Republicans are understandably worried now.
Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and former leader of his party’s Congressional campaign committee, issued a dire warning that the Republican Party had been severely damaged, in no small part because of its identification with President Bush. Mr. Davis said that, unless Republican candidates changed course, they could lose 20 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate.
“They are canaries in the coal mine, warning of far greater losses in the fall, if steps are not taken to remedy the current climate,” Mr. Davis said in a memorandum. “The political atmosphere facing House Republicans this November is the worst since Watergate and is far more toxic than it was in 2006.”
If they can’t win seats in solidly conservatives districts in Louisiana and Mississippi, where can they win? And what makes them think they will have a prayer of a chance of winning back the White House after the most unpopular administration in the nation’s history finally vacates the premises early next year?
It is no longer a question of whether or not Democrats will win, it’s a question of how big their win will be. How many House and Senate seats will they take in the coming rout? Democrats are expected to pick up Senate seats in Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota and New Hampshire. But will Senate seats previously considered safe in Texas, North Carolina and Alaska also get swept up in a Democratic landslide?
If these special election outliers are any indication, I’d say we will have a lot more dead Republican canaries littering the floor pretty soon. That’s because the political atmosphere generated by the Bush administration is proving to be highly toxic to GOP candidates right now.