Majority Math

Ok, so I’m hearing a lot of noise from people on the right and libertarian side of the aisles that “the dems are going to lose everything this election and we can undo everything Obama has destroyed yaaaay!!!!”

Yeah… No. Not Gonna Happen.

Oh, I agree the dems will lose huge, but I doubt they’ll lose enough to lose control completely.

In fact, realistically it’s a mathematical impossibility in the senate for them to lose too badly; as there aren’t enough seats up for reelection that have a serious challenge mounted against them.

note: I’mna highlight the magic numbers for this post so you don’t need to wade through the text if you just feel like skimming. 

Right now the senate is 59-41 dem counting the two “independents”.

There are 36 seats up this year. Twelve are widely considered dead locks for the incumbents, leaving 24 “competitive” seats.

Six republicans and five democrats are retiring and one each were defeated in primary challenges, putting eleven seats in play without an incumbent.

The Republicans are going to lose at least one of those six seats because popular republicans are retiring from otherwise democratic states and their potential replacements are not doing particularly well, maybe two or three because of split voting in Florida, problems in Missouri and Kentucky with the Republican candidates, primary problems in Ohio and Kansas etc…

At this point, Ohio looks like it’s going Democrat, and Missouri is an absolute tossup, and they really shouldn’t be.

Florida has the Republican support split two ways, with the popular republican governor (who would almost certainly win the election in a walkaway if he were the Republican candidate but wasn’t sure he could win the Republican primary against a hard right opponent) running as an independent. These are real problems for the Republicans electorally.

Basically in every one of the states where the Republican senator is retiring, the Republican candidates are killing each other in the primaries, or in the media (or are killing themselves in the media).

It seems likely, at least one and maybe as many of three of those are going to end up a loss.

On the retiring dem seats, they’ll likely hold Connecticut because the Republicans (including Linda McMahon of WWE wrestling fame) are killing each other in the primaries. The dems are likely to hold Illinois with Giannoulas, though just barely and probably only by playing Chicago ball. At this point Delaware looks like a win for the Republicans. Indiana is almost certainly going Republican, as is North Dakota.

So let’s call that a net pickup of 2 for the Republicans.

There was one primary defeat on the dem side, Arlen Specter. Pat Toomey is almost certainly going to win that one for the Republicans, but not by much.

There was one primary defeat on the Republican side, but it’s in Utah. That seat is going to a Republican. Even though there are some major issues with the candidates at this point, the dem candidate barely registers on the polls.

Net pickup of 3.

That leaves eleven incumbent races as “competitive”, five dem and six republican:

Boozman is going to CRUSH Lincoln in Arkansas for a Republican switch.

Right now, Colorado is hard to call, but it’s looking like a switch to republican.

Reid is in deep trouble in Nevada, but he has a TON more money, and he’s only behind by 2-3 points… I think he keeps his seat.

Washington state is a total tossup between Rossi and Murray… It could stay or it could switch, but for now favor the incumbent.

Wisconsin also a dead heat, but Feingold is likely to keep his seat as he’s one of the DNCs most important defensive moves.

On the Republican side, I don’t see any of the so called “competitive seats” losing right now.

Call that a net pickup of 2.

 So that’s a likely net pickup of 5 total for a 54-46 Senate. I think that’s the most likely scenario, and that it’s highly unlikely it will be any worse for the Republicans.

In order to get a majority, they need a net pickup of 10.

Even if the Republicans don’t lose a single seat that’s a net of  6.

If they don’t lose a single seat and pick up all the tossups, that would be a net pickup of 11 (for a 52 to 48 senate), but that’s NOT going to happen. I think a best case scenario is a net pickup of 9.

Of course, a net of 9 gives us a deadlocked senate.

On the house side, it’s a different story. Right now, it’s 256 to 179 dem, needing a swing of 39 seats to swap hands.

That’s definitely going to happen. There is no sane person, currently paying attention, who reasonably believes the dems are going to lose less than 39 net seats. Nancy Pelosi is almost literally screaming from the rooftops that no, they are going to keep control, but it’s just noise.

The dems are going down hard in the house. They’re going to pick up maybe 2 or 3 races from Republicans, and lose as many as 106.

They’re definitely losing at least 50; even the DNC thinks that’s the minimum (and are already allocating money based on that conception). They are internally estimating a more realistic number at around 70-80 net lost seats. The white house press secretary just said they thought it could be as many as 100 net lost.

There are currently about 150 “safe” dem seats, and 165 “safe” republican seats; and it looks like the dems will lose most if not all their 106 seats in serious contention.

If the dems are LUCKY, under the most optimistic projections right now, they’ll hold on to 200 seats, giving the Republicans a 35 seat majority.

Oh and of course, as usual, there isn’t a single realistic chance that anyone other than a Democrat, Republican or “Independent” who is really one or the other but for some reason couldn’t win under their proper label (unless you count Rand Paul… I don’t. Bernie Sanders isn’t up for election this year. He’s really a socialist, but runs as independent).

What that means however, is that  under no realistic scenario, will the Republicans get a 2/3 majority in either house, which is what it would take to undo at least some of the Obama damage.

You’ve got to get veto proof, and filibuster proof, in both houses; to start repealing and fixing the damage, and that’s just not going to happen.

Believe me, while there are dissenter Democrats tolerated right now, the Democratic party leadership will expel people from the party before it lets them side with the Republicans against Obama when they end up in the minority.

Oh and of course, the whole premise rests on the idea that if they get in with a big enough majority, the Republicans will actually FIX anything; rather than just finding new and different ways to break everything EVEN MORE.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

  • Ike

    Nice analysis. Concise but informative. Now what are the odds that the Democrats already have that figured and have or will deploy their troops to “protect” the polling places against angry racist white voters? How about encouraging more voting by felons, the deceased and cartoon characters? How about throwing out absentee ballots not likely to be for the Dems; e.g., military voters? How about just plain not counting votes for Republicans, in those places where the vote-counting is largely in the hands of Dems? Remember that it usually doesn’t take massive fraud to win elections: see what less than 400 felons did for ‘Senator’ Giggles from Minnesota. Plus election contests and whatever other nonsense they can dream up. Imagine if the election of all the Republican House members were to be held up for as many months as the Minnesota Senate race last election? All the losing Dem Reps would keep their seats because the applicable laws all have some version of “…until their replacement is elected and qualified…”. Yep, coupled with an Attorney General’s Civil Right Office that point-blank refuses to investigate voting irregularities against whites because, “…what does that have to do with getting out the minority vote…” and we could see a really swell election. And if you think ’10 is going to be fun, wait for 2012, when the President’s office is on the line. Good times, eh?

  • FrankInFL

    The numbers are correct; the conclusion is not.

    Any party with a majority in either house can STOP things from happening and that’s nearly as good as “rolling back bad legislation”.

    Consider what happens if ONE house declines to pass the budget resolution. Can you spell “OMG, we don’t have any money to do ANYTHING, even pay our own salaries!!”?

    On the day the LP or ConstP (or a combination) have a majority anywhere in DC, the wheels stop rolling. Oh, happy day!

    This illustrates more perfectly than any other scenario why it’s a fool’s errand for people who want small gov’t to vote for Rs or Ds.

  • Ayn R. Key

    Interesting and concise analysis. There is, though, one problem with it.

    Supposing the odds are shattered, every seat goes to the Republicans, and they can actually overturn Obamacare. I believe they would not. They’d make a big show of reforming it, which Obama would veto, and they’d overturn the veto. But the essence of it, that the government can and should manage health care, would not be changed by Republicans who believe in government just as much as Democrats do.

  • Ike

    And how many members of Congress are also members of the LP or the Constitution Party? How close are they to being able to stop the passage of legislation? Have they had a good record of electing honest folks who practice what they preach, to use one of my father’s expressions?

    I think the answers are: zero, not at all, and we don’t know because none of them are in office. For whatever reason none of the candidates of those parties have ever been elected to federal office. For better or worse, R’s or D’s are the choices we’re stuck with. The days when a new third party could come along and sweep an election are long gone, a hundred years or more in the past. The R’s and D’s, over that time, via federal state and local laws have protected themselves from the will of the people. Why do you suppose that districts are gerrymandered and the U.S. AG’s Office has to approve any changes?? No, racism doesn’t have anything to do with it, that was just the excuse to have the “big boys” in charge of shaping the election districts to be sure that their people always get elected. *shrug* What are ya gonna do when not only are the cards stacked against ya, but the whole deck is frozen solid?

  • FrankInFL

    @Ike: all true, but still misses the point. When the economy finally craters (and it will), neither the Rs nor the Ds will be able to avoid responsibility for the crash. EITHER ONE could have prevented it and DID NOT.

    On that day when there are no more pennies in the piggy, Mother Economics will fix the system for us, and will fix it in our favor.

    At that point, it will be all those non-entity parties which ALONE can say “This wasn’t our doing”. Of those non-entity parties, only two will have a proram which differs noticeably from R or D.

    Yes, alas, this scenario requires an economic ‘cratering event’. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.