1. News & Issues

Democrats Could Hold Senate in 2012. Narrowly. Maybe.

By June 7, 2012

Follow me on:

Predicting whether or not Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate after 2012 elections, five months before Election Day, is akin to accurately forecasting stock market movements: impossible, even for the most inside of insiders.

Remarkably, Democrats have held control of the U.S. Senate for the last three consecutive sessions, from 2007 through 2012. For nearly three decades, neither party has been elected to lead the Senate for four straight sessions.

Democrats, though, have a decent chance to do just that in the 113th Congress: maintain majority-party status with a margin likely as narrow as the eye-of-a-needle... but they'll need luck, savvy, and at least some prevailing political winds at their backs.

As of mid-2012, seven 2012 Senate elections are rated "Toss-Ups," including five seats held by Democrats and two by Republicans in the 112th Congress. And, in my view, a half-dozen or so more races are nearly as unpredictable as the dead-heats. If Democrats lose a net of four 2012 races, they will lose control of the Senate in the 113th Congress.

Judge for yourself. At 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing, I've pulled together a summary of all 33 U.S. Senate races on a state-by-state basis. And each Senate race synopsis is linked to an article exploring the facts, candidates, analysis, factors, and various predictions.

The seven 2012 U.S. Senate races presently rated "Toss-Ups" are:

  • Florida, which pits incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson against one of several well-known Republicans
  • Massachusetts, probably the most-watched 2012 Senate race, with Republican freshman Sen. Scott Brown opposed by Harvard professor and progressive favorite Elizabeth Warren
  • Missouri, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill faces an uphill battle to retain her seat
  • Montana, where Republicans are pouring millions into defeating incumbent Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, a farmer by trade. Tester's opponent, a staunch social conservative, is ranked the 14th richest member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Nevada, where Republican appointee Sen. Dean Heller must draw votes from the Silver State's large Hispanic population, now 26% of all state residents.
  • Virginia, where former DNC Chair and former governor Tim Kaine will likely face another former governor, George "Macaca" Allen, who famously lost his 2006 senatorial run by less than 10,000 votes (out of 2.4 million).
  • Wisconsin, where... well, you know. Electoral chaos reigns lately in the Badger State. On August 14, 2012, Two Democrats and four Republicans will compete in primary elections, and absolutely anything can happen.

Take a gander, and give me your thoughts: will Democrats hold the Senate in the 2012 elections, or will we be treated (subjected!) to Republican rule in the 113th U.S. Senate?


June 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm
(1) John Ballard says:

I have this odd feeling that most people are still not paying attention even at this late date. Those of us who breathe and eat political news have all kinds of feelings in our guts, but in the end something as capricious as a high-profile news story about anything can have a tipping point impact.
For reasons that have escaped me all my adult life the creation of jobs seems to be the central aim of the presidential job description. Stuff like waging war, poking or cooling the economy, making peace or bringing the nation together in the aftermath of wars, hard times, civil strife or a national tragedy seem no longer important. The next election seems to elect a National CEO rather than a political figurehead.

I’m encouraged to see that over the last couple of days the national media have finally started to report the catastrophic loss of nearly half the middle class NET WORTH during the last two or three years — instead of rattling on about income and the widening of the gap between rich and poor. That gap is an important indicator, along with the fact that those at the top continue to receive the biggest chunk of all available new wealth.

But the real elephant in the room is not income, but wealth — NET WORTH. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how a young family with a six-figure income may have a good income, but still be in deep debt doo-doo with a mortgage, student loans, car payments and the expenses of rearing a family. Now THAT is a serious problem, cuz that family has negative net worth.

June 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm
(2) John Ballard says:

I’m hoping that over the next two or three months the media can focus more closely on Romney’s business record. His expertise is very much like that of the character that Richard Gere played in Pretty Woman. His mission was to buy up troubled companies and either bring them to profitability or sell them off for body parts. Jobs get “created” alright, because there are plenty of new jobs involved. But when the dust settles, the total number of jobs is LESS, not more. That’s the difference between true venture capitalists and equity capitalists.

The ice-water in the veins argument is not a good criticism. It takes that to be successful either way. But it is valid to point out the difference between a lot of jobs that get created (many of which may not last, perhaps) versus a net reduction in the number of jobs.

Those takeover people are important to the overall economy in the same way the bail bondsmen are important to the criminal justice system. Without them the system won’t function as well. But it is a mistake to suggest that with the economy already in the tank, squeezing yet another few drops of blood in the form of profitability for every larger corporations at the expense of smaller ones is a rational step in the direction of a recovery.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.