For a while I thought that it may be prudent to hold off on my predictions until I see five minutes of the Mondale-Coleman debate later this morning. But, one, Hayward already has his predictions in and, two, the debate doesn’t matter, it will just show what I already know. The media pollsters/pundits think that their best safety lies in fear; they are afraid to predict because everything-is-oh-so-close. There is no more valor in them than in a wild duck! Although I will not accuse Hayward(s) or Alt of being cowards, I do think they are wrong. They are counting trees, while I am looking at the forest.
SENATE. Just for the record: there is no question that Texas, North Carolina, Tenessee and South Carolina will remain in GOP hands. I don’t care what the last minute polls are saying about a Democratic wave here or there, it won’t happen. Although I admit that the races below will be very close and, inevitably, there will be some surprises, the GOP will take back the Senate. The main reasons for this are 1) Bush’s popularity and his great exertions for the GOP candidates, 2) No Demo theme that has a national appeal, and 3) poor Demo turnout. Coleman will win in Minnesota. He has run a good campaign and has been very prudent since Wellstone’s death. The Democrats’ campaign rally mode instead of a memorial hurt them badly (as I predicted). They have not been able to re-group and ended up both energizing the GOP base to come out and vote and also turned enough independents in their direction to make victory possible. Ventura has helped. Mondale is seen to be too ancient, too retro and the debate this morning will be proof of that. Allard will win in Colorado because: one, demographic trends favor the GOP, and, two, it is a re-run of the election six years ago and the last loser never wins in a re-match. Hutchinson will keep his seat in Arkansas, barely. Pryor is not exactly squeeky clean, and I believe the Christian Right will forgive Hutchinson’s antics (in part to keep the Senate in GOP hands). Talent will take Missouri. Carnahan shouldn’t be in there, she hasn’t proven herself, and has run an inferior campaign. But the GOP will lose New Hampshire. Shaheen will win because Smith screwed Sununu. It will cost him at least 3 points. And Shaheen has run a good campaign. And last, the GOP will take South Dakota. Bush will have more of an effect in this state than any other, Thune has been a good candidate and Johnson is boring. Landrieu will not take 50% on Tuesday, but she will win in December. The one I am least confident of is Georgia; yet I think this will be the surprise GOP victory, the great upset. Chambliss is a solid candidate and has been able to portray Cleland as a liberal (despite Miller’s attempt to help him). It is significant that no national Democrat has gone down to Georgia to help Cleland. Instead of helping, their presence would have lost him the election; the last thing he needs is liberal support. So, if my math is correct, GOP will be up by three.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Not only will the House stay in GOP hands, but the Republicans will gain from two to four seats. This, of course, will be a huge victory given the history of the party holding the White House losing seats in off year elections, yet the media will portray it as a no-big-thing, something that was expected.
GOVERNORS. That the Demos will pick up a a few seats goes without saying. Given the numbers of GOP governors that is natural. There are a few important ones the GOP will hold: Texas and Florida. Also, Ehrlich will win in Maryland. Of course, despite the great moral victory in these three states (especially Florida), the media will focus on the Demos picking up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.
And the last prediction is that this will put the Democratic Party into a tailspin. Their great expectations of six months ago will not have been met. There will be chaos; Gore will end, limping, into the nomination for 2004. And then, all Hell will break lose, there will be no natural leader, save Hillary (and Bill). And she will be the nominee in 2008. I can predict the outcome of that too, but I restrain myself.