IMMEDIATE RELEASE 22 October 2020WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932The Great Blue WaveBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift WASHINGTON – Democrats may be cruising to power on a Great Blue Wave. White House. Former Vice President Joe Biden looks unstoppable. But he will need a Senate majority (the House turned solidly Democratic in the 2018 midterm elections) if he hopes to get an agenda of consequence turned into law. Republicans currently control the Senate 53 to 47. So, Democrats need to gain three seats if Biden is elected president because the vice president breaks ties. The actual number is four seats because Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is expected to lose to Republican Tommy Tuberville, former University of Alabama head football coach in a state where football is revered. The two most vulnerable Republicans are Senator Cory Gardner in Colorado and Senator Martha McSally in Arizona. Democrats are leading in both races with quality candidates: former Governor John Hickenlooper in Colorado, and former astronaut Mark Kelly, in Arizona. Kelly is married to Gabby Giffords, former member of Congress from Arizona who is now a gun safety advocate after being grievously wounded in a 2011 mass shooting. The next two most vulnerable Republicans are Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Collins is running for a fifth term in the most challenging environment she has ever faced. Her once prized independence as a pro-choice Republican has been compromised, and women, who were once the core of her support, no longer trust her to protect their reproductive rights. Collins said she will vote against confirming Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court on procedural grounds because it is too close to the election. It is a vote that will cost her with Trump voters but is unlikely to repair the damage done by her vote to confirm conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The North Carolina Senate race is perhaps the most problematic. Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham had a small but steady lead over freshman Thom Tillis when “sexting” messages between Cunningham, who is married with two teenage children, and a California woman were leaked. Democrats braced for the worst, but the polls did not substantially change. One voter when interviewed said the news might affect how he feels about Cunningham, but by the time it sank in, he had already voted. Early voting began in North Carolina on October 15th. However, the headline of an opinion piece in The Washington Post comes closer to reality: “Cal Cunningham was caught in a sex scandal. He’ll probably become a senator anyway.” Voters understand this is a big election about big things, and marital infidelity is not one of them. Now it gets interesting. A great wave lifts all boats, and if Biden runs up the score nationally – say in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Iowa, and Arizona that all went for Trump in 2016 – more seats come into contention that were once thought out of reach. Trump won Iowa by nine percentage points in 2016, but polls show Biden in a statistical tie there. Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a crowd-pleaser when she was first elected six years ago, took a big hit after repeatedly touting her farm roots she could not come up with the price of soybeans in a recent debate – hardly a resonating issue elsewhere, but in Iowa, her Democratic challenger, Theresa Greenfield, surged after acing a question about the price of a bushel of corn. True, the race will turn on more than beans and bushels, but you get the drift. Republicans are on the defensive everywhere over Trump’s poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and GOP inaction on health care and economic relief in these troubled times. Even races in states once thought out of the question for Democrats suddenly seem competitive, notably in Georgia and maybe even in Texas if the Great Blue Wave materializes. Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency. Twitter: @douglas_cohn © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc. Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND