As one Republican strategist admitted to me recently, if his party fails to take back the Senate next month it will only lead observers to conclude Democratic campaign operatives are far superior to the GOP’s, and Republicans don’t have a chance of winning the White House in 2016.
It isn’t hard to imagine what that would do to the party leading up to the 2016 presidential contest.
Current conditions are so favorable for the GOP — including the president’s poor poll numbers, the states with Senate races, the lower turnout of Democratic groups in midterm elections, the quality of this cycle’s Republican Senate recruits and the daily dose of negative news that should help the party not holding the White House — that Republican Senate gains of fewer than six seats would be a punch to the party’s solar plexus.
If Republicans don’t net those six Senate seats this cycle, they are going to find themselves trying to explain to disgruntled, disappointed donors and voters why and how they will do better in a more difficult political environment.
And they are not likely to have a very good answer.
Rothenberg has a point. The Sheldon Adelsons and the Koch Brothers and other billionaire donors paid for their GOP politicians fair and square according to SCOTUS's Citizens United decision, and they paid good money to be on the winning team. Failing to grab the Senate in 2014 would mark the fourth election in the last five that the GOP has found a way to botch things, after getting crushed in Dubya's second midterms in 2006 and losing to Obama in 2008 and 2012.
When you're throwing that kind of money around, you don't play to lose. They're not going to get involved unless the GOP can show it can win and turn those wins into permanent control of the government. Taking the Senate will remove one more barrier, all they would need then is the White House in 2016, and the game ends for America.
But a roadblock in 2014 would trip them up for at least another four years.
Three weeks to go to election day. Are you ready?