The conventional wisdom and polling to this point has suggested that election 2010 would be a blowout victory for Republicans, one where they were almost certain to win back the House of Representatives and had at least a 50% shot at winning back the Senate. Republicans were so confident they were, as the saying goes, measuring the drapes in the largest offices in the capitol building.
Unfortunately for these Republicans, something unexpected has started to happen in the last few weeks. Two of the last three weeks, including the most recent week, Gallup has had the national race a statistical tie. The last week actually has Democrats ahead by a point.
Individual races have started to show a change in momentum. Rand Paul in Kentucky had a 15 point lead a few weeks ago. Now the race is within the margin of error. The Democratic candidates for Senate and Governor in California were trailing their Republican counterparts. Now, the Democratic candidates have five and nine point leads respectively. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, once considered a lost cause for Democrats, has a five point lead on his Republican opponent. (1)
Why has this trend reversal happened? There are three main reasons.
#1 - This year's Republican Team is Wackjob Central
Republicans have been trying to make the case since a month into the Obama administration that Obama's policies were too extreme left (they aren't, if anything they are center-left). Instead of trying to follow-up that line of attack with center-right candidates, they nominated the most radical right wingnut candidates this country has ever seen. While it seems like I am saying the same things the Republicans and conservative media are saying, from the opposite side of course, unlike the Republicans, I can back up my claim. Consider the following:
While we are accustomed to Republican candidates being against a woman's right to have an abortion, five high-profile Tea Party Republican SENATE candidates, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ken Buck of Colorado, Joe Miller of Alaska, Sharron Angle of Nevada, and Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, are even against a woman's right to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest! Women would have to have their rapists baby. Girls raped by an uncle or cousin or their fathers would have to give birth to a child from a resulting pregnancy.
Christine O'Donnell, the Republican senatorial candidate from Delaware who was one of the five I mentioned above made the rounds on national television talk shows a few years ago claiming that scientists had merged mouse and human DNA and that their were mice running around with human brains. More recently and continuing even today, O'Donnell is on a crusade against masturbation. Masturbation is adultery according to O'Donnell. Such nuttiness prompted Stephen Colbert to marry his right hand on national television in a mocking attempt to avoid breaking what I can only described as the "O'Donnell eleventh commandment."