Politics & Policy

Winners and Losers

Predicting tonight.

We asked election experts and poll watchers for their best guesstimates as to who pulls it off, who doesn’t, and how the likes of MSNBC and the New York Times may try to explain it all away. Enjoy. But only if you vote!

Gary Andres

Today’s election results will represent a historic repudiation of President Obama and his allies in Congress. Never in recent history have the American people swung so quickly and boldly against a president and his party. Obama’s highly partisan, big-government, “Washington knows best” approach has been rejected, and the voting today will prove it.

America wants a presidential “midterm correction.” And since Obama would not change course, voters will do it for him.

Here’s what I expect. In the House, Republicans will gain 55 net seats. In the Senate, Republicans will pick up nine Democratic seats (Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Washington, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Illinois, and Colorado) and lose none.

The Democrats’ losing Washington State will be one of the big surprises of the night.

Here’s one more big (potential) surprise. If the GOP gains nine seats, the Senate could be evenly divided in January. But Senator Joe Lieberman may decide to caucus with the Republicans, giving them the 51st vote to organize the Senate. Probably won’t happen, but it is fun to think about.

The New York Times and MSNBC will quickly haul out two bogus explanations:

1. Obama failed to communicate.

2. Angry, reactionary Tea Party voters account for Republican gains.

Both are wrong. Here is the reality. Obama’s governing style and policy substance were at odds with both his campaign promises and the preferences of the center-right country he leads. He needs to admit that to save his presidency.

One final cautionary note to Republicans: Stay humble in victory. For many of the independent voters who swung your way, today’s win was more a reaction against Obama and the Democrats than an embrace of your policies.

And with Obama still in the White House for the next two years, add a new category to your definition of victory — stopping him from doing more damage. That may be the best you can do. Make sure voters understand that.

– Gary Andres is vice president of public policy and research at Dutko Worldwide.

Michael Graham

Predicting even a single GOP win in Massachusetts is risky. And yet, I’m predicting two. Massachusetts, which hasn’t had a GOP congressman since Bill Clinton’s first term, will send two to Washington. Unfortunately, I don’t know which two. On the ground, it looks like Sean Beilat really has caught the Scott Brown magic, but the more realistic choices are Jeff Perry in the open 10th seat and Jon Golnik over Nikki Tsongas. Or it could be Tea Party–backed Marty Lamb’s underfunded insurgent campaign against “Friend of Fidel” Jim McGovern.

Does it sound like I’m wimping out? I am.

But I will boldly predict that Baker will win and return the governorship to its rightful place: the hands of a liberal Massachusetts Republican. Furthermore, I’ll predict a sweep in the swing state of New Hampshire — U.S. Senate and both congressional seats. And Patrick Kennedy will become the second son of Camelot this year to be replaced in Washington by a Republican when John Loughlin wins RI-1.

You want bold? How about my fellow tea partiers Miller, Angle, and Rubio all headed to the U.S. Senate? Or congressional lifer John Spratt losing in my home state of South Carolina?

Or Carl Paladino and Christine O’Donnell walking hand in hand . . . wait!

My meds just kicked in. I’m OK now.

As for the media coverage, I expect to see the word “tantrum” a lot. Also, I predict that before the polls close in Indiana, someone on MSNBC will be arguing that Democrats lost for not being bold enough, not going far enough, and not being as liberal as the American people wanted.

That person stopped taking his meds a long time ago.

– Michael Graham hosts a radio talk show.

Steven F. Hayward

At the American Political Science Association’s annual meeting in D.C. over Labor Day, I predicted a 60-seat GOP pickup in the House, mostly as a way of baiting folks into giving the extreme optimistic case for 60 or more (only a few takers), but mostly expecting — and receiving — the rationales for a more conservative prediction. Well, if the last generic poll numbers are correct, 60 seats looks like a floor. I guess I’ll go with Henry Olsen on 64 seats, but am very tempted to offer 70. And if the GOP really does net 70 House seats, then they’ll probably take the Senate, too.

The biggest upset of the night will be Tom Tancredo’s winning the Colorado governor’s race. The biggest disappointment of the night — though not unexpected — will be Jerry Brown’s returning to the governor’s office in California. This will not only demonstrate the declining marginal utility of huge campaign spending, but will also be one more refutation of the view that the public wants more senior business executives in political office. (Doubly true if Fiorina loses the Senate race.) But here’s my most fun prediction: If Brown wins, and if Obama’s popularity continues to decline, Brown will run against Obama in 2012. It’s his kind of thing. He wouldn’t care if he started a war between his supporters and the Democratic party’s crucial minority constituency groups.

Over the last couple weeks, the liberal narrative has begun to coalesce: The GOP was due for a big night, with at least 40 to 45 seats due to come back to them for all the usual reasons of the economy, the GOP’s underperforming in 2006 and 2008, and so forth. Thus, a 55- or even 60-seat gain is really nothing special. “Don’t over-interpret the election results,” say Arianna and her chorus. I hope the liberals do indeed comfort themselves with this line, which reminds me of Tip O’Neill’s remark in 1980 that the election was not an affirmation of Reagan’s conservatism, but merely a rejection of the incompetent Jimmy Carter. There was some truth to that, of course, but in thinking they could go on with liberalism as usual, Democrats were in retreat for much of the 1980s. Not until Bill Clinton and the DLC pulled the party to the right was it able to win the White House again. Will a new DLC rise out of the ruins of today?

– Steven F. Hayward is the F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Andrew Langer

Net gain for the GOP of 62 seats in the House, ten seats in the Senate, and 16 state legislatures. I don’t make specific predictions on races, because I have the record of being a jinx.

However, I will make one bold prediction. In addition to the other major leadership defeats for the Democrats, Charles Lollar will stunningly defeat Steny Hoyer in Maryland, because of strong African-American crossover in Prince George’s County.

New York Times headline for Wednesday morning:“Republican Tidal Wave Averted: GOP Falls Far Short of 100 Predicted Seats”

– Andrew Langer is president of the Institute for Liberty.

Kathryn Jean Lopez

Republicans win 80 pickups in the House.

Republicans pick up nine Senate seats.

Boxer goes, Murray goes, Feingold goes.

I think Frank goes. I think Kucinich goes.

Wow.

Possible MSNBC & Co. spins: 1) The Tea Party didn’t really win, because John Boehner has been in Congress for 18 years (never mind that he’s been sounding like the Tea Party since last winter and has a record that fits their mood). 2) The Politico’s “everyone on the right smells Sarah Palin’s political blood” storyline. 3) Karl Rove bought the election after writing George Bush’s book. 4) Rush Limbaugh orchestrated this all.

These spins will all be wrong.

New York Times headline: “Republican Women Win, Women Hurt the Most.”

– Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

John J. Miller

1. Republicans will win control of the House, picking up 56 seats. They’ll gain eight Senate seats, with D-to-R victories in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Conservative favorite Marco Rubio will prevail in Florida. So will Joe Miller in Alaska, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Rob Portman in Ohio. Republicans Carly Fiorina of California, Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, John Raese of West Virginia, and Dino Rossi of Washington will come up short.

2. The biggest surprise of the night will take place on ESPN2, as Arkansas State avenges last year’s loss by beating Middle Tennessee.

3. MSNBC will devote at least one segment of its Election Night coverage to allegations of voter fraud.

– John J. Miller is national correspondent for National Review and the author of The First Assassin.

Ed Morrissey

I believe this will be a huge victory for Republicans. They will pick up 65 House seats and nine Senate seats, and Tom Emmer will score an upset in the Minnesota gubernatorial race over Mark Dayton. The national wave will create a bounty of surprises, but look especially for a Dino Rossi victory in Washington and the defeat of Jim Oberstar in what has been a safe Democratic district since 1947 in Minnesota. The New York Times will attempt to spin the depth of the loss with a headline like, “GOP gains less than expected — Democrats breathe sigh of relief.” Expect at least one MSNBC host to blame voter intimidation for the bad results.

– Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com.

Dana Perino

House pick-ups: 53; Senate pick-ups: nine. Barney Frank loses to Sean Bielat. And Carly Fiorina wins over Barbara Boxer.

MSNBC: DARK DAYS AHEAD

– Dana Perino is former White House press secretary for Pres. George W. Bush.

John J. Pitney Jr.

Republicans net 60 seats in the House, nine in the Senate. Longshot pick for the night: Fiorina edges out Boxer in California. Whatever else happens, however, it’s a dead-bang certainty that Democrats will be much stronger in the Senate than in the House. They will either have a narrow majority or a minority large enough to sustain filibusters and presidential vetoes.

Over the past few years, academics have criticized the Senate’s “un-democratic” character, attacking the filibuster and even bemoaning the body’s very existence. So here’s the safest prediction of all: As the academics realize that the Senate provides opportunities for fighting the Republican agenda, the institution will suddenly regain their favor.

– John J. Pitney Jr. is Roy P. Crocker Professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College.

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