Despite the leftist onslaught of doom and despair, it's encouraging to see that even left-leaning Pew…
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Stat of the Day: Americans Lead Developed World in Economic Optimism

Despite the leftist onslaught of doom and despair, it's encouraging to see that even left-leaning Pew Research data shows Americans leading the developed world in terms of economic optimism, with the highest percentage of people saying that they expect improvement over the next year.  In fact, we're the only nation with a majority reporting optimism:



[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="448"] U.S. Leads World in Economic Optimism[/caption]


September 11, 2020 • 12:11 PM

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Will the 2014 Election Yield a Republican Senate (Part 2)? Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, March 27 2014
There’s still a long way to go before election night, but, if broad trends hold, it’s likely that we’ll spend coming months discussing how deep Democratic losses will be, not whether they’re going to occur.

Last week, this column looked at the GOP’s prospects in the Senate races being held around the country this November. As we saw, the GOP is in a strong position to make serious inroads in the upper chamber. This week, we’ll pick up where we left off, with a consideration of the rest of the races not analyzed in last week’s piece.

Nebraska: Nebraska is relatively safe Republican territory, which is a good thing for the GOP given that freshman Republican Mike Johanns is retiring. It’s unusual for a senator to step down after only one term, but this was something of a valedictory for Johanns, who had previously served as Mayor of Lincoln, Governor of Nebraska and Secretary of Agriculture under George W. Bush.

In the race to replace Johanns, the smart money is already on conservative Ben Sasse, the president of Midland University and a former official in the Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services departments in the Bush Administration. Sasse has earned glowing coverage from the Weekly Standard and appeared on the cover of National Review. Look for him to be deemed a rising star as soon as the next Congress convenes.

New Hampshire: The Granite State has always been a little different from its counterparts in deep blue New England. With its “Live Free or Die Motto”, it’s lack of income or sales taxes and a refusal to even adopt helmet or seat-belt laws (seat belts are required for minors, however), this has always been a state with a strong libertarian streak. It is, however, relatively liberal on social matters, which allows Democrats to remain very competitive.

The incumbent here is freshman Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, the state’s former governor. Shaheen was, until recently, regarded as relatively safe if Republicans didn’t produce a serious candidate. She’s in danger, however, now that former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown — long a part-time vacationer in New Hampshire and now a full-fledged resident — is gearing up for a challenge. It remains to be seen whether Brown will be hurt by accusations of being a carpetbagger, but this race has suddenly become competitive for Republicans.

New Jersey: Cory Booker, the popular former Democratic Mayor of Newark who won the special election to succeed the deceased Senator Frank Lautenberg in October, should expect to win reelection handily in the liberal Garden State.

New Mexico: On paper, there’s no reason that freshman Democrat Tom Udall should expect an easy victory in New Mexico, a state with a Republican governor and a tendency to be competitive in statewide elections. The GOP, however, doesn’t yet seem to have a competitive candidate. If that isn’t remedied before the June primary, Udall might just glide by in a race where he otherwise could be under pressure.

North Carolina: The Tar Heel State is highly competitive territory. No state gave Barack Obama a smaller margin of victory in 2008. No state gave him a smaller margin of defeat in 2012 — a year that also saw a Republican governor headed to Raleigh for the first time in nearly a quarter-century.

The incumbent in North Carolina is freshman Democrat Kay Hagan, who had two advantages when she first won her seat in 2008: (1) She was running in a Democratic wave year; (2) She was running against Elizabeth Dole, who faced widespread criticism for spending little time in the state, holing up instead at her home in Washington’s Watergate complex.

Right now, there’s a tough primary race on the Republican side, with State House Speaker Thom Tillis deemed the establishment candidate and physician Greg Brannon enjoying Tea Party support. Whoever emerges victorious will have the chance to give Hagan a close race, with polling showing her within the margin of error.

Oklahoma: Conservative Jim Inhofe — perhaps the upper chamber’s most outspoken climate change skeptic — should win an easy reelection in this reliably Republican state.

Oklahoma (special): Tom Coburn — one of the most principled conservatives in the Senate — will retire prematurely this year to fight his battle with cancer. Both of the major candidates running to succeed Coburn are Republicans, so this seat will stay safely red.

Oregon: Freshman Democrat Jeff Merkley is probably still the safe bet in Oregon, a state suffused with West Coast liberalism. If the Republican wave proves to be truly enormous, however, it’s not inconceivable that he could go down to defeat. Merkley’s predecessor in the Senate, Gordon Smith, was, after all, a moderate Republican. Neurosurgeon Monica Wehby — a moderate herself — is challenging Merkley, and hitting him especially hard on ObamaCare. This race is on the periphery of feasibility for the GOP, but it should not yet be considered a totally lost cause.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island is nothing if not consistent in its liberalism. Expect Democrat Jack Reed to cruise to a fourth term with nothing but token opposition.

South Carolina: Both of the Palmetto State’s seats are up for reelection this year. Expect Republican freshman Tim Scott — appointed to replace Jim DeMint after he resigned to assume the presidency of the Heritage Foundation — to easily win election to the remainder of DeMint’s term.

One of the biggest surprises of this year may be that Lindsey Graham — the moderate Republican for whom Tea Party challenges seem to have been invented — looks likely to escape a primary opponent who will put him under much real pressure. If that’s the case, Graham will likely earn a third term without much difficulty.

South Dakota: Republican pickups don’t come much more secure than this one. Democrat Tim Johnson — who suffered a stroke that almost cost him his life a few years ago — is stepping down. Former Governor Mike Rounds is almost certain to be the Republican nominee, and his early lead is so large that it will be shocking if Democrats can make this race competitive.

Tennessee: Incumbent Republican Lamar Alexander is no one’s idea of a rock-ribbed conservative, so it should come as no surprise that he’s drawn a Tea Party challenge from State Representative Joe Carr. Alexander appears to be dominating in the polls, however — a fairly predictable development given the Volunteer State’s penchant for moderate Republicans. Expect Alexander to scoop up a third term in November.

Texas: The Lone Star state continues to be a Republican haven. Incumbent GOP Senator Jon Cornyn has already swatted away an unserious challenge from Representative Steve Stockman, and is well-positioned to return to Congress next year.

Virginia: The Old Dominion may well be the bellwether state to watch on election night. Incumbent Democrat Mark Warner is the kind of candidate one wouldn’t expect to draw a serious challenger. The centrist, pro-business Democrat was a popular governor and his orientation seems to fit Virginia — a state that has grown purple as more liberals move into the D.C. suburbs in the north — to a tee.

That hasn’t stopped Ed Gillespie, the former RNC Chairman and Counselor to President Bush, from throwing his hat in the ring, however. Gillespie has an uphill climb ahead of him, but it’s not unimaginable that he could eke out a narrow victory if the electorate turns sharply enough against President Obama — a sort of reverse replay of the razor-thin loss suffered by Virginia Republican George Allen in the GOP’s 2006 routing. If Virginia turns red on election night, it’s a surefire sign that there’ll be a long evening ahead for Democrats.

West Virginia: The only state that rivals South Dakota as a Republican lock. West Virginia has an odd political culture. There’s no state in the union where President Obama is less popular (in 2012, a man incarcerated in Texas got 41% of the Democratic primary vote against the president)— and it has consistently voted Republican in presidential elections during this century — but statewide races usually go to conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin, the governor-cum-senator who ran for office with ads featuring him firing a rifle through the president’s cap and trade legislation.

Veteran Democrat Jay Rockefeller is retiring this year and Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito has a commanding lead in the race to replace him. Look for West Virginia to give Republicans one of their easiest pickups on election night.

Wyoming: For a while, it looked as if the nation’s least populous state might generate one of the year’s high-profile primaries, with Liz Cheney — daughter of the former Vice President — angling to knock off conservative incumbent Mike Enzi. What little contrast Cheney offered, however, was more stylistic than substantive; she pledged to be more visible than Enzi, but it was never clear that that was a priority for Wyoming voters. After a rocky rollout, Cheney quit the race, leaving Enzi primed for an easy reelection in the fall.

This analysis, combined with our previous installment, gives you a sense of the landscape less than eight months before Election Day. Much, of course, can change in that time. At present, however, there are only two states where Republicans face a serious threat of losing seats: Kentucky and Georgia. Given that both of those seats are in the Republican-friendly South — and that midterm turnout will likely favor the GOP — these aren’t the worst problems Republicans could have at this juncture.

On the other side of the ledger, the GOP has very strong odds of winning seats in North Dakota, West Virginia and Montana. In addition, they can — if they play their cards right — make serious runs at seats in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Louisiana, Arkansas and perhaps New Hampshire. At the farthest reaches of plausibility, they have shots to seriously contest (in order from most likely to least) seats in Virginia, Oregon, New Mexico and Minnesota.

It seems extremely improbable that Democrats can escape election night without at least some losses. A prudent wager, at this point, would likely point to Republicans getting right around the six seats they need to retake the Senate majority. In fact, that’s precisely what statistical guru Nate Silver recently predicted, giving Democrats throughout the country dyspepsia.

There’s still a long way to go before election night, but, if broad trends hold, it’s likely that we’ll spend coming months discussing how deep Democratic losses will be, not whether they’re going to occur.

Question of the Week   
Constitution Day is observed annually on September 17th because on that date in 1787:
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"Just three months after voting to dismantle its police department, the Minneapolis City Council complained about the city's insufficient policing at a meeting on Tuesday.According to the council members -- who in June unanimously passed a measure that would disband the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a 'department of community safety and violence prevention' -- Minneapolis residents…[more]
—Alex Nester, Washington Free Beacon
— Alex Nester, Washington Free Beacon
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Which party do you blame the most for this week's Senate failure to pass a basic coronovirus relief package?