New York: Republicans are upbeat about their chances of holding on to their (razor thin) Senate majority in the US midterm elections after the Brett Kavanaugh firestorm and are pointing to internal polling that proves the acrimonius battle for the Supreme Court pick has only boosted the party’s chances in the short term and made the elections something more than just about Donald Trump - which is a big deal. "Our base is on fire", claims Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
The late surge in Republican enthusiasm changes the political balance that was tilting toward Democrats throughout the summer. Though Democrats still maintain an advantage in competitive House races, the past two weeks appear to have shifted momentum in the fight for the Senate majority back to the party of Trump.
The Kavanaugh nomination fight has left many Americans feeling emotionally beaten up and also raised the stakes for the coming November 6 election which decides control of US Congress - the nation’s legislative branch. With the partisan divide becoming more glaring on every issue with each passing election, Republicans feel their voters now increasinly view Democrats as opportunists who wanted to milk the Christine Blasey Ford testimony - especially after the way they whined despite the FBI probe finding no corroborating evidence of Ford's claims against Kavanaugh from their high school years more than three decades ago.
Latest polling is pointing to Democrats having a 3 in 4 chance of taking the House while Republicans are forecast to lose seats. If this sounds quite familiar by now, the Senate race is showing a sharp contrast - Trump's party has a 7 in 9 chance of taking the Senate and this late surge has gained on the Kavanaugh controversy.
Midterm elections usually go badly for a sitting US president’s party but here too, Trump is a wildcard and the first signs are polls showing Republican strength in the Senate forecasts. In most midterms, the Senate and the House swing in the same direction. If the Senate and House go in opposite directions, it’s rare and will prove a bump from the Trump-Kavanaugh combo.
Low approval ratings for the President usually end up with bad results in the House - where all 435 seats are up for election. A really bad outcome looks less likely for the Republicans now - one where they lose 50 or more House seats and also come close to losing or lose the Senate.
The outpouring of opinion on the political after effetcs of the Kavanaugh nomination circus continue unabated in the US media. Democrats are being blamed for their posturing which has left victims feeling that speaking out about abuse may be futile. Instead, Republicans like Susan Collins are being appluaded for being able to say with some clarity and courage that Ford’s claims of assault did not go the distance because they were not corroborated by a probe.
After the dust had settled and Kavanaugh was confirmed, McConnell said it as plainly as he could: “There is nothing that unifies all stripes of Republicans more than a court fight. They stupidly handed us the best issue they possibly could going into the fall election. And it totally underscores the importance of keeping a Republican Senate”.
Absent a new controversy in the next 30 days, that’s the direction in which the Senate race appears to be moving: Right.
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Updated Date: Oct 09, 2018 01:00:47 IST