Two stories in today’s Washington Times (free log-in required) highlight fascinating potential trends in this year’s midterm election, one to cause concern for each political party’s leadership.
“Former Republicans Campaign as Democrats” shows upstart candidates in selected GOP-held districts are running to the right of the party incumbents, showing that uncontrolled government spending and uncontrolled immigration have harmed the party of Lincoln & Reagan. While the GOP has started to turn it around on these fronts, it will be interesting to see whether they acted in time and whether they will stay in shape starting in 2007. Otherwise, it will be a long and wasted road in the political wilderness.
My prediction for the House is that the Republicans preserve the majority by the slightest of margins after the Democrats gain 12 seats.
“Black Democrats Support Steele” shows the success that might be had by independent-minded Republicans running against the grain this year. Maryland’s Michael Steele might be making another huge step in wooing over a traditionally Democratic constituency. If African-Americans don’t come out to vote in huge numbers this year, and if Steele can win one-third of their vote in his quest for a Senate seat, Howard Dean may be looking for new ways to cope with indigestion.
I think the Democrats have squandered some momentum in their effort to win back the Senate and just don’t have the resources to keep up with the GOP’s strategic, last-minute push. Even so, they will make a net gain of 2 seats – which I predict will include an Election Night surprise that introduces America to Senator Steele, one of the few Republican gains on a night of opposition party success.