Democrats face a rough election day. There’s almost no chance they’ll keep control of the House. And they could lose the Senate as well, not to mention governors’ seats. My prediction is Republican pickups of 60 House, 10 Senate, and eight governor’s seats.
But there are a few things that could make Democrats happy today. Not extremely happy, but at least happy to have something positive, from their viewpoint, to talk about. Here they are:
1) Rep. Tom Perriello, a freshman swept into office in 2008 when Barack Obama captured Virginia, wins reelection. Perriello represents a fairly conservative district in central Virginia, but he voted for the liberal Obama agenda, including Obamacare. Liberal groups have poured money into his campaign and Obama appeared in person for him last week in Charlottesville. If he wins, Obama and Democrats will say it proves the Obama agenda can be sold even in conservative enclaves.
2) Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio wins a second term. He’s within shouting distance of Republican John Kasich, a former House member. Ohio is important to Obama – indispensable, really – in 2012, assuming he runs for reelection. So having a Democratic governor there matters enormously. No wonder Obama visited the state early and often this year, stumping for Strickland especially.
3) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada manages to win another term. Reid has polled poorly all year and is slightly behind Sharron Angle, his Republican challenger. Reid is an I’ll-say-anything-to-win candidate and often embarrasses his party. But a Reid win, though entirely undeserved, would avert an even bigger embarrassment.
4) Republican Senate candidates associated with Tea Parties or endorsed by Sarah Palin lose. Democrats loathe the Tea Party movement and anyone identified with it, Palin most of all. So if Angle, Ken Buck in Colorado, Marco Rubio in Florida, Joe Miller in Alaska, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware – two or three of them anyway – lose, Democrats will weep for joy.
5) Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman are defeated in California. Liberal Democrats regard women who run as Republicans against them as turncoats, or worse. What’s wrong with them? (The answer is nothing.) Fiorina has mounted an impressive race against Senator Boxer, another member of the I’ll-say-anything club. Boxer is running scared. Whitman has spent in excess of $100 million in the governor’s race against Jerry Brown. If Californians think Brown is the solution to the state’s staggering problems, he’ll defeat Whitman. And California will be doomed.