Republicans have high hopes for November’s midterm elections for Congress and for good reason. The president and his party are deeply unpopular with moderate and conservative voters, in spite or rather because of their push for health care and financial reform; monumental legislations which the opposition has been able to taint as unprecedented government takeovers. Although set to book major victories, Republicans unlikely to reclaim majorities in either house of Congress however.
So many as thirty seats in the House of Representatives may change hands come November according to recent polls. In many of the states which Barack Obama carried in 2008 however, Democrats are still able to swing the balance in their favor.
The same is true for the Senate although the Democrats’ majority is the upper chamber will be slim indeed. Republican candidates are expected to claim victories in the states of Delaware, Indiana and North Dakota, where incumbent Democrats are retiring, as well as in Arkansas. Traditional battleground states as Colorado, Pennsylvania and Nevada are also within the Republicans’ reach which would bring them up to 48 seats compared to 41 today.
The states that will decide the election are California, Illinois, Washington and Wisconsin. In all four the major parties are virtually tied. The former, among them Illinois, the president’s home state, are Democratic strongholds; in 2000 and 2004, presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry carried Wisconsin by margins of just 5- and 10,000 votes respectively but the state hasn’t sent a Republican to the Senate since Bob Kasten was defeated in 1992.
Republicans admit that a Senate takeover is unlikely to be achieved this fall. Senator John Cornyn of Texas who chairs the National Republican senatorial Committee, acknowledged so much last week. “I think it’s going to be a two-cycle process,” he told C-SPAN’s Newsmakers program on July 18, meaning that Republicans expect to win the Senate by 2012 when more states in the south and midwest will be up for grabs.
In effect, the midterms will likely eradicate the impressive gains made by Democrats in 2008 but not prevent them from governing. Unlike the Revolution of 1994, the elections won’t allow the Republicans to derail the administration any more than they currently can.