Apple yesterday blew past the expectations that analysts had already put pretty high up on the board for the company, and so it will be rewarded with even more support in the market. That’s the way it works in the final stages of campaigns as well. Those candidates that have momentum build on it, and though polls might lag as much as analysts’ estimates, the candidates and their supporters feel the win coming, the opponents know they are losing, and existing separations grow larger. Sometimes there are nasty surprises, just as there are with earnings, and sometimes candidates blow past expectations set by flawed polling just as Apple did Monday. For the most part, though, two weeks out candidates know.
Thus do Republicans feel very, very good about Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Joni Ernst in Iowa and Dan Sullivan in Alaska –the three warriors-turned-Senate candidates, who along with Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia, Mike Rounds in South Dakota, and Steve Daines in Montana, give the GOP the six wins they need to control the Senate in 2015 and 2016, provided that David Perdue wins in Georgia and Pat Roberts in Kansas. Both results seem likelier every day.
Cory Gardner in Colorado increasingly looks like the locked-down, seventh insurance race against a bad result in either Georgia or Kansas, one that isn’t necessary but wonderful to have because Gardner will be a terrific senator and Mark Udall has been revealed as the “brain dead” liberal he admitted to being, if only temporarily, over the weekend.
Additional pick-ups could come in North Carolina with Thom Tillis, in Virginia with Ed Gillespie, in New Hampshire with Scott Brown, with Mike McFadden in Minnesota and with Bill Cassidy in Louisiana, with the first and the last in that list the likeliest but the other three within the real of real possibility with Brown, Gillespie and McFadden surging.
Against this backdrop two issues are dominating coverage and one is quietly impacting individual races: Ebola and ISIS are in every frame, and Obamacare is a scroll at the bottom of every voter’s unseen screen.
The GOP is rightly pushing for travel restrictions of individuals seeking to enter the country from West Africa. This isn’t a total ban, but common sense restrictions, and even as the president resists them for the simple reason that to adopt them would be to admit he was wrong yet again about a major issue, even hapless Mark Pryor in Arkansas has now called for them.
Even though there are decent arguments for appointing Ron Klain as “Ebola tsar” –primarily that he can get to the disconnected Commander-in-Chief in the Oval Office with bad news and urgent needs where a true medical professional would probably have to jog alongside his golf cart and vainly shout “We need to talk!”– the “optics” of the appointment are so bad that the public disgust will grow because Klain has not quickly surrounded himself with a high profile, experienced and respected conservative expert like Tevi Troy and a team of experts not presently on the CDC payroll. Every day that Klain doesn’t do that is a day his credibility gap with the public and even the MSM grows and stories of his past political assignments crowd out the narrative that he is a hyper-competetnt “fixer.”
The second issue is the march of ISIS across Iraq and Syria, and though the butchers have seen fit not to behead anyone for a week or so, the siege of Kobani is playing out as early voting begins, a daily reminder that President Obama lost the peace in Iraq after President Bush had won the war there. The worries over what a terrorist state and a terrorist army are planning vis-a-vis the homeland are at least in the back of the minds of many voters, and right up front for an entire group who are rightly concerned that ISIS wants to strike at Americans in America not just Christians, Yezidis and Kurds in their immediate path.
Then there is the third issue, the looming disruptions and costs of the second year of Obamacare, most of which have largely been pushed back until after the polls close by desperate Democrats but which are nevertheless sufficient in number to warn voters of what is ahead. Three data points: The biggest and cheapest insurer on the Minnesota state insurance exchange dropped out. 29,000 Coloradans had their plans cancelled recently, after more than 330,000 got thrown from their plans last year. Rate increases haven’t even been announced yet.
The fact that the rate increases have been pushed back past the elections lead many to guess that very bad news is on the way, and consumers know instinctively what is coming. “Intentionally postponed news” is the opposite of “no news is good news,” and voters get that.
Obamacare was set up to time its bad news in a way to minimize political impact, but that only works once or twice, not three times, and not, it appears. in 2014.
Thus the RealClearPolitics “averages” look better and better for the Republicans, and not just for the key Senate races, but across the House map and in key state house battles like Doug Ducey’s in Arizona and Rick Scott’s in Florida.
Watch for last minute Hail Marys from Democrats and happy talk about turn-out machines. But Democrats are already grumbling about the president’s repeated sabotaging of their efforts to run away from his sinking approval numbers and the disasters of his policies, both foreign and domestic. And the president did it again Monday, in an interview with Al Sharpton where the president declared to the “Reverend Al” that he wasn’t upset because very, very few Democrats want the president to campaign with them: “The bottom line is, though, these are are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress.”
That is the “bottom line” of the “bottom line” in all of these races. The worst president in American history has had a legion of loyal supporters in the Senate and the House, led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and a lot of candidates for statehouses like Democrat Fred DuVal in Arizona and the chameleon Charlie Christ in Florida who are as reliable as the president when it comes to promises and performance. 2014 is a referendum on the president –on his “leading from behind” abroad, on his lassitude in every crisis at home and overseas, and on his legislative centerpiece.
The GOP couldn’t have asked for anything more.