Non-presidential election years like 2014 can be tough for Democrats who have tended to do better in years when more voters turn out. Will 2014 be better? A lot is at stake for Democrats on the national level with the Republicans pushing to take over the US Senate and keep control of the House. The New York Times published a 2014 Senate Landscape Analysis on 3/2/2014 breaking down the upcoming Senate races.
Senators serve for six years. The current makeup of the US Senate is 53 Democrats and 2 Independents who vote with them, and 45 Republicans. Republicans need 6 more Senators to get the majority and flip the Senate. The New York Times analysis shows 34 continuing Democrats and 30 continuing Republicans. Of the seats up for election in 2014 they count 6 solid Democratic seats and 5 leaning Democratic. They count 12 solid Republican seats and 1 leaning Republican. And in the middle there are 12 states that could “flip” and go either way.
Here is a list of the 12 state races that the New York Times analysis says could go either way:
North Carolina – Democratic Senator Kay Hagan
West Virginia – open seat, Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller retiring
Arkansas – Democratic Senator Mark Pryor
Iowa – open seat, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin retiring
Montana – open seat, Democratic Senator Max Baucus resigned to be Ambassador to China
South Dakota, Democratic Senator Tim Johnson retiring
Colorado – Democratic Senator Mark Udall
Michigan – open seat, Democratic Senator Carl Levin retiring
Louisiana – Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu
Alaska -Democratic Senator Mark Begich
Kentucky – Republican Mitch McConnell
Georgia – open seat, Republican Saxby Chambliss retiring
As the New York Times notes, the Koch Brothers are already spending lavishly to try to tip as many Senate seats to the Republicans as possible. They are spending millions in advertising in key states through their PAC, Americans for Prosperity.
The article says that Americans for Prosperity is pursuing
“…its overarching goal of convincing Americans that big government is bad government. As the group emerges as a dominant force in the 2014 midterm elections, spending up to 10 times as much as any major outside Democratic group so far, officials of the organization say their effort is not confined to hammering away at President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. They are also trying to present the law as a case study in government ineptitude to change the way voters think about the role of government for years to come.
“We have a broader cautionary tale,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity. “The president’s out there touting billions of dollars on climate change. We want Americans to think about what they promised with the last social welfare boondoggle and look at what the actual result is.”
Leaders of the effort say it has great appeal to the businessmen and businesswomen who finance the operation and who believe that excess regulation and taxation are harming their enterprises and threatening the future of the country. The Kochs, with billions in holdings in energy, transportation and manufacturing, have a significant interest in seeing that future government regulation is limited.
Democrats say their own research has shown that voters are skeptical about candidates who benefit from political spending by superrich businessmen with an antigovernment ideology.
“The notion that two billionaires are bankrolling Republican candidates because they support an agenda that is good for the Koch brothers and bad for middle-class families is very persuasive to voters,” said Matt Canter, the deputy executive director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The Koch Brothers are pushing for what is good for the Koch Brothers, not what is good for America per se. They are concerned about profits, their bottom line, whereas our democratic government is concerned with the human rights of the citizens of our country. Basic human rights are concerned with political, cultural, economic, social and civil rights. These rights include such things as the right to food, clean water and clean air, the right to have a job to support yourself, the right to an education, the right to shelter, right to security, right to physical and mental health, the right to be free and not a slave or indentured servant, the right to equal protection under the law and much more.
The Koch Brothers and the Republicans these days support the libertarian philosophy that puts the rights of corporations and making money over basic human rights. The Kochs are not talking about clean water or everyone having equal access to an education or healthcare. They are talking about the government being as small as possible and not regulating businesses but letting them do whatever they want to accumulate wealth in a free market economy. They have been very successful at this as wealth inequality has been steadily increasing in our country as middle income and lower income wages have flattened out while profits and income from our economy has been accumulating in the hands of fewer and fewer.
It is only a matter of time before the economy collapses as fewer and fewer Americans have money to buy the products and services being marketed by the corporations. The current system is unsustainable. The only question for the public is when they will wake up and see that the libertarian philosophy and economic policies are not in their interests and vote the Republicans out of office and move back to supporting the Democratic policies that emerged out of the Great Depression and the Great Society that put their priority on helping people, not corporations and the few who are hoarding the wealth of America.