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The midterm elections are less than a week away and recent national polling suggest that Democrats could be in trouble. The number one issue concerning voters is the economy, which has shown few signs of improvement over the last six years after Democrats gained control of Congress and the Presidency.
In the 2010 midterms, voter dissatisfaction with the direction of the country led to Republicans regaining control of the House and picking up seats in the Senate. Republicans also won many gubernatorial elections across the country, even in blue states, in the historic election.
If the polls hold true, 2014 is shaping up to be an equally bad election for Democrats, only this time they could lose control of the Senate. Currently, the Democrats hold 55 seats in the Senate, with 36 seats in play. Republicans are looking at about 10 races as being winnable.
Additionally, there are 36 gubernatorial races being held next week. Along with national elections, local state elections will be held along with ballot measures—such as abortion, gun control, and fracking—which could have national implications.
Republicans have been content to let voter dissatisfaction with Democrats, and an increasingly unpopular President Obama, carry the day as they step out of the way and let the opposition party flounder.
Once again, the Republicans are missing an opportunity to bring a positive message, point out the reasons Democrat policies have failed, and contrast that with their vision for the nation and its future.
The Democrats thrive on social issues, which are doing little to motivate the electorate in this year’s cycle. Aside from local ballot measures, issues such as gay-marriage, women’s rights, equal pay, gun-control, and minimum wage—all Democrat staples—have mostly failed to resonate with voters at the gubernatorial and congressional level.
Even President Obama, who was immensely popular at the beginning of his presidency, has become toxic to candidates this time around. Across the country, candidates on the Democratic ticket have declined having the president stump for them, and are distancing themselves from many of his more unpopular policies.
It remains to be seen how this election will turn out. Will the Republicans win big as they did in 2010 and take the Senate, despite failing to put forth a coherent, positive message? Or will the Democrats, as nationally unpopular as they appear to be, retain the coveted control of the Senate? In less than a week, we will find out.