With two months still to go before Election Day, more and more poll models are pointing to a better than even chance that Republicans will pck up enough seats to win the majority in the U.S. Senate. Since Democratic donors can also read the polls, senior Democratic strategists and their allies in the news media are now working overtime to invent positive spin stories that might slow down the pessimistic momntum facing Democratic activists and donors.
The Democratic talking points follow these cheerful ideas for their base. One is that ballot questioins such as those to legalize marijuana in some states will help turnout the Democratic base. That is a valid idea as far as it goes but there is no guarantee that voters who are motivated to turn out because of a ballot question will also vote up and down the ballot for Democratic candidates. Some voters in the past have voted for the referendum only and passed by candidates.
Second is the idea that it is hard to beat Democratic incumbents and yes that is also normally true. But 2014 is the off year of the second term of an unpopular Democratic president and many GOP ads are making the connection to Democratic candidates and their unpopular party leader.
The third idea is that the time-honored Democratic bag of tricks will still work in 2014 and the GOP candidates can be slandered as waging a war against women or seniors or minorities. That is what is beind Democratic attacks on the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision or other decisions that could discourage the Democraic base.
Finally Democrats hope to turn around the unpopular Obamacare law or find some ways to change the conversation and this too has been a special skill of Democratic candidates in the past but unlike some previous years they cannot count on too many Republican campaign mistakes.
The GOP edge on the other hand is being fed by both foreign and domestic policy mistakes by the Obama Administration including the flood of illegal immigrants. In general, Obama fatigue is starting to harden with his negative polls numbers and the larger narrative is that the federal government is intruding too much in the lives of ordinary citizens. Even many liberal Democrats are wondering aloud if the Obama Administration is over reaching in too many ways.
There is a growing worry among several Democratic liberals that President Obama has gone too far in usrurping the war powers of Congress by his unilateral military interventions overseas. If that worry is enough to cost liberal support even for those Democrats who want to distance themselves from Obama, then another part of the Democratic base has less reason to turn out to vote.
In summary, Republicans have the wind at their back in an effort to win the Senate majority but they also need to stay on messages that voters will believe.