Max Baucus announced his intention to step down from the Senate in a shocking move April 23rd. After winning six previous terms, the Democratic Senator from Montana will retire in 2014 making him the sixth incumbent Democrat to step down. With eight open seats already, the mid-term elections are growing more exciting by the day. Of the eight open seats, three lean Republican (Georgia, South Dakota, and Nebraska), two lean Democratic (New Jersey and Michigan) and the remaining three cannot decide (West Virginia, Montana, and Iowa). All of the races have the potential to be toss-ups pending several factors and can decide a change in leadership within the Senate. Along with the open seats, many incumbents are considered vulnerable.
How do the Republicans win back the Senate?
Many such as Rand Paul suggest sticking to your values and ideology. Others like John Huntsman say move to the center.
A recent poll by ABC/Washington Post finds that 70% of respondents find the Republican Party out of touch with Americans. In what is still bad news, but not completely bad, 51% believe the Democratic Party is out of touch.
It is well known that both parties have moved away from the center every election since the 80’s, most would argue mid 60’s. The Democrats moved to the left, and the GOP ran to the right, and some straight off a cliff.
Gallup has kept up with individual’s ideology for years, and like always the conservatives outweigh the liberals. Most recently 40% to 21%. 40% is high, but it is not 51%, that is where the 35% of moderates come in. More recently the moderates have sided with the Democrats while the Republicans are on the cliff, some rock-climbing, others jumping off with pride.
While Rand Paul and other tea party members are sticking to their conservative values, the Democrats are winning races that could easily be Republican victories, for example Missouri and Indiana’s 2012 Senate elections. One state that leans Republican and another that worships them, led by Democrats due to stupid comments.
At the end of the day is it better to lose and stick to your ideology, or compromise, moderate, and have control over important legislation that affects everyone in the present and future? To lose five million voters or steal five million from your opponent, to keep things as they are where you continue to lose? The decision is pretty clear.