President Trump has been able to get almost anything he wants from the House. The Senate is a different matter. We have seen the effort to repeal Obamacare fail while the Senate passed the tax bill. Although it is too early to make any predictions, I’d like to take a look at the midterm elections.
Right now all of the attention is on next week’s Alabama election. A Democrat win was once unthinkable but Roy Moore and checkered past changed that. The real question is whether President Trump gets bad news or really bad news. Someone as self-righteous as Moore will be less of a team player than Ted Cruz. A Democrat taking the seat is even worse.
The odds look pretty good for the GOP next year. They have only eight seats to defend compared to twenty-five for the Democrats. They only have two seats at risk. Nevada first term senator Dean Heller is trying to win reelection in a state Hillary Clinton won. The other is the Arizona seat being vacated by Jeff Flake.
Meanwhile the Democrats must defend ten seats in states that Trump won. Michigan and Pennsylvania seem safe. The real question in Florida is whether Governor Rick Scott will enter the race. If not, incumbent Bill Nelson should win. The GOP lost Indiana last time by selecting a weak candidate. They could take the seat back if they choose the right person.
Missouri’s Claire McCaskill is in for the political fight of her life. Democrats are likely to keep their seat in Montana and stand a better than 50% chance in North Dakota. Right now Ohio seems fairly safe. Republicans are gunning for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. It should be a tight race. Finally, Democrats should be able to keep Wisconsin.
Democrats will need a miracle to take the Senate. The most likely outcome is the GOP getting two or three seats, far short of a filibuster-proof Senate.
Needless to say, a lot can happen in the next eleven months. Please stay tuned.