Monday, November 06, 2006

Novak's final thoughts before election day... (updated)

Evans-Novak Political ReportRobert Novak is usually on the political ball...
Democrats are set to gain 19 House seats, two Senate seats, and five governorships in tomorrow's elections. It is a sign of Republicans' sorry state that, at this point, this is actually a very favorable outlook for them.

In the last day of the midterm election campaign, we offer a final run-down of how candidates are doing in each contested district or state. We aim to give a complete forecast on tomorrow's competitive election contests in this final-hour newsletter, which will be followed up by a post-election analysis on Wednesday.

Expectations Game: At this point, there will be no new polls, no major news events capable of significantly disrupting the election cycle.

We know one thing for sure: Republicans are going to lose ground in both houses of Congress. The White House presents, as its rosiest scenario, a loss of 12 House seats. This is not entirely impossible, but it is too optimistic for the realistic observer.

If Democrats fail, it will set off an even worse intra-party bloodbath than came after the 2000 and 2004 elections.

If Democrats succeed, it will be for two reasons:

  1. The first is an arrogant and politically tin-eared Republican establishment in Washington. In the handling of key issues such as the occupation of Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and a meaningful follow-through on Social Security reform, the White House displayed incompetence.

    Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Republicans encouraged practices (such as earmarking in the appropriations process) that let corruption run free. When scandal hit, they handled it badly, particularly in the most recent case of disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.). They also went to great lengths to alienate their base on the issue of immigration reform, and they created an issue for Democrats in the form of embryonic stem-cell research. Recall that federal funding for embryonic research received a vote on the House floor only when the House Republican leadership made a deal with moderates in order to pass their budget in 2005.

  2. Last, but not least, comes the brilliant candidate recruiting and fundraising on the part of two men – Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). And should it occur, Democratic victory will come in spite of the total incompetence of Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean.
Political junkies need to read it all. Also, sign up for the Evans-Novak report if you haven't already.

Update: Ten stories to follow tomorrow...
THE BIG QUESTION in tomorrow's election is whether Democrats capture the Senate, the House, or both. But there are other contests and issues at stake that have gotten little press attention but are nonetheless important (or at least interesting). Some of these are actually eye-catching or may have implications for future elections. Here are 10 of these significant but not quite media-centric matters:
Read here.

Update #2: Along with the American Spectator, I'm trying to be realistically optimistic:
When Congress convenes in January of 2007, Republicans will be elected both as Speaker of the House and as Senate Majority Leader.

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