Some 2008 Thoughts
-The Democratic Party will keep control of the US Senate and will expand their margins. Expect 45 or fewer Senate seats to remain in GOP hands. I don’t see anyway to avoid this outcome.
-It looks like the Democrats are “borrowing” a few house seats from the GOP (about 10-12 total). With competent candidates and campaigns combined with a solid national movement lead by the RNC we should get a majority of those back. The electorate might tolerate a GOP controlled house if it looks like the Democrats are going to win the White House and the Senate.
-There’s a very good chance a Democrat will be in the White House. If the GOP candidate is Rudy Giuliani it’s a toss up which will come down to the wire. If any other GOPer gets the nomination there is an 80-90% chance the President will be a Democrat.
-Only a tremendous gaffe by Hillary Clinton (or the eventual Democratic candidate) will derail her (their) campaign enough to allow someone like Romney or Fred Thompson to win the general election.
-GOP money and focus needs to be put on winning US House races.
-There are two schools of thought about the 3rd Congressional District in Minnesota. The conservatives look at this as an opportunity to put a conservative in a GOP leaning district. “Pundits” think the ideal candidate must be another Ramstad, a social moderate or liberal and the candidate should be preferably female. Both schools of thought are probably wrong. An ideal candidate must have a clear strategy to win the center but they can have fiscal and social conservative “cred.” Pawlenty and Coleman both win in the 3rd despite both being pro-life males because on issues like education and the environment they hold populist views. Appealing to the centrist voter is going to be the key for the GOP nationwide, like it or not.
-Norm Coleman has a very good shot at winning re-election.
-That’s probably the only good news the GOP is going to have. It will take major DFL mistakes and lots of resources to win back some state house seats (and the DFL has been making some mistakes) but I see most of the resources available to the GOP in Minnesota going to the 3rd District and Senate race. State House candidates and BPOUs are basically on their own and that’s a bad thing.
-How the War in Iraq develops over the next 13 months will be the largest factor in deciding how the GOP performs in 2008 followed closely by the economy. If there isn’t any clear improvement in Iraq and/or any kind of economic downturn will lead to a Dem controlled House/Senate/Presidency and in Minnesota it will probably lead to a Dem victory in the 3rd and there’s a slim chance of Coleman losing his seat. That is to say, the GOP and MNGOP can do everything right in recruiting good candidates, raising money and framing a perfect message to centrist voters and still lose big time.