Part of me is reluctant to flag the coverage of publications I routinely criticize, particularly when their electoral politics coverage can be so egregious. But I do so here with Axios because it’s an example that even the insider sheets in DC are starting to take notice of the fact that Democrats holding the Senate or even possibly expanding their Senate majority is not some partisan pipe dream. It’s a very real possibility.
Some of this is abortion politics and to a much lesser extent firearms politics. But a big, big part of the equation is that Donald Trump was able to more or less singlehandedly pick the nominees in a number of critical states and shape the choices in a number of others. There’s simply no way absent Donald Trump’s intervention that Mehmet Oz or Herschel Walker would be the nominees in Pennsylvania and Georgia. They are both uniquely bad candidates. They might slip through in a wave election. But they’re giving Democrats big, big opportunities. Tim Ryan is at least making a fight of it in Ohio, though that’s a very steep climb. Blake Masters in Arizona and possibly even disgraced former Governor Eric Greitens in Missouri could extend this pattern. Given recent trends, Missouri shouldn’t even be in contention this year. But Greitens’ mix of campaign ad snuff films and rep for sexual violence could put it there.
It won’t be easy to hold the Senate and it certainly won’t be easy to expand the Democratic majority. But both are looking more plausible to me than they did even seven or eight weeks ago.
With all this possibly positive news, some might say, why all the focus on the Senate? If the goal is to pass a Roe law in January 2023, holding the House is likely the biggest challenge. That’s quite possibly true. But paradoxically those Senate pledges are as important for holding the House as they are for the Senate. It’s the surety of a pledge of 48 senators to tackle Roe and the filibuster if Dems hold the House and add two Senate seats that puts a clear post-election Roe bill outcome on the table in House elections around the country.