Today’s article is one of those political operative perspective articles I love to write. As such it, like a poll, has the constraint of being a snapshot in time. Additionally it was written several days ahead of publishing in order to accommodate a personal commitment. Those two shortcomings not withstanding I think it will be well worth your time. Let’s explore.
If you think the 2020 election is just about Trump and the presidency you haven’t been paying attention. Equally important – and I’m among those who will contend perhaps more important – is the control of the Senate. Hence the title which I will explain: At this point I see 11 vulnerable Senate seats that the Republicans are defending this fall. The Democrats will need to flip somewhere between three and five to retake the chamber and the asterisk an interesting “wild card”.
The Senate certainly stands at 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats or independents that caucus with them. If the Democrats successfully defend all their seats, win the White House and flip three seats they would control the chamber by virtue of the Vice President having the tie breaking vote. I do not see that happening. I see Doug Jones losing in Alabama therefore the magic number becomes a minimum of four to achieve control of the Senate. With Jones and presumably Joe Biden losing the number becomes five because with Trump in the White House the tie breaker is a Republican (presumably Mike Pence).
Now here is the “wild card, asterisk”: What if Biden picks a sitting Senator as his running mate? The number could go be five, (assuming the only Democratic failure to defend is Jones) depending on who he chooses as a running mate. Let’s run through three of the most frequently mentioned choices. There are plusses and minuses for each possible Veep but I will only look at the Senate balance of power aspect today.
Kamala Harris is the safest choice in that California’s Governor is Gavin Newsome who will undoubtedly name a Democrat to take her seat until the 2022 election at which point Californians will elect a Democrat. In fact, in their current primary configuration the two 2022 general election candidates will most likely both be Democrats.
Amy Klobuchar is a bit chancier. Minnesota’s Governor is Democrat Tim Walz and will definitely name a Democrat but Minnesota is a swing state, albeit leaning blue, which could conceivably elect a Republican in 2022.
Elizabeth Warren represents deep blue Massachusetts but the current Governor is Republican Charlie Baker. It is reasonable to assume that if Warren were elected vice president Baker would name a Republican as her replacement until the voters could elect a Democrat in 2022. That means you trade a Senate seat for a running mate.
I’m of the old school and can’t see trading a Senate seat for a running mate unless that running mate brings you a swing state that makes the difference between victory and defeat. Klobuchar can carry Minnesota which will probably go to Biden but is not a sure thing. If Biden fails to carry either California or Massachusetts he won’t win anyway so it doesn’t matter.
Here are the eleven winnable (from a Democratic perspective) Senate matchups that I see at this point. They are not listed in any particular order. Can the Democrats take them all? Heck, no! Can they get a filibuster proof majority in the Senate? I can’t see even a pie-in-the-sky path to that. Can they make Chuck Schumer the Majority Leader? Yes.
Susan Collins vs. Sara Gideon* in Maine
Steve Daines vs. Steve Bullock* in Montana
Joni Ernst vs. Theresa Greenfield* in Iowa
Cory Gardner vs. John Hickenlooper* in Colorado
Lindsey Graham vs. Jamie Harrison* in South Carolina
Mitch McConnell vs. Amy McGrath* in Kentucky
David Perdue vs. Jon Ossoff in Georgia
Kris Kobach vs. Dr. Barbara Bollier in Kansas (for the seat Pat Roberts is vacating)
Thom Tillis vs. Cal Cunningham* in North Carolina
Martha McSally vs. Mark Kelly* in Arizona (for John McCain’s seat via Jon Kyl)
Kelly Loeffler vs. T/B/D as of this writing (for Johnny Isakson’s seat)
Note: the * denotes previously endorsed by tellthetruthonthem.com
Every one of the above races is winnable for the Democrats. One of the exciting situations is that almost every Democratic challengers is a “first round draft choice” Even if they lose they will make it close and force the Republicans to spend money in races they hoped they could win with less in expenditures. To be sure there is way too much money in American politics but it is still finite and the same buck can’t be spent in multiple races.
Here is the real bottom line. All my research (much of which never made it into this article) and conjecture is wonderful but it all comes down to people casting their ballots. YOU will make all the difference – VOTE!!!!!!
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