Tomorrow's election map looks much like 2006's, but with the parties reversed: the ruling party will probably lose the House, possibly lose the Senate, and probably win a California gubernatorial election for consolation. Here's a preview.
Are the Democrats really going to lose 900,000 House of Representatives seats tomorrow, like people on the news keep saying?
Sort of. They're going to lose many, many seats, probably more than enough to lose their majority. Republicans will need a net gain of 39 to pull this off, and the consensus seems to be that they'll win somewhere between 50 and 60. (Democrats may only be able to flip one seat: the very very very blue Louisiana district of Joseph Cao, a freshman Republican who only barely won because his opponent kept Nigerian cash bribe money in his freezer, and the FBI found it.)
It could be 35 Republican pick-ups, though. Or it could be 80! It's hard to know for sure until people actually vote.
Why is the House so likely to switch parties, but the Senate is always closer? Is it because statewide candidates have to build larger, more diverse coalitions than local candidates who just fire up a small base? Is it because more media scrutiny has been applied to Republican Senate candidates than House candidates? Are there more half-baked theories that pundits can pull out of their asses to explain this when they need column space filled?
There are always more half-baked theories that pundits can pull out of their asses to explain anything when they need column space filled. But the answer is just that the entire House is up for reelection while only one-third of the Senate is.
Maybe you can include a map with your section about the Senate?
Capital idea! From the great analysts at Pollster, here's where things stand (click to enlarge):
Those five yellow states are the ones Pollster considers toss-ups right now, but that could have already changed by the time you read this, since final polls are coming in like hotcakes today.
As it stands, though, Republicans would need to win all five toss-up states and another to reach a 51-seat majority. In Alaska — which is completely insane right now, as Joe Miller is somehow back in the lead in a new poll? Huh? What? — Republicans at least have two shots of winning, since independent Sen. Lisa Murkowski would stay in the Senate Republican caucus. Meanwhile, Republicans Sharron Angle in Nevada, Mark Kirk in Illinois, and Ken Buck in Colorado have kept modest leads on average over their opponents, so you'd have to predict they'd all win if you had to predict, which you don't. Then there's West Virginia, where Democrat Joe Manchin has taken a very modest lead against John Raese. The results here will come in earlier than those of the other most competitive races, so if Manchin loses, then that's the cue for Democrats to start chugging grain alcohol/poison. (More about alcohol in the next section.)
Other possibly competitive races: Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer should beat Carly Fiorina in California, but maybe the hippies will forget to vote; Democrat Robin Carnahan is not going to win Missouri, so why is that state light red?; Republican Rand Paul looks like he's finally buried Jack Conway in Kentucky, showing that nasty campaign ads can backfire, if you're not a Republican; Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, one of the last members of the Senate who thinks that our policies of constant war and assassination and bombs and death and spying and secrets and torture are of Congress' concern, is going to lose for these unpatriotic views; Democrat Joe Sestak is still close enough to beat Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania; a Delaware candidate we've mentioned in passing a couple of times, Christine O'Donnell, will lose to Democrat Chris Coons; and John McCain will sneak his ass back to Washington for another six years of weekly Meet the Press appearances and bridge games with Lindsey Graham.
The Senate could be decided by one seat, and then we'll realize that this whole "election" thing was just a distracting prelude to Emperor Joe Lieberman's self-coronation.
Three paragraphs ago you wrote that there would be "more about alcohol in the next section," so we just skipped straight here. What's the booze news?
Oh, you'll want to get lots of booze if you're on the East Coast, since there's a competitive Alaska race on which everything could depend — UGH — and Alaska's in a timezone that's like 43 hours behind normal human time. What if you run out of alcohol just as the first 3% of Juneau precincts are reporting back their results (sans absentees) (and half the machines broken)? Don't be "that" guy. And stock up on guns, for Christ's sake.
What about the races for governor? Isn't that Republican Internet lady who spent $150 million of her own money to be California's next failed governor going to lose to one of California's previous failed governors? Yeah, Democrat Jerry Brown's going to beat Meg Whitman, most likely. (Don't tell Time.) Which, from a purely point-and-laugh angle, is a real story. She spent $150 million of her own money just to lose a political race! Point and laugh at the funny plutocrat, Democrats. This is how you'll make it through the night.
Will Republican New York gubernatorial candidate "Crazy" Carl Paladino rally to defeat Andrew Cuomo?
Jesus, no. He barely remembers that he's running anymore.
Isn't the Ohio governor's race another bellwether, since Ohio is like, "America: the State"?
Yes, and... sure. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has been a rising star in the national party since he won in 2006, and then the recession hit Ohio especially hard, leaving the once-factory'd middle class state with $0.24 in total statewide money, which angered people. Will voters just kick out any incumbent, even if he's an okay guy?
The Florida governor's race, between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott, is also neck-and-neck. Ohio and Florida, everybody. Just like every election.
Isn't there something on the ballot about marijuana?
Yes, Prop 19 in California, the possible first step in a path towards marijuana legalization, is actually one of the most important votes in the entire country. Will it finally become legal to take some little fucking plant and light it on fire in your living room without SWAT teams armed with auctioned-off Pentagon war machinery raiding your house and shooting your dog because they thought the dog "gave them a look," before arresting you?
Okay, that's enough. Bring up things we missed in the comments! The Gawker Political Desk will be working all night tomorrow, even as Alaskan state volunteers slowly count every Lisa Murkowski write-in vote.
[Photo at top via sundazed/Flickr]