2016 Election Optimism

2016 Election OptimismAs a Democrat, it’s hard not to watch the current GOP primary debacle and smile with a certain sense of optimism.  Democrats are poised for a strong election cycle, gaining back territory that was lost as a result of low voter turnout in 2014. With the unemployment hovering around 5%, gas prices at $2.00, uninsured Americans at the lowest level in decades, and the economy pacing upward in a consistent manner, Democrats are ready to continue their leadership in 2016.

The 2016 election is being influenced by changing voter demographics and trends. Hispanics will play an even bigger role as will millennial voters, both key demographics for the Democratic Party. Voter suppression efforts are currently being enacted across states by Republicans to counter changing voting blocks and reduce voter turnout. The GOP continues to evolve into party of old white voters, whose dedication to the polls remains their saving grace. Increasing voter turnout across minorities and youth by a mere 5% would result in a 2008-esk landslide for Democrats.

White House:  2016 will be remembered as the implosion of the Republican Party. Neither of the current GOP front-runners, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, can carry Ohio nor Pennsylvania in the general election, ensuring Democrats retain control of the White House. Both Cruz and Trump continue to flame overtly divisive rhetoric in a chest thumping match, creating a partisan atmosphere that will continue to turn off independent support. Hillary Clinton remains the strongest challenger for 2016, given her broad foreign policy experience and her time in the legislative and executive branches of government. Secretary Clinton is polarizing, but against any GOP challenger her experience is unmatched. Even Bernie Sanders entertains support across polled independents when placed against GOP front runners.

Senate:  Winning back the Senate is a realistic goal for the Democratic Party. As it stands, incumbent Republicans have strong Democratic challengers in several blue states including Illinois, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Other states that could potentially flip control include North Carolina and Missouri and will be decided by independent voter turnout.  Overall Republicans have 24 seats to defend in 2016 verses 10 for the Democrats, forcing hard resourcing decisions for the Grand Old Party.

House:  Paul Ryan has temporarily calmed the storm with House leadership. He was able to deliver an Obamacare repeal bill to the President’s desk forcing a veto. He also constructed a meaningful budget deal compromising with Democrats on several key issues. Although he looks poised for a solid 2016, the Freedom Caucus will eventually unravel sending the House back into disarray. Even more problematic, if Democrats retain the White House the extreme nature of the GOP partisans will become more visible.

Much like 2010 and 2012, House Republicans will probably lose the popular vote while still maintaining control of the House, further shedding light on the corrupt Gerrymandering process employed by state legislators. Republicans will also see their lead shrink with 16 “toss-up” seats in play verses Democrat’s five.

Given the elections are still 10 months away uncertainty still reigns. Any candidate can be faced with a scandal or a significant gaff that could change the dynamics of the contests. With this being said, Democrats control the 2016 race and are in position to shift the power balance.

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