OK, this is how you reinforce a narrative in This Town. You start off by writing something like this:
The fight for the Senate majority is increasingly focused on five races: four controlled by Democrats and one held by Republicans. These contests — Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Kansas — are acknowledged by both sides to be very competitive, and because of that are likely to see the heaviest spending by both the party committees and the outside groups over the last five-plus weeks of the midterm election.
To a Democrat, that doesn’t sound too bad. That Democrat already ‘knows’ that Alaska is being locked down for the GOP (true), Colorado is trending the GOP’s way (true), Iowa hasn’t yet slipped into GOP territory yet (actually, it probably has), North Carolina is still in the Democratic zone (we’ll see), and Kansas is a wild card (no, not really). So there’s still a chance, right?
No. Keep reading. And note that this bit showed up several paragraphs later.
The rest of the competitive Senate races seem to be moving in a clear direction. Democratic pickup chances in Kentucky and, to a lesser extent, Georgia seem to be fading. Democratic open seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia are gone. Democratic strategists are growing increasingly pessimistic about their chances in Arkansas and Louisiana. Scott Brown increasingly has a chance in New Hampshire, but it’s hard to see him winning before any of the four Republican candidates running in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina.
Let me turn off the spin cycle for a second – or maybe just switch it over to the Republican settings – and tell you what is what. Right now we have 45 seats. We need 51. All that money the Democrats spent in Tennessee and Georgia? Flushed. That seat in Kansas? The exact same thing is going to happen there, too: the Democrats are not going to be able to pretend that the ‘independent’ nominee isn’t anything except a Democratic cat’s-paw. So I’m not going to pretend that we’re at anything except 45 right now, and neither should you.
Now there are the pickups to consider. The WaPo already admitted five – Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. That’s 50. AS it stands right now, we’re going to win Alaska. That’s 51.
…Have a nice day.
(Image via Shutterstock)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: But let me continue. We’re looking really good in Colorado. 52, and at that point even if Orman does somehow win* [in Kansas] he’s stuck by his own rhetoric with caucusing with us anyway. We’re also looking good in Iowa. 53. I suspect that North Carolina is going to have the Ad War From Hades in the next month. That gives us a nice shot at 54. And, contra the Washington Post, I can see Scott Brown winning in NH before at least one of the candidates in that group of aforementioned four.
Again, the real issue here is this: by any objective measure we have been seeing a slow, but noticeable, increase in the likelihood that the Republicans will retake the Senate. Unfortunately for the media, the election is still a month away – and while individual races can always change on a dime we’re running out of time** for that to happen. It’s probably irresponsible for the media to encourage a self-fulfilling political prophecy-plus-stampede by proclaiming DOOM in the Senate (not that they would let this stop them if they could do a dirty deed to the GOP in the process, of course). It’s certainly not profitable for them to just stop reporting on politics for a month. So… you accentuate the positive. For given values of ‘accentuate.’ And ‘positive.’
PPS: By the way, I do this sort of thing all the time, myself. Because I’m a partisan hack. What’s the Washington Post’s excuse?
*Because I’m never, ever wrong (sarcasm).
**I was going to write, We’re running out of dimes – but that sounded absurd even to me, and I knew what I actually meant.