The Presidential election is entertaining, but not that interesting. Hillary will win absent force majeure. The more interesting contest is for the Senate. Especially as the math works so whoever wins control in this election likely holds the Senate for a long time to come….
I think the Senate likely flips Democratic and stays that way. Context: Republicans are defending 7 “toss up” seats in swing-states – senators elected in the 2010 “shellacking” wave election. Democrats need to win 5 of them to flip the Senate over. As always, turnout will decide the Senate races – with women and non-white people being the main swing factors. Low Republican turnout seems like a given (see below). On the Democratic side, we could be lining up huge, “wave” scale election turnout.
What drives Democratic wins/turnout (besides fear of Trump)? Bernie and Elizabeth on the road. Fighting for those Senate seats. And (obliquely) for Hillary. Imagine if the Beatles and Rolling Stones had toured together in @1966. A Woodstock for the great swing leftward….
Consider all 3 players. Everyone wins in a campaign focused on a Senate takeover. Bernie doesn’t have to sell out. Elizabeth has a powerful, personal, actionable message (“Put me in charge of the Financial Services committee and watch those fat-cat’s fur fly!“). Hillary gets the turnout she needs – especially (rightfully) suspicious left-leaning voters.
- Bernie Sanders wants a revolution, but he will will settle for a Democratic Senate… He’s a practical man. He’d like a more congenial workplace. And a platform to keep pushing the dialogue leftward. Most important, Bernie can go out campaigning for a more liberal Senate without shilling for Hillary per se. He gets a platform for “his” revolution and keeps his young supporters engaged without selling out. She gets turnout. Everyone happy.
- Elizabeth Warren also wants a Democratic Senate. It means she gets to schedule her own hearings instead of sniping at whoever the Republicans bring into her sights. Warren is the big artillery in this campaign – yet un-fired but potentially decisive. She is a great speaker with huge presence. If she really gets on a roll, I’d guess Bernie ends up her opening act. But she and Bernie complement each other well. She speaks to a deep strain of midwestern, anti-bank sentiment going back to William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” campaign. And she will bring in middle aged women in droves. And she’s a great speaker.
- Hillary just wants to win. She’s a bit a tragic figure. Like Gollum – its unclear whether there’s any humanity left under that thirst for power (more on that metaphor later). But she will do what needs doing. And she needs youth and middle aged women to turn out. Trump et al have already delivered the Latinos and most other minorities (minus the wacko-right Cubans who the Republicans keep confusing for Latinos…). She’s already OK with African Americans. Moreover, she’d prefer a Democratic Senate even if it drags her further left than she’d like (remember that policy wise she’s basically a 1980’s Republican moderate).
Of course, those interests fracture is after the election.
- I’d expect Hillary to spend as much time fighting a newly activist lefty Senate as she does a still-wacko House.
- But we would also see more of the already-emerging quasi-parliamentary-coalition-style governance dynamic. Bills pass the still-Republican House with a mix of Republican and Democratic votes, with the Senate pulling them leftward and Hillary acting as a balance. It all sounds downright European. Insult to injury for the Republican wacko wing. Who go even more wacko (and more marginalized).
- The Supreme Court swings decisively left. The Republicans (or McConnel) are trying to use Scalia’s seat to hang on to the Senate. But Bernie and Liz will be using it to take over. And Republican obstructionism today gives them cover to ram through a couple of very Left, very young Justices…
- 8 years later, the “centrist” Presidential candidate is probably today’s “socialist.” Maybe Obama runs again as a Republican? (grin)
The most interesting player in all this is Warren. Mostly because she has been such a non-presence so far. Holding her fire. I’d guess she is waiting for the nomination to wrap up so she can fire with full force. She gets to support Hillary (1st woman president…) and Bernie (liberal revolution and a Democratic Senate). At the end, she gets endless Financial Services committee hearings digging into dark corners of Wall Street. It will be painful, endless, and deeply personal…
Low Republican Turnout: This is already pretty much guaranteed. but I’ve written it up in the interest of fairness.
- If Trump is the nominee, anyone outside his boorish base is going to stay home or cast a protest vote. And if Trump isn’t the nominee, TV ads featuring his greatest hits will still have much the same effect.
- Slimy scary Ted Cruz? See this great Onion article “Brutal Anti-Cruz Attack Ad Just 30 Seconds Of Candidate’s Photo Displayed Without Any Text, Voiceover, Music.” That’s a good thing, because Cruz scares me more than Trump. If we are doing 1930’s comparisons, Trump is more of a Mussolini and Cruz is more of a Hitler. One was a bad man, but the other was evil incarnate. Thankfully, Cruz is probably evil/ugly/scary/slimy enough to fail in the stretch. Although I do wonder (and fear) where he goes from here…
- Paul Ryan or some other mangled product of a brokered convention? That’s be a thing to behold. Zero legitimacy. Angry Trump supporters. Easily painted a plutocratic puppet plaything? Also notice how rapidly bright-boy VP-candidate Paul Ryan was faded to the background by the Romney team? My guess is he turned out to be a total dud on the campaign trail.