State of the Cycle

Since the Alaska primary offered the last competitive Senate contest of the cycle aside from Louisiana’s November 4 “jungle primary,” I figured it was as good a time as any to sum up what the GOP has wrought. So my latest column at TPMCafe looks at the environment anew and concludes that while Republicans didn’t hurt themselves by choosing blatantly bad candidates, they really didn’t much improve their chances of taking control of the Senate, either.

They’ll gain seats simply because the landscape is so heavily in their favor, and midterms are their meat and potatoes. But there’s still no sign of a “wave” or any other factor that would give them a final push in the many close contests under way, and a real wild card could be the DSCC’s Bannock Street turnout project. Meanwhile, quite a number of GOP candidates have vulnerabilities, even if they aren’t howling at the moon like an O’Donnell or Akin or Angle.

So even though the GOP hype machine is gearing up for another autumn of anticipatory spin, it’s not yet justified by conditions on the ground.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.