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  "Half a re-alignment" : Part 1 of 3 - The Senate
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The Vorlon
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« on: January 13, 2005, 03:53:59 pm »
« edited: January 13, 2005, 04:25:01 pm by The Vorlon »

Since everybody else seems to have jumped in with their breakout of what 2004 means, I guess I'll jump in too..

Part I - The Senate - A quiet GOP Revolution?

Unlike the House and the Presidency, The senate is the one elected body where the GOP has actually built it's self up a long term, strategic advantage.

Lets do it by the numbers.

If we designate a state Bush won by 5%+ as a "natural" GOP state, and a state Kerry won by 5%+ as a "natural" Dem state, what would the senate look like?

There are 25 states, for a total of 50 seats where the GOP candidate "should" win.
By contrast, there are only 13 States where Kerry won by 5+%, for a "natural" Dem base of just 26 seats.

Indeed if we assume that states that were within 5% at the presidential level will normally break 50/50 at the Senate level, the "Natural" Senate would be 62 GOP / 38 Dems.

Of course, the 5% rule is utterly arbitrary. If you use 10% as a threshold for a state being a "base" state, then for example the GOP has a 42 to 14 advantage, if you use 3% the GOP has a 54 to 34 advantage...

Needless to say, there are state by state exceptions. "Republican" Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island is an anomaly that will likely end when Chafee dies or steps down, as will Democrat Byrd in West Virginia, but no matter how you look at it, in the Senate, the GOP has a substantial structural advantage.

This advantage BTW has very little to do with the popular vote - The GOP just happens to be strong in a bunch of the small states. The blame or credit for this GOP Senate advantage goes to Jefferson and Madison not Bush and Kerry.

What is more daunting for a Demnocratic perspective, it that the GOP has more "natural" room to grow in the senate.

On the GOP side, the only Senators who are really at a substantial natural disadvantage are Chaffee, Collins, and Snowe. - Collins and Snowe are actually quite entrenched and if either lost it would be considered a substantial upset, but they are both running against the tide.

In Maine a "generic" Democrat will usualy beat a "generic" Republican - It takes either the power of incumbancy or a very strong individual candidate (or both) to pull it out for the GOP.

Similarly, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Hampshire the GOP has 6 out of 6 senators - The "Natural" order of things in those three states - a "generic GOP versus a "generic" dem would normally be either 3/3 or maybe 4/2.

In short - the GOP holds about 6 senate seats they "Naturally" should not hold.

By contrast, the Dems are vastly more vulnerable in the Senate.

The Dems hold 6 Senate seats (Nelson in Nebraska, Dorgan and Conrad in North Dakota, Byah in Indiana, Johnson in South Dakota, Baukas in Montana) where Bush won by 20+ % - Now all six of these Senators are, as individuals, pretty safe (Johnson likely the most vulnerable) but over time as these folks retire, we can expect the GOP to win most or all of them. Just as a "generic" Den "should" win Rhode Island, a "generic" GOP should win North Dakota.

Additionally, 5 more Democratic sseats exist in states Bush carried by 10% or more: Pryor and Lincoln in Arkansas, Byrd and Rockefeller in West Virginia, and Landreau in Louisiania.

Over time, in open contests, again the GOP will likely win more than they lose here.

In short, there are 11 Democratic Senate seats in states the GOP "should" win, versus just 3 GOP seats in states the Dems "should" win.

At the Senate level, the math looks rather bleak for the Dems actually.

The Presidency - Still "flip a coin"

Unlike the Senate, Dem prospects in the Presidency are still pretty good. For reasons similar to the Senate, the GOP does have a modest structual advantage +/- 20 EVs or so, but this 20 EVs is far, far less than the difference between a good candidate and a bad one.

.... to be continued...





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A18
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2005, 04:13:28 pm »

Long live the GOP Senate! :-)
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jfern
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2005, 04:16:59 pm »
« Edited: January 13, 2005, 04:28:11 pm by jfern »

Applying your analysis to the 1972 election, we have 97 "natural" Republicans.  The 1984 election gives us 96 "natural" Republicans.

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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2005, 04:24:41 pm »

You're twisting his criteria into something it's not, but even if we're going to do that, you're still wrong because there were a lot of close States in those presidential elections.

The States he has listed as Republican are, for the most part, naturally GOP; and vice versa for the Democrats. The main one I would disagree with is West Virginia.
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2005, 04:28:51 pm »

Five points is close. He has Florida listed as a battleground, notice.

This election wasn't some fluke landslide. The States that went heavily for Bush, are, for the most part, fundamentally GOP. And vice versa.
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jfern
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2005, 04:29:30 pm »
« Edited: January 13, 2005, 04:32:52 pm by jfern »

You're twisting his criteria into something it's not, but even if we're going to do that, you're still wrong because there were a lot of close States in those presidential elections.

The States he has listed as Republican are, for the most part, naturally GOP; and vice versa for the Democrats. The main one I would disagree with is West Virginia.

In 1972, Nixon won 48 states by at least 6 points, and a 49th point by 5 and change points, while losing 1 state by over 6 points, giving us 97 "natural" GOP senators.

In 1972, the Democrats *gained* in the Senate, ending up with 56 Dems, 42 GOP, and 2 who knows.

In 1984, the Democrats also gained in the Senate, ending up with 47 Dems, 53 GOP.
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2005, 04:32:58 pm »

Is there a reason you deleted your post? I know 1984 had several close States.

More importantly, why are you responding to the minor point and ignoring the main one? This election wasn't some fluke landslide. The States that went heavily for Bush, are, for the most part, fundamentally GOP. And vice versa.
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The Vorlon
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2005, 04:34:20 pm »
« Edited: January 13, 2005, 04:48:33 pm by The Vorlon »

Applying your analysis to the 1972 election, we have 98 "natural" Republicans. The 1984 election gives us 97 "natural" Republicans.



You are not accounting, as I carefully and clearly do, for the power of incumbancy.  Maine, for example, is leaning towards being a "natural" Democratic state, yet they have 2 GOP senators in Collins and Snowe.

North Dakota is a solid GOP state presidentially, yet Conrad and Dorgan are fairly safe Dems.

The "natural" rule really only applies to open seats, and given the extended careers and 6 years election cycles, the number of open seats is fairly limited.  The incumbant, regardless of party and state, usually wins in the Senate.  Other than Daschle, I think all the incumbants won in 2004 in the senate if I am not mistaken. -

The Senate, more than any other body, has a vast power of incumbancy, it is very unlikely the Senate will every get all that close to it's "natural" breakout for that reason.

Iowa, for example is very very close at the presidential level. But both Harkin (D) and Grassley (R) are basically bomb proof in their seats. It is difficult to project a scenario short of some truly shocking scandal, where Harkin gets defeated for example.

By contrast, Chaffee in Rhode island is a matter of "when" the seat goes Democratic, not "if". With the exception of an entrenched incumbant, or a truly major scandal, or a very large mismatch between the quality of the Candidates, the Dems should get both seats in Rhode Island.

Similarly, a "generic" GOP candidate will usually beat a "generic" DEm in North Dakota.
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2005, 04:37:51 pm »

Why is this part 1 of 3? Are you going to do the House and Presidency too?
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Gabu
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2005, 04:44:26 pm »

It seems to me that the one problem with this analysis is the oversimplification of the electoral process and of the parties.  All things aside, yes, a "generic" GOP candidate and a "generic" Dem candidate, if the election is extremely boring and mundane on both sides, will probably follow the rules laid out.  However, generic candidates don't exist (you can't really even start to compare, say, Bayh and Boxer, just because they're in the same party) and races are very rarely extremely boring and mundane on both sides.  Pretty much every race except for those in the most extremely partisan states are decided by who is the better candidate, not simply by which party the candidate is from.  As people have noted in the past, state politics can be very different from national politics.

I do recognize that this analysis is not meant to address fine details such as these, however, so this is mainly just a note rather than a critique of your analysis.
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« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2005, 04:53:14 pm »

So far this is no surprise.

The GOP draws its strength from smaller states, and the Senate was designed to protect the interests of smaller states (or rather, to give them disproportionate power). So it is no surprise that the GOP would have an extra advantage in the Senate.

The most frustrating thing for Democrats is not the Senate but the House, where extreme gerrymandering in large states such as PA, MI, FL and TX could give the GOP a larger advantage than is "natural".

For example, going by percentages in the Bush-Kerry matchup, the House should be around 221-210 GOP, not 232-201.
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« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2005, 04:54:50 pm »

It is important to remember that the Democrats ran John Kerry, who could not get elected to anything in the South. States like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida will vote for a moderate Democrat, it's not shocking. Also, the Democrats have won open seats in the last 8 years in many states that currently trend GOP.
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The Vorlon
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« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2005, 04:58:51 pm »

It seems to me that the one problem with this analysis is the oversimplification of the electoral process and of the parties. All things aside, yes, a "generic" GOP candidate and a "generic" Dem candidate, if the election is extremely boring and mundane on both sides, will probably follow the rules laid out. However, generic candidates don't exist (you can't really even start to compare, say, Bayh and Boxer, just because they're in the same party) and races are very rarely extremely boring and mundane on both sides. Pretty much every race except for those in the most extremely partisan states are decided by who is the better candidate, not simply by which party the candidate is from. As people have noted in the past, state politics can be very different from national politics.

I do recognize that this analysis is not meant to address fine details such as these, however, so this is mainly just a note rather than a critique of your analysis.

Of course you are correct.

In maybe 20 out of the 50 states, in an open race without an incumbant, the better candidate wins in the Senate.

In Utah, the Dems would have to run a very very strong candidate to beat a proverbial GOP "ham sandwich"

In Massechusetts, if the Dems run something short of the village idiot, they will usually prevail.

But in Pennsylvania or Ohio or Florida, in an open race the better candidate, regardless of party, will usually prevail. - I am just saying that at the margins, the GOP has an advantage in the senate right now, and that over time and many races, even a small advantage adds up. 

The Casino's in Vegas have a "edge" of under 2% at the Blackjack tables, a 2% that seems to add up rather nicely over time.
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The Vorlon
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« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2005, 05:06:09 pm »

It is important to remember that the Democrats ran John Kerry, who could not get elected to anything in the South. States like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida will vote for a moderate Democrat, it's not shocking. Also, the Democrats have won open seats in the last 8 years in many states that currently trend GOP.

List of Open seats/Pickups won by the Dems in the last 8 years.... ??

It's a fairly short list actually...

Cantwell in Washington
Stabenow in Michigan
Kohl in Wisconsin
Carnahan in Missouri
Schumer in New York


I am sure I am missing more than a few... help me out here....but the list is shortish...




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J. J.
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2005, 05:06:26 pm »

This could be a natural 'drift' from a previous re-alignment. I'm very big on the V. O. Key theory that re-alignment is basically a 4-8 year affair. 1978-84 was the last real realignment.
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2005, 05:12:30 pm »
« Edited: January 13, 2005, 05:20:35 pm by jfern »

It is important to remember that the Democrats ran John Kerry, who could not get elected to anything in the South. States like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida will vote for a moderate Democrat, it's not shocking. Also, the Democrats have won open seats in the last 8 years in many states that currently trend GOP.

List of Open seats/Pickups won by the Dems in the last 8 years.... ??

It's a fairly short list actually...

Cantwell in Washington
Stabenow in Michigan
Kohl in Wisconsin
Carnahan in Missouri
Schumer in New York


I am sure I am missing more than a few... help me out here....but the list is shortish...






55 R / 45 D

1998:
Schumer in New York
Lost Illinois

55 R / 45 D

1999:
Pick up of Georgia by death

54 R / 46 D

2000:
Cantwell in Washington
Stabenow in Michigan
Carnahan in Missouri
Carper in Deleware
Nelson in Florida
Dayton in Minnesota
Lost Virginia, Nevada

50 R / 50 D

2001:
Jeffords switch
50 D / 49 R / 1 I

2002:
Pryor in Arkansas
Lost Minnesota (by death), Missouri, Georgia

51 R / 48 D / 1 I

2004
Salzaar in Colorado
Obama in Illinois
Lost NC, SC, FL, GA, LA, SD

55 R / 44 D / 1 I
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2005, 05:26:14 pm »

It is important to remember that the Democrats ran John Kerry, who could not get elected to anything in the South. States like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida will vote for a moderate Democrat, it's not shocking. Also, the Democrats have won open seats in the last 8 years in many states that currently trend GOP.

List of Open seats/Pickups won by the Dems in the last 8 years.... ??

It's a fairly short list actually...

Cantwell in Washington
Stabenow in Michigan
Kohl in Wisconsin
Carnahan in Missouri
Schumer in New York


I am sure I am missing more than a few... help me out here....but the list is shortish...






Nelson in Florida
Pryor in Arkansas
Salazar in Colorado

All GOP states
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2005, 06:44:41 pm »

Applying your analysis to the 1972 election, we have 98 "natural" Republicans. The 1984 election gives us 97 "natural" Republicans.



You are not accounting, as I carefully and clearly do, for the power of incumbancy. Maine, for example, is leaning towards being a "natural" Democratic state, yet they have 2 GOP senators in Collins and Snowe.

North Dakota is a solid GOP state presidentially, yet Conrad and Dorgan are fairly safe Dems.

The "natural" rule really only applies to open seats, and given the extended careers and 6 years election cycles, the number of open seats is fairly limited. The incumbant, regardless of party and state, usually wins in the Senate. Other than Daschle, I think all the incumbants won in 2004 in the senate if I am not mistaken. -

The Senate, more than any other body, has a vast power of incumbancy, it is very unlikely the Senate will every get all that close to it's "natural" breakout for that reason.

Iowa, for example is very very close at the presidential level. But both Harkin (D) and Grassley (R) are basically bomb proof in their seats. It is difficult to project a scenario short of some truly shocking scandal, where Harkin gets defeated for example.

By contrast, Chaffee in Rhode island is a matter of "when" the seat goes Democratic, not "if". With the exception of an entrenched incumbant, or a truly major scandal, or a very large mismatch between the quality of the Candidates, the Dems should get both seats in Rhode Island.

Similarly, a "generic" GOP candidate will usually beat a "generic" DEm in North Dakota.

The 'safety' that Democrats like Conrad have historically enjoyed has been the conjunction of several interlocking factors:

First, the Democrats have controlled either the Presidency or at least one of the Houses of Congress from 1955 = 2003.  Hence, they had the ability to deliver the pork for their constitutents.

Second, until the rise of the 'new' media, most voters in the states involved were largely ignorant of the actions of their Senators/Congressmen (except for highly publicized pork projects).

Third, historically challengers in these jurisdictions have been starved of adequate funding to contest the elections.  The money bags in these areas tend to be only interested in tax breaks/subsidies for their interests, and not in other issues.  Recently the GOP has developed the ability to provide adequate seed money for candidates without reliance on local money bags.

Fourth, the Republicans have developed a 'turnout' system which is especially critical in off (Presidential) year elections.  The Democrats have been relying on the likes of Soros, who can deliver in big city states, but is not effective in rural/small town states.

That being said, I think the GOP may 'blow it' by failing to take effective action on immigration.  People do NOT want to have illegals 'legalized,' they want illegal immigration stopped, and illegals expelled (even Hillary Clinton understands this).
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The Vorlon
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2005, 07:52:19 pm »
« Edited: January 13, 2005, 07:56:54 pm by The Vorlon »

Ok - Let's use your list, I think I basically proves my points...

1998:

Schumer in New York => A Pretty Good Dem beat a Strong GOP (Mr Alfonse D) => New York is a Natural Dem State.

Lost Illinois => A fluke - Mosley Braun was, well, less than a great candidate... to put it mildly... Mosley Braun versus Alan Keyes! - Now that would be a race!

55 R / 45 D

1999:
Pick up of Georgia by death

54 R / 46 D

2000:

Cantwell in Washington => Washington swing to lean dem state, no surprise, a Multi-Millionair in a dem leaning state beats a tired old GOP candidate... not a shock...

Stabenow in Michigan => Michigan swing to lean dem state, versus average Incumbant (Abraham) Mild surprise...

Carnahan in Missouri => A deadman (Carnahan versus a far right lightning rod in Ashcroft) Not a shocker by any means, the race was very close, and some activities in St. Louis were... interesting...

Carper in Deleware => Deleware swing to lean dem state, no surprise, I miss Toby Roth, he represented the very best of the GOP. Sad

Nelson in Florida => A close state where Nelson was a stronger candidate than McCollum

Dayton in Minnesota (Rod Gramms - Right wingnut candidate in a moderate to liberal state)

Lost Virginia, Nevada

50 R / 50 D

2001:
Jeffords switch
50 D / 49 R / 1 I

2002:
Pryor in Arkansas (Scandal plagued GOP candidate)
Lost Minnesota (by death - Race was very close prior to Death BTW),

Missouri (A close one, GOP had a B+ candidate too)
Georgia (Natural GOP State)

51 R / 48 D / 1 I

2004
Salzaar in Colorado (Salazar was ther better candidate than Coors in a close state)

Obama in Illinois (Great Candidate versus nutjob in a Dem state => blowout)

Lost NC (Fairly equal candidates => GOP victory)

SC (Base GOP state - A marginal (at best) GOP candidate wings by 10+)

FL (A marginally better Dem candidate barely lost in a marginally GOP state)

GA (One Republican replaced another)

LA, (First GOP Senator in a zillion years)

SD (A Dem in SD senate is an anomaly)

55 R / 44 D / 1 I
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2005, 09:38:25 pm »

Excuse me.

Zeller Miller was a conservative Democrat, who was replaced by a conservative Republican.
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« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2005, 09:41:58 pm »

Excuse me.

Zeller Miller was a conservative Democrat, who was replaced by a conservative Republican.

Johnny Isakson is actually probably more liberal on social issues, but not so much on economic issues.
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« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2005, 10:53:49 pm »

Also, John Edwards picked up a Senate seat from Lauch Faircloth in N.C. in 1998.
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The Vorlon
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« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2005, 12:02:53 am »

Excuse me.

Zeller Miller was a conservative Democrat, who was replaced by a conservative Republican.

Oh right... Zell is a Democrat... I forgot... Smiley

Next thing you know you'll be telling me Spector is a Republican...
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The Vorlon
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« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2005, 12:04:05 am »

Also, John Edwards picked up a Senate seat from Lauch Faircloth in N.C. in 1998.

Good point.  I had fotgottern about old Lauch, last Senator to give Jesse Helms a run for being the most conservative senator...
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« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2005, 01:27:25 am »

It is important to remember that the Democrats ran John Kerry, who could not get elected to anything in the South. States like Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida will vote for a moderate Democrat, it's not shocking. Also, the Democrats have won open seats in the last 8 years in many states that currently trend GOP.

List of Open seats/Pickups won by the Dems in the last 8 years.... ??

It's a fairly short list actually...

Cantwell in Washington
Stabenow in Michigan
Kohl in Wisconsin
Carnahan in Missouri
Schumer in New York


I am sure I am missing more than a few... help me out here....but the list is shortish...


Clinton in New York
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