The signs for flipping the Senate may be a bit brighter. And Nevada can help. | THE POLITICUS

The signs for flipping the Senate may be a bit brighter. And Nevada can help.

     Right now, the talk of the town is the still heavy lift possibility of flipping the House in 2018, and for good reason. The +20 turnaround in Ruby Red KS a couple of weeks ago, coming within a handful of votes of winning GA-06 outright last night, the sudden announced departure of Jason Chaffetz in 2018 today, all good reasons. Add to that the fact that there may be some optimism brewing about Texas, the changing demographics there are making several districts nowhere near as deeply conservative as they were a few years ago. And the influx of younger, higher educated, liberal trending voters to tech and business friendly states like North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia may be impacting districts there as well. And over all hangs the pall of one Donald J. Trump.

     But let’s not forget the Senate. I know, the Senate is a challenge, with the Democrats having many more seats to defend than the Republicans, several in states that went for Trump in 2016. And the GOP has already targeted several of those states as ripe for picking, I get that.

     But there are still hopeful signs. In a DIARY on the Kos today, it is noted that Joaquin Castro is leading Ted Cruz in TX by 4 points at this early stage, and another Democratic lawmaker is tied with him. And another DIARY speaks of growing enthusiasm in Tennessee for a Democratic Iraq vet, noting that incumbent Bob Corker has been coy on whether or not he’ll run for reelection next year. And there are still a couple of Republicans running in 2018 that the Democrats are getting good vibes about. And let’s not forget the fact that you can’t gerrymander a Senate seat, and I wonder how much “buyers remorse” may be taking hold in some of these states when you look at Hair Furor’s latest poll numbers.

     Nevada should be one of them It has gone Blue in the last three Presidential cycles, and in 2016 flipped 2 GOP held House seats in the Las Vegas area. And Dean Heller is a put up job anyway. He was perfectly content to soak the taxpayers in the House until then Senator John Ensign got caught doing the horizontal Mambo with a staffer from a supportive PAC and had to resign. Governor Sandoval appointed Heller in 2011, and Heller won a full term in 2012, beating a truly rotten Democratic opponent by 1 lousy point while Obama was cleaning Romney’s clock by 7 points.

     He has not won hearts and minds locally in the last 6 years, and is making it even worse for himself now. He has recently graced our pages rather frequently the last few days, and the content of diaries like THIS and THIS are not going to make him likely to flip to us while he eats his whole grain muffin and coddled eggs in the morning. One gets the feeling that Heller just is not cut out emotionally or tactically for winning statewide national races.

     And Heller is getting absolutely hammered, especially in the media, on almost everything. Being basically house bound, I have MSNBC and CNN on most of the day, and there is hardly an hour that goes by that Heller isn’t getting slammed by PAC ads. First it was voting “no” on Neil Gorsuch. Then it was slapping him silly about not voting to repeal the ACA. And now he’s getting chopped and pureed about supporting funding for Planned Parenthood, which is a major women’s healthcare provider out here. And the Democrats haven’t even picked out an opponent yet!

     And this bombardment is having the desired effect, even if not on him personally yet. Both of the above linked recent diaries deal with his pathetic responses to questions in his latest town halls, desperately trying to walk between raindrops, and failing badly. The first one was on his stance on healthcare, and he flubbed it. The second was on Planned Parenthood, and he first gave a positive answer, and then contradicted if less than 5 minutes later. And notice that both of these were subjects that have received heavy pressure ad airtime on local networks, and even cable. So, even if Heller isn’t paying attention, constituents are, and they’re calling him out on it.

     Look, every race will be different, and tactics will vary. But at least here in Nevada, the bombardment of TV pressure ads is really educating the constituents, which in turn is driving pressure on Congressslugs and Senators in editorials and town hall meetings. Trump’s continuing, and seemingly even deepening unpopularity is putting even more pressure on them, and even putting them in a bind. I can only speak for Nevada, but as far as I can tell, unless we nominate a Democratic version of Sharron (Li’l Miss “2nd amendment remedies”) Angle, the Heller seat should be a very likely pickup seat for the Democrats. Let’s get to work on the rest of them, huh?