Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The 2006 Senate elections

Larry Sabato asks: Can recent history suggest anything about the 2006 Senate results? On average, the president’s party has lost three Senate seats in each of the last 14 elections (from 1950 to 2002); but this includes all midterm elections, both the first midterm election of a presidency and the second one in the sixth year of the two-term presidency.

There have been six "sixth year itch" elections in the post WWII era (1950, 1958, 1966, 1974, 1986, and 1998): The average loss for the White House has has been 6 Senate seats. And, this is the important point: "Never in modern times has a president been able to add Senate seats in the dreaded sixth-year election," for more details.

At most five or six Senate seats out of 33 will be open, without an incumbent, making party turnover harder, though not impossible, writes Sabato. There 18 Demo seats up and only 15 GOP. Tough for the Democrats to take the Senate back. And, IMHO, if the GOP picks up even one Senate seat, there is a realignment (Sabato doesn’t note this).

Note this useful Sabato lists
the 14 seats that are most vulnerable. And this is his wrap on all the Senate races, do click on "View all races."

Discussions - 6 Comments

Why, exactly, would it matter if the Republicans picked up rather than lost Senate seats in 2006? Other than doing whatever it takes to get reelected, what have they done to cause any Republican to rejoice in an increase in their numbers? And if they are not willing to take tough stands on principle and then do what it takes to implement those principles, what reason is there to increase their numbers? Looking only to the abject failure of the Republicans even to attempt to get the judicial vacancies filled, one ponders this question: Should we advocate the removal of Dr. Frist’s access to nutrition and hydration? He surely does not seem to be alive in any meaningful sense of the word. . .

It was a bold stroke when the Democrats sent Bill Frist undercover to lead the "Republican" majority in the Senate, but it is paying off. He has now conceded the Schaivo matter and argued for delaying social security reform. Why would the D’s take seats back, when Dr Feelgood will just make whatever concessions are demanded?

When the Republican party’s leaders going into 2008 are Bill Frist, Orrin Hatch, and Dennis Hastert, Hillary can pretty well get the measurements from Bill’s library and start picking out patterns. We Ohioans need Senator Robert Taft to return from the Ohio foothills like Barbarossa, sort out his grandson, and take up his rightful place with the ghost of Senator Bricker in the Ohio delegation. Those two have more spine dead than the current delegation does living.


"Realignment" does not occur, nor is it completed, by adding one senator. A one-seat gain in the Senate next year would be a sign of continued political stalemate. The bottom-line number is 51-48, Bush-Kerry 2004. A party that wins 48 percent of the vote with a fundamentally weak candidate is fundamentally strong. Like it or not, that’s where we are.

What about 1998, didn’t the Democrats pick up seats in that election? So mabye the GOP could do the same.

There was no net change in the Senate in 1998. The Republicans had 55 seats before and after. The Democrats actually did not do very well in that election -- the media simply treated the election as a "victory" of sorts because everyone expected large Republican gains that never materialized.

Slough is right. Let me see someone call out Carl Levin for his nepotism and corruption. Let me see one Republican Senator ask Harry Reid why the Sixth Circuit has no judges. Then they will deserve our vote.

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