Sunday, November 27, 2011

Romney in Trouble

Mitt Romney is in deep trouble. He's been relying on a weak field of conservatives to divide the vote and leave him as the victor with about a quarter of the GOP primary vote. Moreover, he's always felt that no matter what would happen in Iowa (a probable Romney loss) he would roar to victory in New Hampshire. This weekend, however, the Manchester Union Leader, arguably the most influential conservative newspaper in New Hampshire, endorsed Newt Gingrich. This puts a significant dent in Romney's argument that he will be the inevitable nominee. He'll still probably win in New Hampshire but it is very possible that Gingrich will win in Iowa and come very close in the Granite State. If Gingrich does win one or both of the first two primary contests he'll probably win in South Carolina and Florida. By that time, the other conservatives in the race (Cain, Perry, etc.) will start to drop out and will have to decide whether or not to endorse Romney or Gingrich. I would bet that most or all will endorse Gingrich as he is much more conservative than Romney.

Gingrich certainly has a lot of baggage but he does have some great strengths. He is as articulate as Bill Clinton and will have the support of a united party who wants to defeat the President. If he does win the primary whom does he pick to be VP? For lots of reasons he should pick Marco Rubio. But we'll get to that later...


The Snitch

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Senate Scorecard

Right now the Democrats control 53 seats and the GOP holds the other 47. 33 will be up in the next election. Here's how they look.

Solid GOP: (8)

GOP Pickups: (4)

Leaning GOP Pickups: (2)

Toss ups: (3)
-Ohio-I know Sherrod Brown was polling well ahead of Josh Mandel but that will soon change. Brown is the most liberal member of the Upper House and Mandel will make that known in a state that's slightly red.
-North Dakota-I would have assumed the GOP would take this seat but the former Democratic Attorney General of the state has jumped in and she's formidable.

Lean Dem: (9)
-New Mexico
-Minnesota-If the Democratic incumbent doesn't get a strong challenger she'll run away with it.
-Hawaii-This could prove a big surprise. The former GOP governor is mounting a tough challenge.
-California-Diane Feinstein is tough but she's out of campaign money and she hasn't yet announced.
-West Virginia
-Pennsylvania-The GOP has yet to put up a tough challenger against Bob Casey. He's beatable if a good Republican runs.
-New York-The GOP has put a solid Republican in the race against Kirsten Gillibrand but she'll be tough to unseat in this solidly blue state.

Solid Dem: (5)
-New Jersey
-Rhode Island

Possible Dem Pickups: (2)

Right now the GOP is poised to pick up at least six seats. If they lose Massachusetts and Nevada they'll still have a majority (51) but it will be slim. At the same time, if they did get several breaks, they could gain as many as sixteen (certainly unlikely) but if they got thirteen they would have a filibuster-proof majority. In 1980 the GOP picked up twelve Senate seats, including several thought to be out of reach. It is reasonable to assume that the Democrats will take significant losses in the Senate (and the GOP should easily keep the House) even if the President wins reelection. This could very well prove to be the fourth "wave" election in a row. Most of the faces in the House and Senate in the last ten years are new. If the President does win reelection, the Senate class of 2014 will be particularly vulnerable and the GOP will probably end up with more than sixty seats after that cycle.


The Snitch

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Romney vs. Cain for the nomination

Now that Herman Cain seems to have survived the accusations of sexual harassment his polling numbers have leveled out to a basic tie with Mitt Romney. Cain didn't handle the scandal very well and, perhaps even worse, gave a terrible answer about China's nuclear arsenal that seemed to indicate he doesn't know anything about it. However, he seems to have weathered the worst of it and is starting to counterattack his political critics and go back on the offensive.

The primary (and the general election for that matter) is a state-by-state affair and in this scenario Romney prevails (see previous post). Newt Gingrich's rise has been remarkable and he's almost in striking range as the clear man in third place. It is possible if Cain does fade that Gingrich could end up being the conservative's choice against Romney. Like I've said before, Romney's numbers continue to stay about the same (somewhere in the mid-20s) while everyone else in the running continues to rise and fall.

To me it is clear that everyone else is out, including Texas governor Rick Perry. In the end, it will either be Romney or Cain. We're simply too far into the cycle for anyone who has already declared to rise and surpass the top two. Moreover, the filing deadline is passing for the early primary states so any other prospective candidate won't be able to get on the ballot. In the end, Cain or Romney will most likely be nominated unless there is a split convention (if nobody gets the requisite votes) and the delegates decide to go to someone else. We'll have to wait and see.


The Snitch