There is a big elephant in the room of the 2016 election that nobody has noticed yet. The down-ticket races. For the uninformed, the Presidential election is at the top of the ballot during an election. All of the other positions, such as Congress, are called the down-ticket races. The vast majority, probably in excess of 95%, of people will vote for a single party from top to bottom on a ballot.
When you look at the polls, Bernie Sanders absolutely crushes every potential Republican candidate. It isn’t close, it is a landslide. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, barely squeaks out a victory or loses. The polls have been like this for months. Not just one, all of them. Sanders lowest margin of victory is as big or bigger than any margin of victory that Clinton has and are as high as 17%. While Clinton tops out around 8% ahead vs Trump and is a coin toss with Cruz and Rubio in the latest polls. If Trump were to swing towards the center in a general election, Clinton could easily flop.
Sanders is also the only candidate with a positive favorability rating. Clinton’s (un)favorability rating is on par with the Republican candidates. Huffington Post has a section showing favorability ratings for all of the candidates.
You might have heard a small mention about it in most media outlets. However, what you hear consistently from political pundits is that Hillary is the only electable candidate on the Democratic side. The American people are saying one thing, while the “knowledgeable insiders” are saying the exact opposite.
Why is that? Well, I think the answer to that is simple. The same Wall St moguls that own the RNC and DNC and are funding the Clinton campaign happen to own the media outlets. They have invested a lot of time and money prepping a Clinton presidential candidacy. 4 Years and tens of millions of dollars. They want the status quo and a return on their investment.
The Republican candidates are repugnant. There is no doubt about that. Among independent voters, which make up about 40% of the voting population, Sanders is very popular. Both the Republicans and Clinton are very unpopular among independents. Among Republicans, Clinton is satan incarnate. Even among Democrats, Clinton does not have a lot of enthusiasm, outside of the DNC itself.
What does that mean? It means that Clinton will have to bank on the Republican candidate being so repugnant to independent voters that they will show up in large numbers to vote against the Republican. Voting against someone does not generate enthusiasm. Lack of enthusiasm leads to lack of voter turn out. Low voter turnout ALWAYS favors Republicans. Look at 2010 and 2014. It is a simple fact. Democrats have more numbers, but Republicans have a much higher percentage of people who vote no matter what. Throw on top of that all of the voter suppression laws that have passed since (and because of) 2010 and massive gerrymandering. Democrats could not only lose, but lose by quite a bit.
So what is the elephant in the room and what does this have to do with the down-ticket races? Well, since the vast majority of people vote a single party ballot, if Democrats lose the Presidency, it is likely they will lose more seats in the House and Senate.
The Senate is currently split 54(R)/44(D)/2(I). The 2 independents caucus with the Democrats. There are 34 Senators up for re-election this year, 10 Democrats, 24 Republicans. 6 Republicans and 3 Democrats are considered vulnerable or are being vacated in swing states. The whole house is up for re-election of course. The current split is 247(R) to 188(D). That is 56% Republican.
Think for a moment if there is historically low voter turn-out in 2016. Similar to 2014. With low enthusiasm for the candidate of either party and most people just voting against the other candidate, that is a very distinct possibility.
In that case, the Republicans win the Presidency. In the down ticket, you have Democrats losing at least 3 seats in the Senate. The other seats are relatively secure, but you never know what could happen. It would only take 3 more unexpected losses before the Republicans have a 60 seat filibuster proof majority. Throw in 14 seats in the House and you get 60% majority there also, though it isn’t really needed.
That would mean that for 2 full years, Republicans can do ANYTHING they want. They can write legislation, pass it without debate, and sign it into law the same day. They could pass their whole agenda and then some with exactly 0 input, feedback, or compromise with Democrats. If they were to win all of the seats in the Senate, they would have 63 and only need 4 Democrats to cross the aisle to pass a constitutional amendment.
Within 2 years, they could roll back the entire 20th century, sell off all public lands, and eliminate the entire Federal Government other than homeland security and the military. On top of that, you have the possibility of having the Supreme Court swing as far as 6-3 with hardcore conservative justices.
So think about that long and hard. A Trump/Cruz/Rubio presidency that gets a blank check to do whatever they want. Anything they want to do can be written into law in a single day. There would be no recovery from that. The US would go back 120 years to the gilded age of the robber barons almost overnight. If you are a member of any sort of minority group (race, religion, LGBT), plan on never leaving the house again.
That single thought, even a remote possibility of that, should be the scariest (political) thing any liberal could think of. The word nightmare doesn’t begin to describe that future. Right now, the fact that the possibility of that happening is even a real thing should be absolutely terrifying. It is real. It is far too real. Ignore what the talking heads on tv and newspapers are telling you. When you look at the numbers from the actual voters, that is very real and at least a 57 seat majority for Republicans in the Senate is highly likely.
Flip that around for a moment. Sanders has a landslide victory over any Republican candidate. The Democrats pick up at least 6 seats in the Senate giving them a 2 seat control. Pick off a few more Republicans that were thought to be safe, out of the other 18 up for re-election, and have a massive wave of change in the house. Suddenly, that “impossible” Sanders agenda doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.
On the other hand, Clinton squeaks by in the general election. With the massive gerrymandering, Republicans easily maintain control of the house and the Senate becomes a toss-up. Mitch McConnell holds a secret meeting on the day she is sworn in to block every piece of legislation on her agenda (other than bombing random countries) and congress goes on vacation for another 2 years.
So there it is for you. If Clinton is the nominee, and loses the general election, the resulting down-ticket losses have a clear and distinct path to permanently flushing the country down the toilet.
Are liberals willing to bet the farm (and the country) on a coin toss. That is what it is. When you look across the polls and ignore the pundits, at best, Clinton is consistently a coin toss to win. Personally, I think those odds really suck, given what is at stake in the bigger picture.
For more about the poll numbers watch this: