So many left-leaning people around the world are looking to the United States election in November this year. We need to pay attention to the thing that enables the Presidential winner to get things done: a Senate majority.
The recent impeachment trial showed that without a Senate Democratic majority, the Congress majority meant nothing and the trial was just dead in its tracks. The Constitution was enacted in form but its substance got hollowed out badly.
Republicans hold 53 of the Senate’s 100 seats. Democrats need a net gain of three seats to beat them. They won’t win everything back they got last time, so they need to win more than three. They also need a buffer of one or two, as Democratic Senators are not as whippable as the Republicans, on the last 20 years of record.
A Presidential candidate can promise all they like, but unless they have a majority in the Senate, any substantial policy or appointment moves are nigh impossible. It’s nowhere near enough to have a strong Democrat in the White House.
So there are some key Senate races that the Democrats need to win if they are to achieve that Senate majority and enable that critical part of the policy formation lever to work for the good of the United States.
In order of likelihood, the Democrats have a shot at a few:
Cory Gardner is the incumbent Republican Senator, winning by just 40,000 votes in 2016. This is the Democrats’ best shot at a seat shift. Their candidate will be either John Hickenlooper or the former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, and the winner of that will probably win Colorado for the Democrats.
Kyrsten Sinema won the Arizona senate race in 2018 – the first senate seat win for them since 1976. While her white vote was pretty good, it was her 70% share of the Latino vote that got her over the top by just 56,000 votes. More than 6000,000 eligible Latino’s didn’t vote in 2018, so there may well be upside to her majority. Also, Mark Kelly, husband of former representative Gabby Giffords, is an excellent contender. Arizona is strong for the Dems in the Senate.
There’s two Senate seats in play here. I really have no idea who will get the candidacy for the Democrats, but Stacey Abrams fought and generated a sweet electoral infrastructure. Regardless of who gets the nod, Georgia should be all hands on deck for progressives. And let’s put it out there: wouldn’t Abrams make an awesome Vice Presidential nomination?
Sara Gideon versus the odious paper tiger Susan Collins. I like this already. Collins’ favourability numbers are underwater. Maine voted Democratic in the last seven presidential elections. Sara is the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. Go do it Sara.
OK this is harder. Republican John Cornyn is no slug. Cristina Ramirez is the one with the potential clearest and most logical path to winning. She comes from an organizing background, and with deep Latino ties has the potential to capitalize on the state with the greatest progressive electoral potential of any state in the country. Groups like the Texas Organising Project have tilted the difference in mayoral races in Houston and San Antonio. Of course it would be a massive Republican shock.
Taking these five would be amazing, and give a tiny margin.
I know, it’s already proven bonkers and organizationally incoherent during the primaries. Obama won it in 2008, and then it blew out to Trump in 2016. Maybe it’s too annoying to think about, but Iowans know they need change from what they have. Heck there’s even a shot that a progressive like Theresa Greenfield could get the nomination.
After that, you start going
mumblemumbleMississippiKeepHopeAlivemumblemumble. Yeah well.
The Democrats are going to need to win at least 5 to be safe, as they’ll lose a couple as they always do.
For us anxious progressives who see how important the United States is to democracy itself in this current world, a good President isn’t enough. The system needs a Senate that enables the President deliver the goods for all the good citizens who have been screwed under Trump.
Watch these Senate races just as hard as the Presidential one.