Home | Opinion | Columnists | Markos Moulitas

Dems’ key challenges

From the White House to Congress, none but the most deluded dead-enders still think the GOP has much chance of victory this year, no matter how victory is defined. The only real questions remaining are how large a landslide Barack Obama will enjoy, and whether Democrats can garner a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate and a 100-seat House advantage.

At this point, Democrats are poised to press beyond mere victory; they are on the verge of a complete repudiation of modern conservatism and the Republican agenda that would leave the GOP morally, intellectually and financially bankrupt. But breaking the Republicans will require some key, and very difficult, Democratic victories:

Electoral College: Based on poll aggregates at Pollster.com, Obama leads with 320 electoral votes, while another 63 are toss-ups. Can Obama get to 369? That would leave McCain at 169, a crushing 200-electoral-vote margin. An eight-point or greater margin in the popular vote would be gravy, the largest since 1984.

Republican strongholds: People mocked Obama’s primary-era promise to expand the presidential map deep into places like Montana, North Dakota, Indiana, North Carolina and Georgia. Yet those states remain competitive today. Losing states that George W. Bush won big in 2004 would signal a stunning repudiation of the GOP.

Kentucky Senate: Republicans rejoiced at the ouster of then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle (S.D.) in 2004. Democrats now have a genuine chance to return the favor, with Bruce Lunsford running a vigorous challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Winning here wouldn’t just get Democrats closer to 60 — the victory would decapitate GOP leadership.

Georgia Senate: Democrats haven’t forgotten how Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss won his seat, shamefully smearing Vietnam hero and triple-amputee Max Cleland. Jim Martin is poised to deliver payback.

North Carolina Senate: Ousting Sen. Elizabeth Dole, one of the highest-profile members of the Senate, would serve notice that no one in GOP ranks is safe, not even their “celebrities.” Democrat Kay Hagan leads in the polls.

California Proposition 8: With Connecticut recently joining the ranks of enlightened states allowing same-sex marriage, the march toward equality is making inroads nationwide. Conservatives hope to reverse momentum by eliminating that right in California.

Colorado “right-to-work”: Defeating this Republican-backed “right-to-work,” or free-rider, referendum would be the first time in over a decade that one of these anti-worker measures was beaten back at the polls.

Arizona 3rd: Rep. John Shadegg was the dogmatic right’s choice for House Republican leader in 2006, garnering support from the Club for Growth, the National Review and conservative bloggers. If challenger Bob Lord has his way, conservatives would lose one of their strongest voices in Congress.

California 4th: California conservative icon Tom McClintock has carpetbagged 400 miles to try and win this heavily Republican open seat. If Charlie Brown wins, it would be the sixth-most conservative district held by a Democrat — a real blow to California Republicans.

Connecticut 4th: Christopher Shays is the last Republican House member from all of New England. Jim Himes aims to make the region pure blue.

Wyoming At-Large and Texas 7th: These districts, once held by Dick Cheney and George H.W. Bush, respectively, are being heavily contested by Democrats Gary Trauner (Wyo.) and Michael Skelly.

Florida 18th, 21st, and 25th: Winning these seats held by Cuban-American Republicans wouldn’t just break the hard-line Cuban stranglehold in the region, but also leave the House Republican Conference 100 percent lily-white.

Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos.