Thursday, January 10, 2019

What Are the Toss-Ups in the 2020 Election and Why?

The four most important races in the 2020 election cycle boil down into four competitive seats: Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, and Arizona. Three of those seats are held by Republican senators, while the Alabama seat is held by a Democrat. In this post, I’ll quickly run through the reasons why these seats are toss-ups so early in the cycle. 

Alabama - Sen. Doug Jones

Democrat Doug Jones pulled off an upset victory by a margin of around 1.5% against scandal-plagued Republican Roy Moore in the December 2017 special election. The election was held because former Senator Jeff Sessions was appointed Attorney General of the United States, though on November 7th he resigned from the position. Jones managed to win 92% of Hillary Clinton’s votes, while Roy Moore only received 49% of Trump’s votes. Senator Jones has voted with Trump’s position 50% of the time, making him the fourth most conservative Senator in the Senate Democratic caucus. 

Unfortunately for Jones, the 538 vote tracker would necessitate Jones to have voted with Trump at least 86.6% of the time. Though there are exceptions to a red state Democrat with a lower Trump voting score than would be expected to win his race, such as Joe Manchin or Jon Tester, the other four red-state Democrats who lost in 2018 all had lower Trump voting scores than would be expected. It should be no surprise, then, that a state that voted for Trump in 2016 by almost 28% of the vote will be an uphill climb for Democrats. Jones has a positive approval rating of +13%, but in a Presidential year like 2020, it will be very difficult for Jones to match Trump’s share of the vote. 

One possible candidate rumored to be running is former Senator Jeff Sessions, who Doug Jones replaced in the Senate. Though the GOP primary is sure to be contentious, and Trump may opt to support another more conservative politician in the mold of Roy Moore, Jeff Sessions would be in a good position to challenge Doug Jones for his old seat. 

Depending on who the candidate is, and what polling will tell us later on in the cycle, I highly expect this race to go into the “Lean Republican” column. Should a scandal-plagued candidate or very conservative candidate win the primary, it’s likely this seat will remain a toss-up. 

Arizona - Sen. Martha McSally

Martha McSally, now the incumbent Junior Senator from Arizona, was appointed to her position in late December after news that Senator Jon Kyl, who replaced McCain in the Senate, would be resigning. McCain won his seat in 2016 by a margin of around 13% - a large overperformance over Trump’s 3.5% margin. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema beat Republican Martha McSally by 2.4% in the 2018 midterms - an almost 6% swing from the 2016 Presidential results, indicating this race will be very contentious and close. 

I expect the likely Republican candidates in the primary to be similar to the 2018 primary: Martha McSally and Kelli Ward. Other high profile Arizonian Republicans, such as former Governor Fife Symington, may also run, but expect this primary to be a conflict between moderates and hardliners. 

The Democratic primary, too, will be quite contentious since Arizona is now a much closer swing state than it once was several years ago. High profile potential candidates include astronaut Mark Kelly, former Republican Attorney General Grant Woods, or Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, who unsuccessfully ran against McCain in 2016, but won Martha McSally’s house seat in 2018. 

Regardless of which candidate is chosen - barring any scandals or extreme candidates - the Arizona special election will be a tight race. 

Colorado - Sen. Cory Gardner

Colorado is the bluest state in the toss-up category, and the most vulnerable seat Republicans must defend in 2020. Clinton won this state with around 5% of the vote, while Democratic Senator Michael Bennet won his seat by 5.7% of the vote in the same year. In the 2018 gubernatorial election in Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis beat his opponent by 10.6% of the vote. Incumbent Senator Cory Gardner beat Mark Udall in 2014 by 1.9%, a very strong year for Republicans overall. Gardner has a net approval of 2%, with an overall approval rating of only 39% in his state. 

Any Democratic candidate will make this seat competitive, though Gardner will prove to be a formidable opponent and the reason why this seat is a toss-up at this point. Three Democrats have already announced their intention to run: Derrick Blanton, Lorena Garcia, and Dustin Leitzel. Though none of them have held elected office in the past. Possible candidates include John Hickenlooper, the former Governor of Colorado, as well as other high profile Democratic politicians. 

North Carolina - Sen. Thom Tillis 

Republican Thom Tillis beat Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan by a narrow 1.5% in 2014, and he’s up for reelection once again. President Trump also won the state in 2016 by a margin of 3.6%, slightly higher than Romney’s 2.2% win in 2012. In the same year Trump carried the state, Senator Richard Burr won reelection with 5.7% of the vote, while Governor Pat McCrory lost to Roy Cooper by a very narrow .2%. Though North Carolina is a definite swing state, as these results indicate, it also skews slightly towards the Republicans’ favor. 

Incumbent Thom Tillis has voted with Trump 95% of the time, much higher than what would be expected based on Trump’s slim victory in the state. Though the incumbency advantage is on Tillis’s side, his re-election will be a challenge against any decent to strong Democratic candidate who wins the primary. The 2020 election, too, will be a deciding factor in this race - should Trump lose the state, I believe Tillis would as well, and vice-versa. 

The Bottom Line 

Democrats need to win three seats and the Presidency or four seats while losing the Presidency to retake the Senate in November 2020. Control of the Senate means control over Presidential cabinet and judicial appointments, including the Supreme Court. The stakes are high for Democrats, especially considering they are defending one toss-up in a very conservative state (Alabama), while going on the offense in Colorado, North Carolina, and Arizona. The best pick-up opportunity for the Democrats is Colorado, while the results in Arizona and North Carolina will largely ride on the coattails of the Presidential election. 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Looking Ahead: The 2020 Senate Election

With the 2018 Midterms concluded, and the final outcomes of a Democratic House and Republican Senate confirmed, it’s time to start looking at the 2020 Senate map. 

The first, and most important facet to note about the senate map, is the geographic makeup of the incumbents. As opposed to the 2018 Senate Map, Democrats must  defend only 12 Senate seats, instead of the 22 seats they defended in the midterms. Republicans, on the other hand, will now be defending 22 seats as opposed to the eight seats they had to defend in the midterms. With that said, Democrats had to defend 10 seats in 2018 in states won by President Trump in 2016, but now have to defend only Alabama, which Democrat Doug Jones won in the December 2017 Special Election. Republicans must defend the Nevada Senate seat in 2018, won by Clinton in 2016, and ended up losing this seat. In 2020, Republicans will be forced to defend two Clinton-won Senate seats: Colorado and Maine. Though the battlelines are more evenly divided in this cycle, Republicans still have the benefit of defending 20 other seats Trump won, making the Democrats’ path to a majority - assuming they don’t win the Presidency - a difficult task of winning a net of four seats. 

The second key distinction between the 2018 Midterms and the 2020 Senate elections is that the elections will take place concurrently with the Presidential Elections. Taking 2016 as an example, Republicans won all Senate seats up for re-election in states Trump won, while Democrats won all Senate seats up for re-election Clinton won. Though this wasn’t the case in 2012 and 2008, the state of the nation is more partisan than in those two elections, and based off 2018 Senate results, this era of strict party-line support in elections has yet to be disproven. The Presidential Election will, without a doubt, become a major factor in deciding who controls the balance of the Senate in 2020. 

Though generic ballot and individual polls have yet to be released, and for good reason as the election was less than a month ago, Trump’s approval rating continues to be underwater. The President’s approval ranges between 40-45% in most polls, averaging around 43%, while 53% disapprove of Trump’s performance in office. Though his approval is slightly higher than it was a month ago, right before the midterms, it’s still too low for an incumbent President seeking reelection. It’s important to note, too, Democrats won the popular vote for the House by around 53% - the same number as his approval rating - and a margin of victory of around 8%. The Presidential Election is still closer to a toss-up than to a “leaning Democrat” status when considering other factors yet to crystalize until the primary season begins. Trump’s own victory, or loss, in Senate seats up in 2020 will be a substantial indicator as to who will win the chamber. 

With all that said, here are my official ratings for the 2020 Senate Elections as it stands now. Please note there is a lot that will change between now and November of 2020, and my ratings will be updated consistently. For now, these are my opinions based on the partisan lean of states, their incumbents, and the potential for competitive opponents. 

You’ll find there are four toss-ups (purple color): Colorado (R), Arizona (Special election - R), Alabama (D), and North Carolina (R). Along with these, Maine (R), Georgia (R), and Iowa (R) are Lean Republican seats (light red), and are most likely to eventually become competitive in the future. Senate seats up in Montana (R), Kansas (R), Texas (R), Kentucky (R), Alaska (R), West Virginia (R), Montana (D), Michigan (D), and New Hampshire (D) are either Likely Republican (dark red) or Likely Democrat (light blue), meaning they have the potential to become competitive should strong opposing candidates challenge incumbents, but it’s likelier than not the incumbent will be victorious. All remaining states fall into the Solid Republican (darkest red) or Solid Democrat (dark blue) column, whereby regardless of opposing candidate the incumbent will most likely not lose. 



Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Senate: The Election As It Stands

With less than six weeks to go before the midterm elections, lingering partisanship from the Kavanaugh debacle continues to threaten Democratic and Republican held seats, and while there is a great deal of uncertainty in how these races will turn out across the political map, it seems likelier and likelier there will be no change in the US Senate composition, that is, 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats. 

Broad Points 
The Senate continues to look like there may be little to no change in its seat composition. Pundits agree the likelihood of a Democratic controlled Senate has about a one third chance of happening. Though Democrats lead on the generic ballot, and Trump has low levels of approval among voters, the Senate map puts Democrats at a structural disadvantage. Ten Democratic held Senate seats are in states Trump won in 2016, while only one Republican held seat is in a state Clinton won in 2016. Though the Republican majority in the Senate is a narrow two votes, Democrats have much more to lose in this Senate map, and little opportunity to win. 

With that being said, I’m of the personal belief Democrats have a much better shot at taking back the Senate than most seem to credit Though the current map is perhaps one of the most difficult ones for a party such as the Democrats to defend in modern history, the political atmosphere is significantly partisan, and most indicators point to a safer environment for a Democrats. However, the battle for the Senate will be difficult, and the odds are against the Democrats. 

The Democratic Held Seats
Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, & Pennsylvania
Trump narrowly won these states by razor thin margins in 2016, surprising many by winning the Democratic leaning “rust belt”. I’m lumping these races together not only because of their shared voter interests, but also because, despite holding Senate races in Trump states, these contests are most likely to be won by the Democratic incumbents. Senators Tammy Baldwin, Debbie Stabenow, Sherrod Brown, and Bob Casey are well liked incumbents, favored in a year where the environment is much more Democratic than usual. Not only are these candidates strong incumbents, but their opponents have failed to push these races into strong competition, leaving these Republicans  sidelined in priority for NRSC (National Republican Senate Committee) funding. Polls continue to show strong leads for all these incumbents, and with strong fundraising advantages, it’s doubtful these states will flip for the Republicans. Expect all four Democrats to maintain their seats in these sates. 

Montana
Montana’s Senate seat is occupied by Democrat Jon Tester. Though Montana voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton by 20.5%, the state has a long history of electing Democrats to the Senate and to its Governorship. In the same election year, incumbent Governor Steve Bullock beat his Republican opponent by roughly four points. Tester’s opponent, State Auditor Matt Rosendale, has managed to catch up to Senator Tester, leaving only a slight lead for the Democratic Senator. However, Tester has significantly outraised his opponent, and can be expected to use this to bolster his lead closer to the election. Republicans hope to flip this seat, but Tester is a well-liked and strong incumbent who has faced competitive elections since 2006. Should all conditions hold stable until November 6th, expect Tester to hold this seat. 

West Virginia 
The epitome of coal-concerned voters, West Virginia voted to elect Donald Trump by over a whopping 42 points. Though Republicans now have a monopoly on the state’s electorate, many voters are former Democrats who will vote for the right candidate. Senator Joe Manchin, then, is the best democrat who could represent his state in the Senate. Moderate on many issues, he manages to stay very popular in his home state. Manchin is facing State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey who has failed to turn this race into a complete toss-up. Despite the state’s strong Republican lean, Manchin has outraised Morrissey and holds a continuous lead in almost every poll. While there is still the opportunity for this state to once more become a complete toss-up, as many thought earlier this year, expect Manchin to win in November 6th. 

Indiana 
Indiana is another traditionally Republican state that occasionally elects Democrats to statewide offices. Incumbent Joe Donnelly is one of those very Democrats, and his seat is yet another priority for Republicans. Indiana voted for President Trump by almost 19 points more than Hillary Clinton, making it an incredibly vulnerable seat to flip. However, Donnelly has made a name for himself as a moderate, even a conservative at times, in order to appeal to the overwhelming majority of Republicans in his state. The strategy has so far proven effective; in almost every poll, Donnelly leads over his opponent, Republican Mike Braun. Furthermore, Donnelly holds a large fundraising advantage over Braun which will be critical in the final weeks of the campaign. Though this is no doubt a tight race, I personally believe Donnelly will be able to overcome the deep Republican presence in the state and get elected to a third term to the Senate. 

Missouri 
Yet another state Trump won by close to 19%, Democratic Incumbent Claire McCaskill is running for a third term to represent Missouri in the US Senate. Though Missouri has quickly changed from a swing state to a solid Republican voting state, McCaskill is still a very powerful force. She managed to unseat Republican incumbent Jim Talent in 2006, and in 2012, she faced Representative Todd Atkin, notorious for his “legitimate rape” gaffe on the campaign. McCaskill ended up winning by over 15% in what should have been a very close race in due part to this scandal. This year, Senator McCaskill is facing State Attorney General Josh Hawley. Though McCaskill has significantly outraised Hawley, polls show this race is a very clear toss-up. I believe in the end Claire McCaskill will narrowly win reelection, only because of her incumbency advantage and significant amount of cash on hand that she can utilize to her advantage. Though Hawley is at a disadvantage in this race, he too can equally claim victory: do not expect McCaskill to win on November 6th. 

Florida
The notorious swing state of Florida narrowly voted to elect Donald Trump by just  over 1%, but by no means is this a Republican stronghold. Incumbent Senator Bill Nelson is fairly popular in the state, and without a strong opponent, he would be expected to win easily. Unfortunately for him, Governor Rick Scott is challenging him for the seat. Governor Rick Scott is quite popular in Florida, as well, though he only narrowly won his election in 2010 and in 2014 - two very strong years for the Republican party. Unlike most Democratic incumbents and challengers, Nelson does not have a fundraising advantage. Rick Scott, however, has a sizeable personal wealth he has claimed he will expend to help his candidacy. Though the race is hotly contested, Nelson has recently seen an uptick in polling numbers for his candidacy where he leads between 2-7 points. In the coming weeks, this race will even out and will continue to be a toss-up. I personally believe Nelson will be able to win, both considering his incumbency and the national environment, as well as the fact that Scott has only barely won races in years where Republicans should have strongly outperformed Democrats by quite a bit, but it’s far from certain. 

North Dakota
Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp is running for reelection in the Republican stronghold of North Dakota. President Trump won this state by 36% in 2016, and the seat has become a top priority for Republicans. Kevin Cramer, the sole representative of North Dakota in the House, has stepped up to challenge Heitkamp: a strong, yet still vulnerable incumbent. Recent polls show Senator Heitkamp lagging behind in the polls by around 4%, but the Democrat holds a clear fundraising advantage over her opponent. This is an incredibly tight race that, should polls continue to show a slight lead for Representative Cramer, will most likely fall to the Republicans. Heitkamp is an incredibly strong candidate, though, so don’t expect this seat to be a likely victory to the Republican just yet. 

The Republican Held Seats

Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee 
These are all Senate races where there is either an open seat or a Republican incumbent in Republican leaning states. They have been written about on this blog (refer to them below), and the state of those races has not changed very much. Polls and fundraising show Nevada as a complete toss-up, while polls indicate Arizona and Tennessee as lean Democratic states. All three races are competitive, but I would conjecture at least Arizona and Nevada will flip. Considering the political environment, Tennessee, with Bredesen at its helm, could also narrowly flip to the Democrats, though his lead has slipped and the Republican, Marsha Blackburn, is doing progressively better in polls. 

Texas 
Though it seems Texas has gotten a lot of attention recently, I’ve recognized Texas as toss-up ever since the 2016 Presidential results. The state is renowned for its strong Republican ties, yet it only voted for President Trump by 9 points over Hillary Clinton. Many recognize the changing demographics make it a prime pick-up for Democrats in the future, but very few believed Texas would become competitive so soon. Ordinarily, even with such a weak margin in electing Trump, it would not be considered a toss-up. However, Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke has managed to blend charisma with progressive policy to create a very strong campaign against Ted Cruz. Though Senator Cruz could still be described as popular in his home state, he isn’t as popular as he should be, opening up a strong challenge from Representative O’Rourke. Recently, polling has tightened, giving Cruz a very narrow lead. Personally, I have predicted since 2017 that Texas will be either won by Cruz by two points, or O’Rourke will win by an incredibly narrow margin less than 1%. Polls seem to be indicating this is the shape of the race, and I expect it will remain like this until November 6th. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The House: The Election As It Stands

With less than six weeks to go before the midterm elections, much has changed across the political map, and yet, at the same time, we’re exactly where we were six months ago. 

Generic Ballot, as of October 3rd, provided by Five Thirty Eight
The House of Representatives continues to look like the most likely chamber to flip in the 2018 midterms. Pundits, predictors, and race raters all agree the likelihood of a Democratic controlled House is significantly higher (around 70-80%) than a Republican controlled one. The specific reasoning for this lies in the generic ballot, performance of Democrats in special elections, a greater amount of contentious districts, and strong candidates against weaker incumbents. 

The generic ballot polling continues to give Democrats a large lead over Republicans. Aggregators, such as Nate Silver’s 538, give Democrats an approximate eight point lead over Republicans on the generic ballot - an incredibly strong position to be in with less than six weeks until the election. With that said, it’s very possible Democrats win the national popular vote but fail to clinch the 23 districts needed for control of the chamber. Individual polling of toss-up districts continues to show Republicans are in real danger of losing many of their seats, however, so the likelihood of Democrats winning the popular vote but not winning enough seats seems less likely as time goes on. 

Special election results, from 2017 and 2018, spell good news for the Democrats’ house chances. Donald Trump’s stable, yet dismal, approval ratings continue to reflect the majority of voters’ dissatisfaction with his performance thus far in office. His low approval rating is no doubt one of the major reasons why Democratic voters have been far likelier to turnout in special elections over the past two years, and it’s why Democrats have a good chance of flipping the House. Midterms are most often a measure of the people’s opinions on the President and his party. Should the opposing party, the Democrats in this case, beat out the Republicans, it will be an indication of the people’s growing discontent for the current administration. This was especially true in the 2010 and 2014 midterms, where the Republicans won more than 60 seats in the House in the former, then maintained control of the House and won the Senate in the latter. 
Congressional District 2016 Results

Democrats furthermore have the benefit of a greater number of contentious districts to target for this midterm cycle. Hillary Clinton outperformed Donald Trump in 23 Republican held House districts - the exact number needed for Democrats to regain the chamber. Though Democrats will not be able to win all these districts due to strong incumbents or weak challengers, many of them are most certainly in play and are expected to be flipped November 6th. Many more districts are open seats, eliminating any incumbency advantage in several toss-up and reach districts. 

Finally, strong candidates nominated by the Democratic party are putting traditionally Republican districts in play. These include Elissa Slotkin in Michigan’s 8th district, Xochitl Small in New Mexico’s 2nd district, Richard Odeja in West Virgnia’s 3rd district, Paul Davis in Kansas’s 2nd district, and many others. These powerful candidates are beating their opponents in fundraising and on the airwaves with strong ads, and just might be strong enough to push some very Republican districts over the edge for this “wave year”. 

Should Democrats take control of the House, expect many of Trump’s desired policy proposals to be dead in the water, unless somehow compromise can be reached between both aisles . Not only would the House be crucial in stopping Trump’s agenda, but it will also allow Democrats to take reins of the House’s Russia investigation, and possibly even begin the process of impeachment. For both Democrats and Republicans, control of the House will be critical for each party’s respective goals to appease the electorate. 


Friday, August 17, 2018

From the Roaring ‘20s to the Greedy ‘80s: An Examination of the Similarties Between the Decades

Defined by the shifting views of the American people and the constantly changing political system, history does repeat itself, a fact no clearer than with the similarities between the 1920s and the 1980s. To a large degree, the 1980s were a purposeful repeat of the 1920s by cultural and political actors who sought to recreate the social, political, and economic circumstances of the era. Socially, both the ‘20s and the ‘80s were rocked by the rise of Christian fundamentalism and nativism which dominated social movements. The ‘20s and ‘80s were also similar politically in that they witnessed Republican Presidents who sought conservative policies such as reducing the size and scope of government. Coolidge, arguably the first Republican espousing modern Republican beliefs of limited government, laid the foundation for future Republican Presidents, particularly Reagan, who sought to recreate these ideals in the ‘80s. Furthermore, both eras witnessed significant ideological changes in the political parties. Finally, the ‘20s and ‘80s saw unsustainable growth, a significant rise in wealth inequality, and the use of trickle-down economics to create similar economic conditions.

KKK March on DC in 1925
As society became more liberalized, religious and nativist groups sought to return America to a more culturally traditional era in the 1920s and 1980s. After the Great War, women gained new independence and leisure time, and as such were viewed as sexually promiscuous and “shameful” in their consumption of public drinking and smoking. Individuals, such as Margaret Sanger, campaigned for better access to birth control - viewed as a sin in Christianity - which galvanized Protestants and Evangelicals to fight against such initiatives. This culmination of changes in society promulgated the rise of fundamentalist groups who sought to rectify the pervading threats of cultural liberalization plaguing the United States. The ongoing battle between fundamentalists and birth control activists is best exemplified in the attempt to overturn the Comstock laws, legislation which limited access to contraceptives.1 Mary Ware Dennett, an activist aligned with Margaret Sanger, wrote an impassioned letter to Congress to overturn the Comstock laws2. The Senate instead voted down this legislation, siding with fundamentalists who campaigned against the repeal effort.3 Furthermore, the long sought after Christian goal of Temperance succeeded with the creation of the 18th Amendment and the passage of the Volstead Act in 1919, ushering in the decade long prohibition of alcohol. Perhaps the strongest example of Christian fundamentalism entrenchment in the ‘20s is with the “Scopes Monkey” trial, where a schoolteacher in Tennessee was prohibited from teaching Evolution in class.4
William Jennings Bryan, a former Secretary of State and Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, was a devout Christian who attempted to defend the state of Tennessee’s decision.5 The landmark case - decided in favor of Tennessee - was significant because it exemplified the fight between fundamentalists who sought to enforce a moral and religious society through the legal system. Simultaneously, the booming economy and the Second Industrial Revolution caused a surge in immigration between 1880 and 1920.6 Meanwhile, the rise of urban centers and a new wave of immigration led to the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915 by veteran William Simmons.7 Growing anger at a new, changing America, the KKK witnessed their numbers grow to the organization’s all time peak in the mid ‘20s. The KKK was charged with instigating violence against African-Americans, Jews, Catholics, and Immigrants.8 In an opinion written by the KKK in 1924, they wrote, “There is no blinking the fact that certain races do not fuse with us, and have no intention of trying to become Americans,”.9 Simmons was able to appeal to the broader public, popularizing the KKK and reaching a height of 4.5 million people in 1924.10

A group of protestors in favor of Roe v Wade
Similar to the conditions before the ‘20s, the counterculture of the ‘60s and perceived moral decay brought on by Supreme Court cases such as Roe v Wade, inspired new social changes in the ‘80s. Jerry Falwell, a Baptist minister, created the “Moral Majority” - a movement in the ‘80s dedicated towards reclaiming America’s morality and strengthening Christian fundamentalism.11 In Falwell’s book, The The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: The Resurgence of Conservative Christianity, he writes, “The government was encroaching upon the sovereignty of both the Church and the family. The Supreme Court had legalized abortion on demand. The Equal Rights Amendment, [...] ,threatened to do further damage to the traditional family, as did the rising sentiment toward so-called homosexual rights,”.12 This resurgence in Christian fundamentalism parallels that of the 1920s; activists felt their country was turning a blind eye to moral depravities, and intended to take action. The Moral Majority was further propelled by the expansion of Evangelical Protestantism through “Televangelism”.13 They used media, such as tv and radios, to build a grassroots campaign against immoral facets of society: abortion, homosexual rights, and birth control. Similarly, Prohibition activists used contemporary media to proselytize their agenda.14 Immigration rates began to rise in the ‘80s, as well, prompting a rise in nativism and aggressivity towards immigrants.15 While the resurgence in the KKK was nowhere near as large as the movement in the ‘20s, the KKK noticed a small, yet steady, rise in membership as immigration and homosexual rights entered the political conversation.16 The 1980s mimics much of the social movements during the 1920s; the Moral Majority and Televangelists found inspiration in the goals and strategies employed by the Christian fundamentalists, while the KKK attempted to popularize its movement through a shared hatred of increased immigration and continued cultural changes across the United States.

Political cartoon of President Coolidge
As both eras were characterized by profound social movements and their political repercussions, both major party ideologies shifted, as did Republican Presidents to the right. During the 1920s, in response to World War 1 and the growth of government intervention under Woodrow Wilson, the Republican party transitioned away from the party of Progressives, such as Roosevelt, towards the more conservative, hard- lined leadership of Harding and Coolidge. Harding’s administration did not last very long, but his plea to “return to normalcy” during the campaign struck a chord with many voters; he urged them to return to an America before the war and even before the Progressive movement, to return to a time when people were content with the “old” America.17 During his speech, he defined the new policies he would seek, stating, “The world needs to be reminded that all human ills are not curable by legislation, and that quantity of statutory enactment and excess of government offer no substitute for quality of citizenship”.18 Coolidge then built upon his predecessor's intentions, taking action on Harding’s words. Under his administration, the budget was balanced, tariffs raised, and taxes and regulations were slashed.19 Coolidge used the power of existing executive bodies to dismantle the enforcement of previously passed laws, and utilized his Attorney General to weaken labor unions and strikes through court issued injunctions.20 Hoover, who succeeded Coolidge, served as the Secretary of Commerce in 1924, publically documenting and crediting the positive economic impacts of the new era of deregulation and trickle-down economics.21 22 It was during this period the Republican Party shifted from a party in favor of government intervention - Roosevelt’s philosophy - to one focused on fiscal conservatism and the elimination of waste and bureaucracy.23 24 Similarly, the Democratic party experienced a wave of defeats in their pursuit of the Presidency. In response, the party became more economically liberalized during the 1920s - once defending the tax cuts of Coolidge, to embracing the New Deal.25 26As in the 1920s, the ‘80s witnessed a decade control of Republican Presidents and new ideological shifts between the party. Reagan, having been inspired greatly by Coolidge and his efficiency in trimming the size of the government, began to model his economic policy after individuals such as Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon.27

Reagan embraced the trickle-down economics Coolidge espoused during his term, expressing at his inauguration, “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem... The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price”.28 Reagan had such a deep appreciation for Coolidge, he hung his portrait in the Cabinet Room of the White House, and wrote in his memoirs he believed Coolidge was “one of our most underrated presidents”.29 Furthermore, Reagan embodied the values of restricted and limited government intervention, as shown in Executive Order 12291, which sought guidelines to “reduce the burdens of existing and future regulations, increase agency accountability for regulatory actions, provide for presidential oversight of the regulatory process, minimize duplication and conflict of regulations, and insure well-reasoned regulations”.30 The Republican Party shifted to fit Reagan’s “trickle-down economics” derived from Coolidge’s tenure, as well as adopted the social policies of the Christian Right and Allan Bloom. 31
President Ronald Reagan explains his tax reform
This new strategy of social and economic conservatism was contrary to the more moderate “Age of Consensus” under Eisenhower and economic interventionism Nixon employed in the ‘70s. Comparatively, the Democrats were at a crossroads during the 1980s between two factions of the party: the moderate “Blue Dogs” who backed President Carter and the more liberal supporters of Senator Ted Kennedy in 1980. While the moderates won in the primary, Kennedy and others pushed for a more left wing ideology, such as a national health insurance program. He spoke at the Democratic Convention in 1980 on fairness, asserting, “The commitment I seek is not to outworn views, but to old values that will never wear out. Programs may sometimes become obsolete, but the ideal of fairness always endures”.32 The Democratic Party had also formed a new coalition with African-Americans after the ‘60s, for
cing the party to adopt new policies and planks to accommodate this growing voter bloc. Jesse Jackson, who ran for President in 1984, spoke at the convention, contending “My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised. They are restless and seek relief. They’ve voted in record numbers. They have invested faith, hope and trust that they have in us. The Democratic Party must send them a signal that we care. I pledge my best to not let them down...”.33 The dramatic social and political changes which marked the ‘20s and ‘80s are starkly similar in their outcomes: a marked shift in the ideologies of the two dominant political parties towards their relative extrema.

Men stand in line for soup during the Great Depression
Economically, both eras witnessed deregulations due to the control of Republican presidents, resulting in an unparalleled rise in wealth and inequality. The attitude of those in the ‘20s was that of excited and eager investors, driven to produce as much wealth as possible. John Moody, an economist who wrote on the “Economic Revolution” of the ‘20s, notes “... for the uses of industry and for direct investment in the big business and corporate enterprises of the time...We were rapidly becoming a nation of investors - investors in our own industries from one end of the country to the other,”.34 Moody theorized the accelerated pace of the US economy would never face a recession due to the rapid growth of the stock market and public opinion shifting in favor of deregulation due to the prosperity of the 1920s.35 Likewise, Andrew Mellon, Secretary of Treasury and extreme proponent of trickle-down politics, was a strong advocate for limited government interference. His effective skills gained him notoriety across the political spectrum: beloved by conservative Republicans such as Coolidge while despised by left leaning Democrats. Mellon writes in his book on taxation, “...[taxes] must also remove those influences which might retard the continued steadily development of business and industry on which, in the last analysis, so much of our prosperity depends...The high rates inevitably put pressure upon the taxpayer to withdraw his capital from productive business...”.36 He perfectly summarizes his views on the growth of the economy and prosperity as the cause of low taxes, which, he claims, if raised higher could possibly slow and even reverse the unparalleled growth of the 1920s.37 These policies played a significant role in promulgating greed and mass consumption, leading to the Great Depression, one of the most severe recessions in the nation’s history. Reagan, who greatly admired Coolidge’s administration for its effective tactics in reducing government waste and lowering taxes, modeled his own solutions to those of Mellon’s.38 A commission called to find a solution to the problem of “stagflation” - high unemployment and inflation - reported back to the Reagan administration that an aggressive policy of tax cuts, paired with a cut in government spending, must take place. 39 Such policies would decrease the inflation rate by reducing lower-income consumption, while providing tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations to incentivize new employment opportunities.40 Reagan indeed pursued this policy throughout his term, managing to pass large decreases in the tax rate with his signature “Economic Tax Recovery Act”. The act directly slashed taxes on the highest brackets, providing the richest in society with a large growth in personal wealth, while middle and lower class individuals experienced limited, ineffective cuts. Lester Thurow, a notable economist and frequent Reagan critic, wrote in his novel, “How to Wreck the Economy”, that Reagan’s budgets would do significant damage to the economy in the long term as a result of his tax cuts and deficit spending.41 While no depression followed from Reagan’s policies, his tax cuts and spending increases have posed a problem ever since, prompting frequent anxiety towards rising debt and government spending.

While the social movements, political shifts, and new economic policies which rocked the ‘20s and ‘80s are for the most part over, there is still much today which mirrors those cycles. The rebirth of nativism and the rise of bigotry and hatred across the US stems from the same fears felt in the ‘20s and again in the ‘80s, providing avenues for hate groups - such as Neonazis - to publically crusade for their exclusionist goals. The Christian Right still very much exists, and their policies have been successful in overtaking the Republican party’s social agenda. Republicans, even less traditional figures, such as Donald Trump, regard Reagan as a hero of the party: his trickle down economic ideas are proud planks of the party’s platform. Even the Democratic Party has come to embrace the more progressive platform of the 80s, particularly Kennedy’s fight for national healthcare and a growth of entitlements. Much of the social, political, and economic questions the US faces today can find similarities to the same questions faced in the 20s and the 80s, substantiating the cyclical nature of History.

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Footnotes

 1 Dennett, Mary Ware “Letter to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives”, Letters, 1923, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.398-400
2 Ibid
3 Ibid
6 "U.S. Immigration History | U.S. Immigration Policy - Environmental Impact Statement |." U.S. Immigration Policy - Environmental Impact Statement. http://www.immigrationeis.org/about-ieis/us- immigration-history.
7 Simmons, William Joseph, “Statement of Mr. William Joseph Simmons”, Testimony, 1921, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.384-388
8 Ku Klux Klan, “Guarding the Gates Against Undesirables”, Current Opinion, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.282-285
9 Ibid
10 Rothman, Joshua. "When Bigotry Paraded Through the Streets." The Atlantic. December 04, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/second-klan/509468/.
11 Falwell, Jerry, “The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: The Resurgence of Conservative Christianity”, Nonfiction work, 1996, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980- 1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (522-525)
12 Ibid
13 Bakker, Jim, “I Was Wrong”, Memoir, 1996, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (373-376)
14 Alcohol, Temperance and Prohibition. https://library.brown.edu/cds/temperance/essay.html.
15 Rolph, Elizabeth S. Immigration Policies: Legacy from the 1980s and Issues for the 1990s. Rand, 1992.
16 Barker, Karlyn. "A Resurgence by the Klan." The Washington Post. June 02, 1980. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/06/02/a-resurgence-by-the-klan/31ef5d25-716c-486b- 9274-8a2d4a58a7e3/?utm_term=.fff05d3897d9.
17 Harding, Warren G, “A Return to Normalcy”, Speech, 1920, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.261-262
18 Ibid
19 Henning, Arthur Sears. “Call for Slash in Taxes Now Meets Rebuff: House Doesn’t Heed Coolidge Plea. Coolidge Urges Immediate Cut on 1923 Taxes.” Chicago Daily Tribune. March 12, 1924 20 Christian Science Monitor, “Attorney General Wins His Fight For Strike Injunction.” September 23, 1922
21 Hoover, Herbert, “Twelfth Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce, 1924,” US Department of Commerce, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920- 1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.77-81
22 Hoover, Herbert., “Rugged Individualism”, Speech, 1928, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.313- 316 
24 "Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1924 - June 10, 1924." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29636.
25 "Democratic Party Platforms: 1924 Democratic Party Platform - June 24, 1924." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29593.
26 Democratic Party Platforms: 1932 Democratic Party Platform - June 27, 1932." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29595.
27 Mellon, Andrew W., “Taxation: The People’s Business”, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.285-288
28 Reagan, Ronald W. “President Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981”, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (77-80)
29 Brinkley, Alan. "CALVIN REAGAN." The New York Times. July 04, 1981. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/04/opinion/calvin-reagan.html.
30 Reagan, Ronald, “Executive Order 12291”, 1981, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (221-226)
31 Bloom, Allan, “The Closing of the American Mind”, 1987, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (373- 376)
34 Moody, John, “A New Era... an Economic Revolution of the Profoundest Character”, The Atlantic Monthly, 1928, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.126-131
35 Ibid
36 Mellon, Andrew W., “Taxation: The People’s Business”, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.285-288
38 Brinkley, Alan. "CALVIN REAGAN." The New York Times. July 04, 1981. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/04/opinion/calvin-reagan.html.
39 President’s Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, “Restoring Economic Growth and Stability in the Eighties”, 1981, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (80-85)
40 Ibid
41 Thurow, Lester, “How to Wreck the Economy”, New York Review of Books, 1981, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (85-88)

_____________________________________________________________________

Bibliography


Bakker, Jim, “I Was Wrong”, Memoir, 1996, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (373-376)

Bloom, Allan, “The Closing of the American Mind”, 1987, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (373-376)

Dennett, Mary Ware “Letter to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives”, Letters, 1923, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.398-400


Falwell, Jerry, “The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: The Resurgence of Conservative
Christianity”, Nonfiction work, 1996, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (522-525)

Harding, Warren G, “A Return to Normalcy”, Speech, 1920, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.261-262

Hoover, Herbert., “Rugged Individualism”, Speech, 1928, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.313-316


Hoover, Herbert, “Twelfth Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce, 1924,”
US Department of Commerce, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.77-81

Jackson, Jesse, “Appeal to Convention Delegates for Unity in Party”, 1984, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (245-249)

Kennedy, Edward, “Speech on Economic Issues, 1980 Democratic Convention”, 1980, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (215-217)

Ku Klux Klan, “Guarding the Gates Against Undesirables”, Current Opinion, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.282-285

Mellon, Andrew W., “Taxation: The People’s Business”, 1924, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.285-288

Mencken, H.L, “The Monkey Trial”, Editorial, 1925, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.337-347


Moody, John, “A New Era... an Economic Revolution of the Profoundest Character”,
The Atlantic Monthly, 1928, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.126-131

President’s Commission for a National Agenda for the Eighties, “Restoring Economic Growth and Stability in the Eighties”, 1981, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (80-85)

Reagan, Ronald, “Executive Order 12291”, 1981, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (221-226)

Reagan, Ronald W. “President Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981”, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (77-80)

Simmons, William Joseph, “Statement of Mr. William Joseph Simmons”, Testimony, 1921, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1920-1929. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004, p.384-388

Thurow, Lester, “How to Wreck the Economy”, New York Review of Books, 1981, quoted in Rose, Cynthia et al. American Decades: Primary Sources 1980-1989. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, Inc. 2004 (85-88)

Alcohol, Temperance and Prohibition. https://library.brown.edu/cds/temperance/essay.html.


Barker, Karlyn. "A Resurgence by the Klan." The Washington Post. June 02, 1980.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/06/02/a-resurgence-by-the-klan/31ef5d25-716c- 486b-9274-8a2d4a58a7e3/?utm_term=.fff05d3897d9.

Brinkley, Alan. "CALVIN REAGAN." The New York Times. July 04, 1981. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/04/opinion/calvin-reagan.html.

"Democratic Party Platforms: 1924 Democratic Party Platform - June 24, 1924." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29593.

"Democratic Party Platforms: 1932 Democratic Party Platform - June 27, 1932." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29595.

"Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1916 - June 7, 1916." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29634.

"Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1924 - June 10, 1924." The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29636.

Rolph, Elizabeth S. Immigration Policies: Legacy from the 1980s and Issues for the 1990s. Rand, 1992.

Rothman, Joshua. "When Bigotry Paraded Through the Streets." The Atlantic. December 04, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/second-klan/509468/.

"U.S. Immigration History | U.S. Immigration Policy - Environmental Impact Statement |." U.S. Immigration Policy - Environmental Impact Statement. http://www.immigrationeis.org/about-ieis/us-immigration-history. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Can A Democrat Win in Arizona?

Senator Jeff Flake (R)
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, another one of the eight Republican Senators up for reelection in the 2018 Midterms, made a similar decision to Tennessee Senator Bob Corker: he decided not to seek reelection. Like Corker, Flake faced an uphill primary battle against former State Senator Kelli Ward, as well as cold relations with President Trump. The stakes are particularly high in this race; incumbency is a very powerful tool in elections, especially for the Senate, and without an incumbent in Arizona, a powerful Democratic challenger could win the once very conservative, but now swing state.

Arizona was once an incredibly strong Republican stronghold, but has recently begun to shift into the next key battleground state The state is home to notable conservatives, such as former Senator and Republican Presidential nominee (1964) Barry Goldwater, and of course Senator and former Presidential nominee (2008) John McCain. McCain and Romney easily won the state in the 2008 and 2012 elections respectively, each winning with a 9% margin.

While these results may not indicate Arizona as a swing state, it’s crucial to note the 2012 Arizona Senate race, and 2016 Presidential race. Current Senator Jeff Flake only narrowly won his race in 2012, garnering only 49.2% of the vote, while his Democratic opponent, Richard Carmona, won 46.2% of the vote in a year when Romney won around 53.5% of the vote and Obama 44.5%. The 2012 Senate election speaks volumes to the changing political lean of Arizona, where, without an incumbent, a strong Democratic candidate could potentially outperform a Republican adversary.

In 2016, midway through the General Election campaign, polls indicated the race in Arizona would be much closer than many anticipated. The Clinton campaign then began to devote resources to build the state’s “Get Out the Vote” (GOTV) efforts. While Secretary Clinton lost the seat, President Trump’s margin was a little over 3.5%. For comparison, Trump won North Carolina – a renowned swing state - by a little more than 3.6%. Without an incumbent in the 2018 Midterm race in Arizona, a potential blue wave, and a strong Democratic candidate, Arizona could very well swing to give Democrats the seat they desperately need for control of the Senate.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D)
Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat representing Arizona’s 9th district, has stepped forward as the front-runner for her party in this race. She’s expected to cruise to the nomination during the August 28th primary. Sinema distinguishes herself from the national party – she emphasizes her own independence from Democrats across the nation, focusing on bipartisanship and doing what she believes is best. Sinema has even said she won’t vote for incumbent Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should she be elected, underlining her anti-establishment campaign. Though Sinema can find comparisons with figures such as Bernie Sanders in her independence from the establishment, she holds very moderate views – in line for convincing possible Republicans and Independents in Arizona to cast their votes for the Representative.

Congresswoman Martha McSally (R)
Although the Democrats have a presumptive nominee, a three-way race is being fought amongst the Republicans. The first candidate to announce was former State Senator Kelli Ward, a conservative along the lines, and even more conservative, than President Donald Trump. Though she was the first to announce, her base of support has been effectively split in two by the announcement of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio ran an immigrant detention facility in Southern Arizona. He lost reelection in 2016 and was even indicted for criminal contempt of the court during a trial on racial profiling. In 2017, President Trump pardoned him, and opened up a path for Arpaio to once more run for public office. Finally, in the lead is Republican Representative Martha McSally. McSally is far more moderate than her two opponents, and while polls have her ahead, there are still enough undecided voters that the race could shift to either Arpaio or Ward’s favor.

Regardless of who wins the nomination for the Republican Party, Sinema has a clear polling and fundraising lead in the race. In every poll released since April, Sinema is ahead of her Republican opponents. She performs best against Sheriff Arpaio, polling 52% to 61% of the vote. She similarly does well against Ward, receiving voter support in the high forties and low fifties. Sinema’s toughest competition would come from McSally; even though McSally trails Sinema in the polls, the margins are significantly closer than those with the other two candidates. In terms of fundraising, Sinema has $6,816,005 on hand, while McSally has $2,578,746 on hand. Both Ward and Arpaio have significantly less in cash on hand.



Like Nevada, this is only one of two plausible pick-ups for Democrats in the difficult Senate map. The race in Tennessee is promising, but will be an uphill battle for Bredesen. Realistically, Democrats will need to consolidate their efforts on Nevada and Arizona. Should they fail to win this seat, it will become nearly impossible to stave off any losses in seats the Democrats hold, and would be a disastrous set back in the difficult effort to retake the Senate.