Republicans hold Senate: final forecast

With Democrats needing to find three wins from Arizona, Missouri, Georgia, Montana and Tennessee it looks like the Republicans have held the Senate, albeit by a thread.

The forecasts for the House of Representatives look better for the Democrats but at this time they are just that: forecasts. Good results for them in the gubernatorial elections.

No news yet on the the South Dakota abortion referendum, or Arnold Schwartzenegger. I expect the latter to be re-elected.

From 2004, tonight has been an excellent result for the Democrats. Will they think so? Only if they either sweep a lot of close races in the next few hours, or if their expectations were a lot lower than they claimed.

I'm off to bed at 03:55AM GMT (10:55PM EST).

Update: Jim Talent has conceded in Missouri and local report does not suggest that litigation will follow.

With George Allen and Conrad Burns looking weak in Georgia and Montana, the Democrats could yet take the Senate too.

If this narrow Democrat victory is cathartic for the Republicans, it will bring the latter down to earth with a solid bump (the voters have not done a 1997 UK election to the incumbants). Yet no one should underestimate the extent to which Democrat House and maybe Senate committees will dictate the headlines over the next two years. They would be foolish to miss the opportunity to hold hearings designed to embarrass their opponents on lobbying practices, the public finances and Iraq. The Democrats will not however be the Gingrich restraint on Clinton that fiscal conservatives and libertarians dream of. They will support almost every spending plan of President George Bush, and push forward their own pet schemes. The only surprise would be to see this president start vetoing spending bills.


Anonymous said...

Matt here: So, that's you shirtless then... A bold move to call it so early. You'd have looked amazingly sagacious if you were right. How do you think the Dems will play it now? Bipartisan or gridlock seem to be the parameters, reality as ever will probably see them opt for both and neither. And what about Bush? He's hardly been a bipartisan President, despite fairly slim public mandates. Do you think he'll not give a flying one and carry on - as far as he can - as before?

Antoine Clarke said...

As long as George Bush is in the White House the emotional urge to fight will be there. No one in the house of Representatives has a vested interest in playing nice. On the contrary, tying up administration and G.O.P. officials in hearings, even if no charges are ever put forward, seems fair game to me. I would do it to shore up my base for next time and keep my oppnents defensive.

After 2008, regardless of who wins (well maybe not Jeb Bush!), if the Democrats have both chambers of Congress then a more "normal" political cycle should emerge (which sadly means more pork, more cozy lobby-friendly legislation).

Bush not bipartisan? How many vetos has he used, despite considerable demands to do so on spending by his own side?

Bush has been no more right-wing than say Lloyd Bentsen. You don't have to be a Bible-thumping fundamentalist to oppose stem-cell research and I don't recall most Democrats in either House or Senate voting against war in Afghanistan or Iraq, until it became politically expedient to claim they were fooled. The invasion of Iraq was pretty bipartisan. It's the occupation afterwards that's the problem, and we can criticise the President for getting that wrong.