Barabak: Because the House is likely to overturn, but the Senate is child’s play

With Election Day just over five weeks away, we look at our crystal ball – which is foggier than a summer morning in San Francisco – and answer questions.

Let’s get straight to the point. Will the Republicans take control of Congress?

I have absolutely no idea.

So what’s the use?

It’s something my bosses have been asking of me for years.

Seriously. Are things so uncertain?

Yes and no

With the provision that politics, like life, is full of surprises, it seems fairly certain that Republicans will take control of the House for the first time since losing a majority in 2018, in the last mid-term elections.

Defying polls and many, er, pundits, the GOP gained 14 seats in the House in 2020 even as President Trump lost the White House. (If you still insist that the election was stolen, you may want to stop reading here and increase your membership in the Flat Earth Society.)

keep on

With that sizeable advantage, Republicans only need five seats to get the House back. The GOP is ready to win four seats thanks to the partisan draw of the congressional districts that followed the last census. So they’re almost there.

Heck, Republicans could win four seats in Florida alone, where the governor. Ron DeSantis vetoed the manual labor of the GOP-run legislature to push through a political map that is even more excellently skewed in favor of the party.

Of course, Republicans are also defending a number of seats, including many in California. But it would take something close to a miracle for the Democrats to cling to the House.

And the Senate?

This is much less clear.

The chamber is split 50-50, with Democrats enjoying nominal control thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris, who is on permanent standby to break ties. This is how President Biden managed to get much of his agenda through.

Yes, but what about the elections?

For a while, it looked like Republicans would win three or more seats in the Senate, easily regaining their lost majority in January 2021. (Two contests in Georgia went into overtime after the November 2020 election, and Democrats won both ballots. ).

But today the struggle for control seems nonsense.

A couple of uber-Trumpy candidates, Blake Masters in Arizona and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, may have removed the states that supported Biden in 2020 from the competitive category for Republicans.

Even Democrats are faring better than expected, however for now, in Republican-oriented Ohio and North Carolina.

So it all boils down to the Buckeye and Tar Heel states?

Probably not.

Control of the Senate will most likely be decided by four states: Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden brought each of those, but not by much.

In Nevada and Georgia, respectively, incumbents Catherine Cortez Masto and Raphael Warnock are defending the seats held by Democrats, while Republican Ron Johnson is seeking his third term in Wisconsin. The Pennsylvania Senate run is for an open seat held by retired Republican Patrick J. Toomey.

Wisconsin and Pennsylvania look better for the GOP than they did, as Republicans increasingly lean on the crime issue. Therefore I could get off in Nevada and Georgia.

Well, at least we’ll know one way or another on November 8, or soon after.

Not necessarily. If no candidate gets a majority in Georgia, there will be a vote in December. 6 run away. So there may be another month of campaigning before Senate scrutiny is known.

Hey. What do the polls show?

Polls suggest that most of the key Senate races are extremely close. But keep in mind that this is a very unusual mid-term election, which means any predictions should be taken with a little extra caution.

Unusual how?

There are all kinds of variables never seen before.

No one in life has ever seen anything like the January 6 insurrection. The June Supreme Court decision to revoke the right to abortion 50 years ago is also unprecedented modern and has already reshaped the political landscape by energizing Democrats. It is usually the out-of-power party in Washington that is best able to rally its supporters.

And last but not least, there is the Trump congenitally seeking attention. He has brazenly kept himself in the news like no other former president, diverting at least some of the attention from Biden ahead of the midterm, which is typically a referendum on the incumbent and his policies.

All of this has raised Democrats’ hopes that November will bring something more like a red wave than a tsunami. But there is still a long way to go.

Isn’t there a cliché that goes here?

The one about the many days that are a life in politics?

That’s all!

passes

Anything else worth noting?

There are 36 gubernatorial races. Most, however, are like California, where Democrat Gavin Newsom is preparing for re-election, meaning he’s unlikely to result in a side power shift.

Two probable exceptions are Maryland and Massachusetts, blue states that look set to switch to Democrats after Republicans nominate Trump loyalists.

The best hopes for Republican earnings appear to be in Kansas, Nevada and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, an unusual three-way contest in Oregon has raised the prospect that the Democrat-oriented state may elect an independent governor, or possibly even a Republican, for the first time in 40 years.

Much of the attention has been focused on Congress.

REAL. And that overlooks the growing importance of state races, as policies on abortion, weapons and other issues are becoming increasingly dependent on which party holds power at that level.

Significantly, there are also several states where election deniers are running for governor, including Arizona and Wisconsin – where Republicans Kari Lake and Tim Michels, respectively, could cause all sorts of problems if they win, gaining influence. during the 2024 election on those presidential battlefields.

At the same time, Trump infantrymen vying for the post of Secretary of State in several key states – including Arizona, Michigan and Nevada – where they would directly control the electoral machine in 2024, threatening further cheating and chaos in the service of the former president. lie

Alarming!

IS. We could insert here some cracks on the flat Earth, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and other fictional things that people believe in.

But this is not a joke.