Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reality Check:

It was always going to be an uphill fight for the democratic party to gain control of either the house or the senate in the 2006 midterms. It still is for all the usual reasons: power of incumbency, gerrymandered districts, money disparity and the superior republican microtargeted, neighbor-oriented GOTV operation.

As for the comparisons to 1994 and Newt's "contract on America", (largely observed only in the breach by the way) few here appear to recall that marketing ploy was launched within 30 days of the election.

The number of House races and Senate races where democratic party candidates are competitive is larger than was expected by most analysts less than one year ago. Also, despite ocassional outliers, Bush's JARs are consistently within a point or two of 40%, not a comfortable place less than 50 days out from an election where the balance of power in either house is at issue. Further, the generic congressional ballot still favors dems over repubs, though the exact delta is elusive.

In sum, it is too early for either party to begin crowing just yet. If the dems wrest control of either house it will be a victory for constitutional government and checks and balances. If the repubs fend off the challenge, expect greater executive power than our founders intended. One may think the latter scenario is a good thing for their party though it is hard to imagine in their heart of hearts they think it would be a good thing for our constitutional republic.

Of course, YMMV


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