After losing the White House and nearly 70 congressional seats in the last two elections, Republicans are poised for a strong comeback in 2010, with significant gains likely in the House and a good chance of boosting their numbers in the Senate and statehouses across the country.I personally don't expect majority control to flip to the Republcans next year. That is, not in the House. Forty seats is a huge margin, and actually despite all the glum talk for the Democrats, I think it's going to be anti-incumbent more than anything. That's why what happens with the tea parties is so crucial. Democrats fear the protesters so much that they haven't gotten past demonizing them as "teabaggers." Republicans desperately want to coopt the tea party populism for their own ends, more electoral than policy. We have too many Republicans who diss the grassroots as fringe, for example, the RNC and folks like Newt Gingrich. But if it's one thing I've learned with all of my activism this year, tea party patriots, are in no mood to compromise on principles, and frankly, they'll mobilize in even greater numbers in the months leading up to the 2010 midterms.
The results could hamper President Obama's legislative efforts as he prepares to seek reelection and reshape the political landscape for a decade beyond, as lawmakers redraw congressional and state political boundaries to reflect the next census.
All 435 House seats, 36 in the Senate and the governorships of 37 states will be on the ballot in November. Democrats are favored to retain the Massachusetts seat of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in a special election Jan. 19.
Some of the Democrats' most prominent figures, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, are in serious danger as they seek reelection. Both would probably lose if elections were held today.
"It all adds up to a pretty bad year for the party in power," said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "How bad? I'm not sure we know yet."
However, for all Republicans stand to gain, the party still has problems. Polls show that many voters, though unhappy with Democrats, are even less enamored of the GOP.
Steve Pearce, a former three-term Republican congressman, criticizes both parties as he campaigns for his old House seat in New Mexico, saying the explosion in spending under President George W. Bush has only gotten worse under Obama. "Both parties tend to get there and forget who they were and begin to talk differently than they do here," Pearce recently told a gathering of the Chaves County Republican Women in Roswell.
One big question is whether the GOP can capitalize on the free-floating hostility embodied by the anti-incumbent "tea party" movement to seize back control of Congress, four years after Democrats won power. Republicans need to win 40 House seats and 11 in the Senate -- which, for now, seems unlikely.
Read the rest of the article, in any case.