Monday, July 12, 2010

The Daily Strike-7/12/10-FinReg Closer

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Make sure you get caught up on the week in politics in this morning's Weekly Strike.

THE SENATE: Before I give a brief election update, there is some news to report from the United States Senate, sort of. The financial regulation bill's conference report appears on the verge of passing, which would send the overhaul directly to the President's desk. Two Republicans, Senators Brown (MA) and Snowe (ME) announced that they will support the bill. With the support of Senator Collins (ME), that gives Democrats three sure Republican votes. The Democrats currently control 58 seats, while the vacant seat in West Virginia remains at the whim of Governor Joe Manchin (D). So far, only Senator Feingold has been the only Democrat to voice official opposition to the bill. Today, though, we found out that America's favorite corporate shill, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) is also on the fence, which would potentially temporarily keep the Democrats from the 60 vote threshold. Nelson says that he has concerns with the power given to the head of the new consumer protection agency. This has been a policy proposal for over a year, he decided to make a fuss about this NOW? Really, Nelson just wants attention from the media and his beloved corporate lobbyists. I think he'll come around after he gets his moment in the spotlight. Even if he doesn't, the new Democratic Senator will be sworn in next week and will presumably push us over the top.

The Senate did take time today to confirm the nomination of Sharon Johnson Coleman to be a District Court Judge in Illinois. Tomorrow, the Senate will continue consideration of a Small Business lending bill.

ELECTION UPDATE: I'll keep this short, because it's pretty depressing. Election 2010 would be a major bloodbath for the Democratic Party if it were held today. Even though the media has focused on voter enthusiasm, candidates, gaffes, and amorphous concerns about the deficit, the real deciding factor this fall will be the state of the economy. If the recovery remains sluggish, and we have no reason to believe it will improve greatly in the next 4 months, the incumbent party (the Democrats) will pay a large price. There is a time and place for a post mortem of how Democrats got into this situation, but I'll save that for another entry. For now, I'll just give my updated predictions.

If the election were held today, the House would be slightly favored to go Republican. The Republicans must gain 39 seats to regain the majority, and if the political climate stays the way it is now, they will have a pretty decent path to get there. I'd put the Republican chances of a House takeover at slightly above 50/50. I will not be changing individual race ratings on my chart (to your right) since I haven't seen much polling in individual districts. We'll go district-by-district when the election season heats up.

The Senate looks slightly more promising, though mostly because the Republicans have picked some truly awful candidates. I am moving three Lean Democrat races to the "Toss Up" column to reflect polls I've seen in the past few weeks in California, Wisconsin and Washington. This moves the tossup list to an unusually high 10. Since the national environment leans Republican, I expect them to take the majority of these tossup states, but not all of them. If they took 7 of the 10 tossup seats, along with 4 Democratic-held seats that they're already favored to win, they will be at 49 seats, just short of the majority. If they win 9 or 10 of the tossup seats, they'll regain the majority. I'd put the odds of that at about 25%.

As far as Governor's races go, Democrats are in for an old-style Texas whooping. Because of a slew of termed out Democratic governors, and the national political environment, I expect Democrats to lose a net of around 7-8 state houses, which will hurt our efforts during the 2011 redistricting process.

I wish I could bring you more promising news, but alas, things are looking pretty nasty out there. I will change these predictions as events merit.

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