Tags: 2014 Midterm Elections | Exclusive Interviews | Steve Malzberg Show | Sean Trende | Democrats | gain | midterms

Analyst Sean Trende: Democrats Can Add Seats in Midterms

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 03:21 PM

Despite such political landmines as Obamacare and Benghazi, Democrats could gain seats in the midterm elections under certain circumstances, says Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics.com.

"It's a real possibility," Trende told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"You'd have to have the president's approval rating increase . . . have the GOP fail to knock off any of the red-state incumbents, and then the Democrats will need some help from Republicans."

As well, the economy and the public's perception of the Affordable Care Act would have to improve, Trende said.

"[The economy has] been kind of trudging along, but if there's an inflection point, it would definitely help the president out," he said.

"The other thing you would need is continued, or some would say, the beginning of good news on Obamacare, because it does slowly [change] perceptions of the law.

"It's not so much a question of Republicans messing something up, although the government shutdown is a good example of how they might do [that], but it's really a question of the primaries in some of these states, where they have weak candidates that they might nominate again."

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As an example, he cited Christine O'Donnell, a tea party activist who ran for Senate — and lost — three times in five years.

In her third attempt, running for the Delaware seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden, O'Donnell lost in the general election to Democrat Chris Coons by a margin of 57 percent to 40 percent.

Trende said elections are mostly about the nation's economy and hot-button issues such as the ACA.

"The Republicans do have quite the story to tell there. I don't think the war on women or some of these racial issues that are being raised are really going to matter all that much," he said.

If Democrats do end up picking up even one Senate seat, it would be "horrible news" for Republicans, Trende said.

"It's that simple. Not only the fact that they would have failed to take the Senate when they had a chance for the third election in a row, but 2016 is a brutal playing field," he said.

"They're almost certainly going to lose seats in 2016, so a Democratic president could come in with a very heavy Democratic Senate."

Trende said the chances of former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts regaining a seat, this time representing New Hampshire, are up in the air.

"He doesn't have a fantastic shot, but he has a good shot, it's the best way to put it," Trende said.

"He's trailing Jeanne Shaheen in the polls, but she's below 50 percent . . . He does have the carpetbagger issue to deal with, but she has an Obamacare issue to deal with."

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The Florida gubernatorial race is also a bit of a horse race.

"[Gov.] Rick Scott has always had a popularity issue almost since the day he was inaugurated, but you've got Charlie Crist as the Democratic nominee, former Republican governor, [who] used to be known as 'Chain Gang Charlie' because he was so tough on crime," he said.

"Now he's a liberal Democrat, so we'll see what the Florida voters do there."

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