While the overwhelming majority of the country’s attention this 2016 election cycle has been focused on the battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as well as the absolute circus that’s surrounded the entire Republican party, there’s much more at stake this November than just who replaces President Obama next January.
As I’ve pointed out before, while the presidency is important, taking back a majority control in the Senate is just as vital. Even before the 2016 presidential election really got going, things were looking fairly good for Democrats to take the Senate back from Republicans.
However, this time last year, almost no one could have predicted that the GOP would be looking at the very real possibility that either Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz was going to ultimately win the nomination.
But with all signs pointing toward that happening, things have gone from good to great for Democrats.
As it stands now, the Republican party is seemingly set to nominate one of two individuals who are disliked by basically everyone except their devout (yet overall fairly small) group of supporters. Even with Trump’s rather large lead in the GOP race, he’s still only getting around 30-40 percent of the vote – with Cruz getting even less than that.
Perhaps Lindsey Graham said it best a few weeks ago when he said deciding between the two was like picking between being shot or poisoned.
Ultimately, picking Trump or Cruz will have a massive impact on “down-ballot” Republicans – especially when it comes to congressional races. The last thing the Republican party wants is for two mouthy, arrogant radicals who constantly surround themselves with controversy being the “face” of the GOP this November.
Unless something truly unexpected happens, that’s exactly what we’re going to see.
This is fantastic news for Democrats, especially in the Senate. As Talking Points Memo reported, the map for Democrats (even without the help of Trump or Cruz) is now setting up to make November 8th a very good night for the Democratic party (and for the country as a whole):
In 2016, Democrats only have 10 seats to hold on to. Republicans, meanwhile, have 24–seven in states Obama won in both 2008 and 2012. And unlike a midterm election where turnout is anemic and older white voters call the shots, the presidential race is expected to bring more minority and young voters out to polls.
Since the cycle started, Democrats have bet they could net four or five seats with a specific eye on Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Illinois and Florida, but the prospect of Cruz or Trump on the top of the ticket is making them more bullish.
Now, Democrats are seriously looking at expanding their map to North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona, Indiana and even Iowa –states with strong incumbents once viewed as hard to knock off. (Source)
Democrats are realizing what nominating Trump or Cruz is going to do to the Republican party and are now preparing to potentially make even bigger congressional gains than they had hoped to originally.
It’s yet another upcoming nightmare for the Republican party. Republicans are looking at the very real possibility of losing the White House, a good chunk of seats in the Senate and a full-on civil war within their own party that could very well tear the GOP apart.
No matter what happens, when it’s all said and done, Republicans only have themselves to blame.