It took the Democrats two election cycles — 2006 and 2008 — to secure their overwhelming Congressional majorities and to recapture the White House. The Republican Party will likely complete its takeover in 2012. This model is far more likely than the 1995-96 model in which Bill Clinton came back from the dead.
In the Senate, there are many attractive targets for Republican attack, Senators who come from states where the GOP scored significant gains in the 2010 elections. They include:
Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico — Republicans won the governorship and a key House seat here.
Sherrod Brown, Ohio — Republicans won the governorship, the other Senate seat, and five Congressional pickups here. Brown is in great danger.
Joe Manchin, West Virginia — He will have to show himself to be an Obama-liberal in order to deliver the Senate to the president’s agenda. With only a 53-47 margin, there is no place for Joe to hide.
Robert Casey, Pennsylvania — Here too, the GOP won for governor, senator, and took over five new House seats. Casey parades as a conservative because he is pro life, but, as with Manchin, he will have to stand and deliver to his party in the Senate. His political life expectancy is limited.
Kent Conrad, North Dakota — His best policy would be to follow his friend Byron Dorgan into retirement. Republicans won Dorgan’s Senate seat and took over the at large House seat as well.
Herb Kohl, Wisconsin — Wisconsin flipped and became Republican this year. Johnson beat Feingold for the Senate. Walker, a Republican, replaced Doyle, a Democrat, as governor and the GOP picked up two house seats and majorities in the state legislature. Kohl should go back to his department stores.
Claire McCaskill, Missouri — With Roy Blunt’s Republican win for the Senate and the defeat of long time Democratic Congressman Ike Skelton, Missouri is ripe for picking up in 2012.
Robert Menendez, New Jersey — After Chris Christie’s win in 2009 as governor and the defeat of Democrat Congressman Adler, Menendez has to be sweating.
Ben Nelson, Nebraska — After his health care vote, he is the walking dead. See Blanche Lincoln for details.
Bill Nelson, Florida — Rubio took the Senate seat and five House seats flipped to Republican. The GOP also won the governorship. Can Nelson survive? Probably not.
Debbie Stabenow, Michigan — With the Republicans winning the governorship and taking back a House seat here, Michigan might be a take away in 2012.
Jon Tester, Montana — A solidly red state that should kick out Tester in 2012. Can Baucus be next in 2014??
Jim Webb, Virginia — After a Republican takeaway in the governor’s race of 2009 and the loss of three House seats in 2010, Webb is an endangered species in 2012.
And, among Republicans, only Scott Brown of Massachusetts, John Enisign of Nevada, and Olympia Snow of Maine would seem to be in any jeopardy.
Thirteen vulnerable Democrats and three vulnerable Republicans. Don’t you like those odds?
And, in the House, the Republicans will probably expand their margin. Now that they control eleven new governorships and twenty new legislative chambers, they have exclusive control over the drawing of 190 House districts. With less gerrymandered districts, at least a dozen of the Republicans who narrowly lost on Tuesday can look forward to a much better chance of winning in 2012.
Wait till next year!