Dems will lose midterms – independents, enthusiasm, unemployment, and deficit
Mark Halperin, 7/19/10 – Senior Political analyst (July 19, “Dems Start to Panic As Midterm Reality Sets In”, http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,2004646,00.html),
Under pressure, the Democrats are cracking. On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, there is a realization that Nancy Pelosi's hold on the speakership is in true jeopardy; that losing control of the Senate is not out of the question; and that time, once the Democrats' best friend, is now their mortal enemy. Since January, when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat, the President's party has tried to downplay in public what its pollsters have been saying in private: that Obama's alienation of independents and white voters, along with the enthusiasm gap between the right and the left, means that Republicans are on a trajectory to pick up massive numbers of House and Senate seats, perhaps even to regain control of Congress. Evidence of the pervasiveness of this view: Sunday's New York Times op-ed page, which featured a series of short essays from leading Democratic and Republican strategists about how Obama could go about staging a political comeback, focused not on November's midterms but on 2012 — an indication that Washington conventional wisdom has already written off prospects of Democrats sustaining a majority in the legislature. What has kept the easily panicked denizens of Capitol Hill from open revolt until now was a shared confidence that there was still plenty of time to turn things around, and that the White House had a strategy to do just that. The two-part scheme was pretty straightforward. First, Democrats planned a number of steps to head off, or at least soften, the anti-Washington, anti-incumbent, anti-Obama sentiment that cost them the Massachusetts seat. Pass health care, and other measures to demonstrate that Democrats could get things done for the middle class; continue to foster those fabled green shoots on the economy, harvesting the positive impact of the massive economic stimulus bill passed early in the Administration; heighten the contrast between the two parties by delivering on Wall Street reform and a campaign-funding law to counteract January's controversial Supreme Court decision. Use all of those elements to contrast the Democrats' policies under Obama with the Republicans' policies under Bush, rather than allow the midterms to be a referendum on the incumbent party. The second strand of the Democrats' plan was more prosaic and mechanical. Recruit strong candidates for open seats. Leverage the White House and congressional majorities to raise more money than the other side. Make mischief by playing up the divisions between the Tea Party and the more traditional elements of the Republican Party, in part to increase the chances that more extreme, less electable candidates edge out moderates in GOP primary battles. Do extensive opposition research and targeted messaging in the fall to delegitimize Republican candidates in the minds of centrist voters. Coordinate below the radar with labor unions, environmentalists and other allies on get-out-the-vote efforts, focusing on young, nonwhite and first-time voters who came out for Obama in 2008. Robert Gibbs' now-famous acknowledgement on Meet the Press on July 11 that Republicans were in a position to win back control of the House sparked a notable outbreak of hostility between the White House and congressional Democrats for two reasons. First, it forced Pelosi & Co. to recognize that the first part of their plan is failing. Public and private polling suggests that anxiety over the lack of jobs and anger over the big-spending ways of the Administration will trump the merits of the stimulus spending, health care reform and the financial regulation bill in voters' minds. Neither the economy nor voters' perceptions are likely to be turned around by Election Day. Congressional Democrats were aware of this hard reality before Gibbs opened his mouth, but having him say it out loud was apparently too much for those on the Hill to bear. Democrats also fear that Gibbs' admission will impact the flow of donations from corporate interests and lobbyists, who tend to want to bet on the party more likely to win the majority. Open musing about a speaker John Boehner, House Democrats believe, will drive mercenary donors to shift their support to the GOP. The huge fundraising hauls by GOP Senate candidates just reported for the second quarter of the year were not, of course, the result of Gibbs' statement, but the momentum suggested by those figures could be hypercharged by White House pessimism.
GOP will win Senate – only need 10 seats
Naftali Bendavid, 7/19/10 – Congress reporter for The Wall Street Journal (July 19, “GOP Sees Path to Control of Senate” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704875004575375122374132154.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLETopStories),
WASHINGTON—Democratsfor the first time are acknowledging that Republicans could retake the Senate this November if everything falls into place for the GOP, less than two years after Democrats held a daunting 60-seat majority. Leaders of both parties have believed for months that Republicans could win the House, where every lawmaker faces re-election. But a change of party control in the Senate, where only a third of the members are running and Republicans must capture 10 seats, seemed out of the question. That's no longer the case. The emergence of competitive Republican candidates in Wisconsin, Washington and California—Democratic-leaning states where polls now show tight races—bring the number of seats that Republicans could seize from the Democrats to 11. Democrats now control the Senate 59-41—after the death of Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was replaced by Republican Sen. Scott Brown—including two independents who usually vote with them. That means Republicans need 10 seats to take a 51-49 advantage. Republicans would have to win virtually every competitive race to retake the Senate, without losing any seats of their own—clearly an uphill climb. The trouble for Democrats is that many trends are against them. Surveys show that Republicans are more motivated than Democrats to go to the polls, and that voters are looking for new leadership in Congress. "I think there is definitely a chance" of losing the Senate, said Democratic strategist Gary Nordlinger, a Washington-based media consultant. "I wouldn't call it a probability, but there is certainly a chance." "Republicans still have to [win] all the competitive races in order to get to a majority, but at least there are enough seats on the table to pull it off,"said Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.