” lives….evidently some lives are more important than others, right Turtles?

    • BigWilly says:

      I’ll listen to Alex Jones. He’s got alot of good info that he passes on. I don’t think he recommends any action other than watching out for yourself.

      This stuff is for real, so it’s logical that some people may panic. I go several levels deeper and listen to Steve Quayle. I’m smack prime in the middle of the movement, a proud tin foiled hat wearer. Do you not like my chapeau?

      Consider yourself to be duly alerted.

  9. 1mime says:

    Lifer, you suggested in an earlier post that we should “watch what happens to oil prices”. On CNBC yesterday, the commentator noted that oil and the Dow have moved in sinc 72% of the time in this decade. I filled up my car with regular gasoline today for $2.39/gallon. The Dow is at 17,559 today, down from its May, 2015 high of 18,272. Lower energy costs are helpful to many but the energy sector (and those who depend upon it for jobs, income) is in for a long slog – yet another sector that will have to change in order to survive, as you predict in your book, “The Politics of Crazy”.

    ” These days it seems whatever can be burned to power a car, heat a home, make electricity or ship people and goods around the globe is being sold at bargain basement prices. Prices for coal, natural gas, oil and the fuels made from crude such as gasoline and diesel are all far less expensive than they have been in recent years. Consumers are rejoicing. Commodities in general are slumping.” (AP – Charles Schwab) The Federal Reserve is going to have a tough time following through on raising interest rates given the impact of a depressed energy sector.

    Enter President Obama who announced new regulatory reductions in CO2 emissions. He pointed out that dealing with climate change/global warming is no longer optional; we are already at the point where we cannot reverse negative affects. Regardless of one’s views, we should agree that improving our air and water quality is beneficial for all – now and for the long term. The President also touted the potential for new jobs in renewable energy. The solar industry is outpacing growth in other sectors ten-fold.

    The other interesting observation stated on the same CNBC financial news program was that fourteen (14) of the warmest years on record in the past one hundred years have occurred in the first fifteen (15) years of this century. If this is merely a “recurring natural cycle”, it’s still playing havoc with our food producers, water needs, and general health of the world’s population. We should do whatever we can to mitigate climate’s impact on our environment. It need not be a political debate; it is simply prudent.

    • vikinghou says:

      The atmospheric warming is troubling enough. But the impact on the oceans is being largely ignored in the general media. Not only are the oceans warming, but the pH of the water is becoming more acidic. The pH change is a direct result of the higher CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This is negatively impacting marine life and threatening the biodiversity (to say nothing of the food source) the oceans provide. Even humans exist within a narrow pH range: 7.35 to 7.45 is the normal blood pH range, beyond which bad things happen to our bodies. This, in my opinion, is the more serious threat.

      • 1mime says:

        Oceanic PH is measurable and therefore can be quantified. When one considers that 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water – that should be all the impetus human beings need to understand the gravity of the problem. It’s not just the lakes, and rivers, ice caps and water vapor, it’s that big reservoir that surrounds earth’s land mass which, coincidentally, non-amphibian human beings inhabit.

    • goplifer says:

      I’m not buying coal and oil stocks.

      The current downturn in energy prices has more to do with manipulation by the Saudis than anything else. It may pass before long. However, the Saudis are being motivated by their view of the wider situation. Along a little longer time range, maybe a decade or so, we may see a really exciting era in power generation.

      This is an ideal time to pump and sell every drop of oil you can find at just about any price. European oil consumption peaked forty years ago. North America may be peaking now. APAC demand still is rising, but China and Japan are facing steep population declines in coming years. Plus, China’s economy seems to be hitting the limits of the ability to grow without political liberalization.

      The demand curve for traditional fuels is already bending. India has no domestic oil supplies, but solar is becoming very cheap, requiring very little delivery infrastructure. And now California is pushing aggressive new automobile standards that will mandate more electric vehicles.

      My kids have never seen a pay phone. My grandchildren may never see a gas station.

      • 1mime says:

        And, none of us will ever again call a gas station a “service” station (-:

        It’s interesting to monitor what Saudi Arabia is doing in managing its fossil fuel stores. Per Bloomberg: “Saudi Arabia is delaying by eight years its target to complete clean-energy program including $109 billion in solar power, saying it needs more time to assess what technologies it will use.

        The project was originally intended to produce a third of the nation’s electricity from solar panels by 2032 and more from wind, geothermal and nuclear reactors. The ambition was to save more crude oil for export.” This commitment to clean energy was decreed by King Abdullah. Guess in S.A., executive orders are a little easier to implement (-:

        Part of their overall plan is to develop the means to produce the equipment necessary for their conversion to clean-energy. They apparently both see the jobs potential and the benefit from being independent. (Is anyone in the U.S. watching?)

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m a retired petroleum engineer and, as I’ve said before, I wouldn’t recommend this as a profession for kids entering college today. The rapid progress in the solar realm, as well as batteries, is truly breathtaking. Already the traditional large-scale electricity grids are threatened and the utility companies know it. Within a generation each home or small group of homes will be able to generate and store sufficient electric power from solar panels and batteries alone. Remember that, each day, the quantity of solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface exceeds that which is consumed by the world each month. Clearly there is enough solar energy available to fulfill all the human race’s energy requirements now, and for all practical purposes, forever. Too bad I probably won’t live long enough to see this happen.

      • rightonrush says:

        Smart move Chris. I started selling off my oil & gas shares about 15 years ago when they were worth something. Started investing in clean energy about the same time and have not lost my arse yet. I can’t believe other people didn’t see this coming.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’ve been of the mindset that ultimately it would be the ExxonMobil’s, the Shell’s, etc., that become the solar panel companies, the bio-fuel companies, the more clean energy companies.

        Those folks are doing research in those areas and they have the relatively deep pockets to fund additional research. If they don’t develop it themselves, they can buy the companies that do develop it.

        For some of you more closely tied to oil and gas, how wrong are my assumptions?

        Will it be something like Tesla that develops something so earth-shattering that it causes an energy revolution or will it be XOM investing a few billion dollars to cover Utah with solar panels?

      • goplifer says:

        They’re not going to do it. Succeeding in knowledge industries take a lot more than capital. Just ask Data General and Xerox. They just don’t have a culture that will let them compete.

        Exxon and Shell and so on have so much capital piled up that I don’t think they’ll die. But I can’t see them being a factor in the next generation of the energy industry.

      • 1mime says:

        Fine. Let Exxon/Mobil ride into the sunset on their fossil fuel buggy. That leaves the market wide open for young, hungry entrepreneurs who not only believe in alternative, clean energy but also have the passion and energy to pursue it. The main point is, there is no stopping the clean energy movement. It’s needed; it’s better for the environment; it will be very affordable over time; and, it offers a new marketplace for ideas and products – not to mention, jobs. What’s not to like?

      • vikinghou says:


        Unfortunately, for most oil and gas companies, renewables is not in the “corporate culture.” They’re too big to make such a fundamental change. The same goes for the big electrical utilities. You would think they’d see the handwriting on the wall and become suppliers of solar installations. They’re too slow to react. It’s like Kodak and digital photography.

    • Doug says:

      “it’s still playing havoc with our food producers, water needs, and general health of the world’s population.”

      Seriously? Please, research trends of farm productivity, human longevity, and droughts. The 30’s would be a good place to look for the latter.

      “The President also touted the potential for new jobs in renewable energy.”
      We could outlaw tractors and create millions of jobs in agriculture. Would that be a good thing? Think about it.

      • texan5142 says:

        Anytime someone says “think about it” this clip always comes to mind.

      • 1mime says:

        Doug: Please, research trends of farm productivity, human longevity, and droughts. The 30’s would be a good place to look for the latter.

        Mime: You might tell the farmers in drought-stricken west TX and CA just how “good” they’ve got it. I am not disputing the gains in productivity or human longevity, Doug. These are good things, but if you dig deeper you’ll see farmers competing with cities for water and states and countries fighting over river water distribution. I’m not going to dignify your drought comment with a response. Quality and sufficiency of water is a huge problem and elevated temperatures exacerbate the situation.

        Mime: “The President also touted the potential for new jobs in renewable energy.”
        Doug: We could outlaw tractors and create millions of jobs in agriculture. Would that be a good thing? Think about it.

        Mime: Really, Doug? Would you say the same about the explosion in new products and jobs in the technology field? And, all the jobs that have been(and will continue to be) eliminated as computers replace or reduce the need for human positions? That is unfortunate but inevitable. Supply and demand works in tandem with the evolution of new ideas. This is one of the main thrusts of Lifer’s book, The Politics of Crazy. If you haven’t read it, you should. You might then understand what the President meant by touting the jobs potential of renewable energy.

  10. Rob Ambrose says:

    Trump once again providing support that he’s in fact a closet democratic spy whose mission is to destroy the GOP from within:


    What was Einsteins definition of insanity again?

  11. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Great news coming from Ted Cruz regarding research into fetal development and hopes to help women that experience miscarriage with a pregnancy.

    Researchers estimate that about 50% of fertilized eggs undergo spontaneous abortion, often before the woman even knows she’s pregnant. About 15% to 20% of women who know they are pregnant will miscarry the baby.

    Funding for research on the cause and prevention of miscarriages has not kept up the funding in other areas, and as women are delaying pregnancy until later, the research is even more important today.

    Fortunately, Ted Cruz has vowed to take up this fight, and I’m sure his first priority will be to push for more funding on fetal development and miscarriage prevention.

    Below is his latest tweet on this issue:
    Senator Ted Cruz ✔@SenTedCruz

    We should not rest until we have done everything to protect the lives of unborn children.

    6:47 PM – 3 Aug 2015
    434 434 Retweets 512 512 favorites

    Senator Cruz, you and I disagree on lots of issues, but I wholeheartedly support your efforts into helping prevent miscarriage.

    • MarkK says:

      I’m sorry, but it is impossible to take seriously any expressed concern for the lives of others from someone who tries to cook bacon using firearms.

    • 1mime says:

      We can argue all day as to Cruz’ motivations in helping women avoid miscarriage….but, suffice it to say, that all womens’ health needs are important, not just prevention of miscarriage. Count me as a skeptic of any genuine interest on Cruz’ involvement in womens’ health. You are a more generous person than I where Cruz is concerned, Homer.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Mime I think Homer was being firmly tongue in cheek.

        Cruz is clearly speaking only about abortion. Homer is (I believe) referring to the fact that if they TRULY cared about ensuring survival of the fetus, he would promote research into preventing miscarriage.

        Since we know Cruz position is more about pandering to the base (and the base doesn’t care about babies, they care about subjugating women, and punishing “sexual immorality).

        Anyone can tell this is so since the average Republican never cares nearly so much about that child once it’s actually born as they do when it is in their mothers body.

      • 1mime says:

        Oh, my, I’ve been “Homered”!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tongue was extremely far in cheek.

        Surely, however, the honorable Senator Cruz also will take efforts to address the millions of spontaneous abortions that absolutely dwarf the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood.

      • texan5142 says:

        Go full circle and Ted should be mad at his god for designing the female body that way. Turns out that god is an abortionist……who new.

      • 1mime says:

        Clever, TX! Who knew, indeed! What gets me is what RobA commented on earlier. All the attention of conservatives is on abortion and contraception with little regard for family planning that would greatly reduce abortions, and improve the health of the woman and any babies born to them. Instead, welfare assistance, Medicaid expansion, and contraception are targets by conservatives. Do these lives matter less?

  12. Stephen says:

    Rubio won the Senate race in 2010 a non presidential year race with less than 50% of the vote. If just Crist had been on the ballet he would of lost. Crist had basically been primary so had run as an independent. I voted for Crist who had been a moderate Republican. In a presidential year with a different demography turnout I agree it will be hard for Republicans to keep this seat. Which is one reason I think Rubio decided to run for the presidency instead of his senate seat.

    • goplifer says:

      I don’t think he can keep his seat in ’16. Probably doesn’t matter. Chances are he’ll be running for VP and drop his Senate bid.

      • 1mime says:

        Walker/Rubio? Kasich/Rubio? Not, Bush/Rubio?

      • MarkK says:

        Rubio’s already said he’s not running for a second term. I think it’s a very smart move on his part — he’s separating himself from the dysfunctional Congress and, even if he isn’t nominated for either the presidency or the vice-presidency, he can go back to Florida, run for governor when Rick Scott is termed out in 2018, and take another crack at the presidency in 2024 or 2028.

      • 1mime says:

        Good deduction, MarkK. Rubio needs more “seasoning”. He shows a great deal of promise but comes across as so young. Running for president in ’16 provides national exposure while running (and winning) for FL Gov would provide him with much needed managerial experience.

        I still maintain the final ’16 team is going to be Bush/Kasich. Can anyone project who might VP with a Pres. Cruz? Would he even need one?!

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime…I can say with 100% certitude, if Cruz is the nominee, Trump is the VP.

        If Trump is the nominee, Cruz is the VP.

        With similar odds of actual occurrence, if I’m the nominee, Trump will be my VP.

        All kidding aside, you will note that Cruz does not say anything negative about Trump, and Trump will praise Cruz. Both are generally disliked by the GOP power players, so they may be the only port for each others’ storms.

  13. Griffin says:

    Yes the GOP will lose the Senate but it will still be dificult to do much domestically unless the Democrats take the House as well since the Republicans in the House are, if anything, even more extreme than those in the Senate. I’ve heard estimimates that thanks to gerrymandering they will hold the House until 2020 and then the Republican party may become irrelevant if they don’t change by then.

    Pretty much every Republican strategy for over two decades now has been to double down on energizing their base by shifting radically to right and thereby retaking Congress. I wonder if they will do it again in 2018 and fall flat on their face because there’s just not enough of a base to pull that strategy off with.

    • 1mime says:

      The one big thing Dems could do if they re-take the Senate, especially enough to claim a majority, is make a few more judicial appointments.

  14. flypusher says:

    One of the Koch brothers speaks:

    “History demonstrates that when the American people get motivated by an issue of justice, that they believe is just, extraordinary things can be accomplished,” he said on Sunday, going on to reference the American Revolution, abolition of slavery and women’s and civil rights movements. “We, too, are seeking to right injustices that are holding our country back.”

    I don’t know what history this guy is reading, but what an odd batch of examples to group together. It took some major federal Gov’t action to end slavery. Lots of fed fingerprints on the whole civil rights movement too. Grassroots alone didn’t get any of that done.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Fabulously rich dudes sitting around on a ranch comparing their struggles to women’s right to vote.

      Hey, their Black friend, Ben Carson, was there, so clearly the GOP’s struggles today are similar to those folks facing slavery in the 1800s and for civil rights in the 1960s.

      They may be out of touch, but Koch dollars buy lots of media to get voters more in touch.

      • flypusher says:

        “Fabulously rich dudes sitting around on a ranch comparing their struggles to women’s right to vote.”

        I really do need to learn how the play that nano-violin- there’d be so much demand for it.

  15. Chris D. says:

    Even as a Democrat, I have to admit this is a wildly optimistic assessment of the Democrats’ prospects. The Northeast has routinely voted for center-right Republicans like Ayotte. I won’t be surprised if the VP is breaking tie votes in the Senate in 2017.

    • goplifer says:

      How do you figure this plays in NH. And PA and OH and WI and CO and IL and so on…


      What the Republicans won in 2014 was ‘just enough rope…’ These antics are only the beginning. Wait till you see the debt ceiling ‘debate’ this fall.

      2016 is going to be an ugly rout.

      • 1mime says:

        Investors – go to cash ahead of the debt ceiling debacle. This is not only going to be ugly; it is going to be devastating for the markets. One would think those who are invested would be able to figure out who is making bad things happen to their savings/cash holdings…..and, vote to kick these imbeciles the heck out of office.

    • goplifer says:

      And if you can think of a strategy that would save Ayotte, Kirk, Toomey and Johnson next year, you should call their campaign HQ and demand some cash for it.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, this piece in 538 by David Wasserman offers a very interesting look at political demographics – specifically, how concentration of Dems in urban areas helps with the Blue Wall but hurts for state level elections. A good census challenge could change this but why would Repubs support this to pick up the lone office of President when they can gerrymander and control Congress?
        Given what we have seen about states picking up the legislative mantle to pass legislation locally that Congress can’t achieve nationally, the article presents a shift in the relevance of governors and state legislators. At the very least, we should see more governors seeking the presidency….which is far better than those whose whole life has been spent in the political arena with no or little practical governing experience.


      • Steve Garcia says:

        [Written the night of the NH primary…]

        1mime – “…when they can gerrymander and control Congress?”

        Well, one thing is that gerrymandering can only be done once every decade. Another thing is that, if goplifer is right and the Dems get an off-year-proof Senate, then 2020 becomes the third consecutive Congress in which the Dems hold the Senate. And 2020 being a Presidential year, count on the Dem lead to extend in the Senate. But ALSO with the greatly increased Presidential year turnout, the number of state houses controlled by the GOP has to go downward, not upward. That would lead to gerrymandering the other way – or, god, forbid, actual balanced congressional districts in at least a few more states.

        And do not forget goplifer’s point about the judicial appointments.

        Put all this together with the Blue Wall, and there is some serious Democratic advantage to be had, and perhaps for a long time.

        Add in ALSO the tug-of-war within the GOP between the Tea Party types and the establishment. If there was ever a time for the GOP to not be having internecine warfare, 2016 is probably the time.

        And what kind of temper tantrums are going to happen when one arm of the GOP doesn’t get it’s preferred candidates? Are people going to threaten to leave the party? And if so, which people? And if so, what then?

    • 1mime says:

      As much as I would love to think the Democrat Party would take back the Senate, win the Presidency, and spoil the House Republican majority…. that is more optimism than I can muster. But, Lifer, I hope I’m wrong and you’re right!

      More concerning, is Lifer’s final comment predicting: “…geographic consolidation of our political parties more extreme than at any time since the Civil War.” We tend to focus our attention on national politics, but this problem is growing from the state level. It used to be that one could count on governors and legislatures to be more responsible to constitutent needs – if for no other reason – than proximity to the voter.

      Still, hope springs eternal. I keep thinking it can’t get worse…..can it?

  16. MarkK says:

    Interesting analysis, Chris, even if I think it’s more bullish on Democratic chances than circumstances may warrant. One correction is needed, though: contrary to your statement, above, Alaska didn’t have a Democratic governor in 2014. The last Democrat who was governor was Tony Knowles, who left office in 2002. While their current governor was elected last year with Democratic support, he was previously a Republican before becoming an independent.

  17. vikinghou says:

    Another race to watch will be Michael Bennet’s (D-CO) bid for a second term. He has a large slate of GOP candidates (running the gamut between rather moderate and being certifiable) who have declared. I think it’s going to be a squeaker–a classic showdown between rural and urban Coloradans.

    • Steve Garcia says:

      Good observation. If turnout is high, watch out. Between 2012 and 2014 national turnout was down a full 40 MILLION. If goplifer is correct and we will see 2012 again and then some for the Dems, that would sweep Bennett back in, most likely.

      Colorado was down 284,000 voters in 2014, vs 2012. If more than 300,000 more than 2014 vote, Bennett is certainly a winner. I am saying 300,000 because of goplifer’s suggestion of 2012 but more so.

  18. There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip…

    One suspects the foundations of the blue wall may not be so solid as commonly believed. In any event, with respect to this Senate, Senator Ted “The Anti-Christ” Cruz certainly got it right:

    “What has that majority done? First thing we did, in December, is we came back and we passed a trillion dollar cromnibus plan, filled with pork and corporate welfare. That was the very first thing we did. Then this Republican majority voted to fund Obamacare, voted to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, and then leadership rammed through the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Madam president, which of those decisions would be one iota different if Harry Reid were still majority leader? Not a one. Not a one.”

    So perhaps it doesn’t really matter which party controls the Senate corporatocracy. To quote the ‘inevitable’ (that word – I do not think it means what you think it means) Democrat presidential nominee,

    “What difference at this point does it make?”


    • 1mime says:

      Tracy: “with respect to this Senate, Senator Ted “The Anti-Christ” Cruz certainly got it right:

      “What difference at this point does it make?”

      Cruz is such a narcissist that anything he says begs to be challenged. Is HE the only Senator whose opinion counts? If the cromnibus plan was filled with pork and corporate welfare, let’s hear some specifics. I want to know who the beneficiaries of the P & C welfare are….dare I say most are Republican (they do control the Senate, after all). Instead of hurling criticism, why doesn’t Cruz show up for committee meetings and do the hard work of trying to pass and improve legislation instead of using every opportunity at the end for a photo op?

      As for Loretta Lynch – she was/is imminently qualified for the position. The FACT that her confirmation dragged on for months due to politics hardly dignifies or proves her few detractors’ criticisms. As for funding the ACA – this plan – LIKE IT OR NOT – has survived two SCOTUS challenges. IT IS CONSTITUTIONAL and therefore it shall be funded. Now, if the GOP wished to improve it, they could, but that hasn’t happened. They’d rather use it for a whipping post to rile their base. If the GOP had a better plan to offer, they could, but that hasn’t happened either. As for funding Pres. Obama’s executive amnesty – why is it when Republicans (think: Pres. Reagan) offer amnesty, it doesn’t get criticized as unconstitutional? It may have been distasteful to the GOP, but they didn’t challenge it on the basis of constitutionality.

      No, Cruz always has a personal motive in his attacks. He should try focusing some of his intellect on doing the hard work of governing rather than always tearing down. But, such doesn’t appeal to a man who only knows how to grandstand. One thing I am certain of. AS long as Cruz is in the Senate, he will not be a part of the solution. He will forever be part of the problem.

      What does worry me is Lifer’s prediction months ago, that Cruz could be the “sleeper” candidate who wins the GOP Presidential nomination. In one week, his four super paks raked in $31 million. His backers want to be sure he can compete on the national stage. THAT is a frightening scenario. Can anyone see this GOP race coming down to a Bush/Cruz finale?


      Be careful what you wish for, Tracy.

      • 1mime, everything you point out is correct; yet the Cruz is right on the facts in this case, too. The GOP majority in the House and Senate is apparently worth about as much as teats on a boar hog.

    • texan5142 says:

      There is stupid, and then there is Ted Cruz stupid.

      And no dumb ass, that is not how sane Texans cook bacon.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Clearly, Lifer had not seen this video when he wrote the post above.

        This is a game-changer, and a video of Cruz firing a “machine gun” wrapped in bacon is the thing that will draw Blacks, Hispanics, and women to the GOP.

        Sure, some of you overly-PC pacifists might suggest that joking about guns while firing a moderately dangerous weapon in an area with slick bacon grease on the floor might not be the best idea given recent examples of gun violence in the country, but you folks are just wrong.

        America is crying out for leadership, and leadership means having a lowly paid campaign staff member run to buy bacon and then wrap the bacon around a gun so that Ted Cruz can fire that gun to heat up the bacon.

        Incidentally, foodsafety.gov does not recommend this as an appropriate bacon cooking method, but they are just big-government taking away our freedoms.

        The good folks at Smith and Wesson suggested that attempting to cook bacon with your gun might void the warranty on your weapon. Guiding hand of the free market at work.

      • Let’s see… ~30 cents a round… most expensive piece of bacon, ever. 😉

      • goplifer says:

        Fiscal responsibility my ass…

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Fundamentally, I know it likely is his politics that causes such a negative reaction for me, but I have a near Pavlovian response to Ted Cruz’s picture.

        The word “punchable” just jumps into my head every time I see his face.

        I’m generally not a violent person, and I recognize that it is childish and irrational, but I figure if I look up “punchable” in the dictionary, Cruz’s face will be the accompanying picture.

      • Stephen says:

        Cruz cannot seriously want to win the presidency. Coming from the deep redneck south I found the video a hoot. But this will turn off for many voters.

      • Stephen, HH, if I *read* Cruz’ policy positions, I find that I agree with most. It’s his appallingly *spectacular* lack of political judgment (of which the bacon video is just one of a multitude of examples) that turns me off on him. Assume for just a moment (don’t let your head explode) that Cruz were actually to become president, and that the GOP retained control of the House and Senate. How on earth would Cruz be able to work with even his *own* party to govern? McConnell and Boehner would as soon be tarred and feathered as have *anything* to do with Cruz.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        TT…ok…my head did not explode.

        Although Cruz has spectacularly poor political judgment (unless he has some incredibly complex, long term plan of which this is only the stage-setting beginning), were he to be elected President, McConnell and Boehner are plenty opportunistic enough to happily take advantage of having him as President.

        They may dislike Cruz as much as I do (if not more), but their quest for power would allow them to hold their noses long enough to work together (while leaving anonymously sourced stories in the hands of the liberal media noting that Ted Cruz prefers poutine over bacon).

  19. 1mime says:

    OT, but couldn’t resist sharing this “contrite” mug shot of TX AG Ken Paxton who was recently indicted on three felony fraud charges stemming from an alleged investment scheme into the McKinney-based technology company Servergy, as well as his failure to register as an investment advisor representative with the state.

    • 1mime says:

      Ouch – sorry for the size of the mug shot photo )-:

    • 1mime says:

      I would also like to point out that Paxton was indicted by a Grand Jury in his home county. The new TX Ranger assignment to replace Travis County to investigate charges against public officials and employees will undergo a litmus test with the Paxton case.

    • Hmm. Given the pronounced facial droop on the right side of his face, it looks like Paxton may have suffered a stroke (or some other form of brain injury) relatively recently, or perhaps he’s got Bell’s palsy, or a similar condition. If you look at recent campaign photos, most show a full or 3/4 profile (one assumes an attempt to minimize the cosmetic deficiencies associated with whatever medical condition he’s dealing with.)

      The publishing of this particular “mug” shot is pretty obviously a rather heavy-handed and crude attempt at character assassination. I don’t know anything about the merits of the case (although it sounds like a slam dunk), but IMHO promoting this photo is more that a little shameful.

  20. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Wait a second, I think I read something about how the 2014 elections were a clear sign that the American public was tired of Democrats and were rushing to embrace conservative GOP positions.

    Certainly implosions happen at the Presidential election level, and Senate races are much more fluid based on the individual candidates running and the economic/social conditions in that state, but demographic changes are going to be a bear for the GOP over the next 10 years.

    It may only take one transformational candidate at the national level to help turn those tides, but I cannot imagine that candidate emerging out of the current crop of candidates.

    Bush could be a fine candidate and ultimately maybe a decent President, but he is not going to transform the party (even outwardly just for show).

    Obama didn’t transform anything other than a junior senator into a President, but the show certainly was attention getting. The GOP does not have that in their bag of tricks right now.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer: Any hope of Bush being a “fine” candidate evaporates with the irrationality of GOP leadership prodding him away from the center. Not that I think Bush isn’t a better person than Romney at his core, but, is it even possible for any Republican candidate to hew to the middle and be a serious contender?

      • MarkK says:

        Hadn’t you heard, 1mime? Republican candidates don’t have to “hew” — they just have to stay true to what they believe and those masses of like-minded people who don’t turn out will show up in November to restore our nation back to its greatness! Or something like that.

    • 1mime says:

      Homer, I’d like to add gun violence to the list of issues to be part of the 2016 election discussion. I watched an excellent documentary on PBS last night produced by Frontline, entitled: “Gunned Down, The Power of the NRA”. One of the new things I learned was the role the NRA played in Gore’s defeat in his presidential bid. The rest of it was less surprising while disturbing. Here’s a link that can be viewed online or in your local PBS archives.


      Giving credit where credit is due, TX Senator John Cornyn has introduced a Senate bill that ‘would incentivize states to send more information about residents with serious mental-health problems to the federal background check system for firearm purchasers (NICS)’. The bill is entitled: “Mental Health and Safe Communities Act”. I applaud sensible, enforceable efforts to reduce gun access of mentally ill persons. I encourage all who say that nothing more can or should be done to further regulate gun access, to support Sen. Cornyn’s bill. I also encourage all of you who share concern for reducing gun violence in America to take time to let his office know you support his bill. It is a courageous stand for a Republican to make and he deserves all our support.


      • 1mime says:

        This just reported on CNBC: There has been another movie theater shooting – this one in Nashville, TN. At present, the only death reported is the shooter. Other details will be reported as they emerge.

  21. 1mime says:

    A few questions related to your predictions, Lifer.

    (1) How likely will the demographics you cite result in “more” extreme actions by the GOP in the run up to the 2016 election? How will this impact voter turnout?
    (2) How likely will there be more GOP efforts to squelch additional voter registration in GA (“New Georgia Project”) and other pivotal purple states?
    (3) What is the probability that higher turnout will result in gubernatorial changes?
    (4) Could a Bush/Kasich ticket puncture the Blue Wall?

  22. Tom says:

    Also… In LA, Vitter is running for Governor in 2015 and so may not be the GOP candidate. Of course a generic Republican may actually be a better candidate than Vitter there.

    Iowa changes drastically if Grassley for whatever reason is not the Republican candidate. Same with McCain in AZ.

    • 1mime says:

      My LA relatives (the Democrat wing of the family) tell me they like Jay Darden a lot and predict Vitter might be in for the fight of his life. Haven’t polled the Repub wing of the family yet.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Sometimes, when I think of “polling” the Republican wing of my family, I sometimes want to hit them with a pole.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, well, what can you do? I admit that one of my repub siblings is a prime candidate for a poling but the others are “approachable”.

      • flypusher says:

        Methinks Thanksgiving 2016 just might be a good time to NOT leave town.

  23. Tom says:

    Correction: the PA seat up in 2016 is the Toomey seat, not Casey. Casey is PA’s Democratic Senator.

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