I have just a few points to add to the abundance of coverage of yesterday’s primary results. First, based on the results, it seems the “enthusiasm gap” between Democratic and Republican voters has closed. In Kentucky, the big news was that Rand (Ayn) Paul beat the GOP mainstream candidate Trey Grayson– who had been endorsed by Mitch McConnell and even Dick Cheney. Paul’s victory speech warned the established of the coming T-Party movement. Rand ran his own campaign, but benefited from being Ron Paul’s son, which I think is the bigger take away here. Ron Paul is not a T-Party favorite, in large part because his very conservative politics is at least logical and consistent. Not so for much of the T-Party leadership whose political beliefs get jumbled in Palinish garble. To win in Kentucky in November, Rand Paul is going to have to tack to the middle ground, something his victory speech indicated he would not and perhaps could not do. My guess is that Coleman (Dem) picks up this seat come November. If one looks at the Democratic turnout for its primary, they were up by ober 1/3 over the GOP, another good sign for the Dems.
In Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter was going to be toast against Pat Toomey. The anti-incumbent tusnami around the country and the fact that he spent the last 29 years in the Senate as a Republican, and frankly his age and infirmities, were going to make him an easy target for the hard charging Toomey. Further, Toomey has been planning and strategizing to run against Specter. he has no plan against Sestack, who is himself a hard charging middle of the road democrat, and high intelligence and some integrity. This one is going to be close, but I give Sestack the edge.
In Pa 12 cd, the only district in the country that voted for John Kerry in ’04 and John McCain in ’08, the Critz, the Democratic staffer to John Murtha beat his Republican challenger, and is expected to hold on to the seat in November.
Which leaves Bill Halter forcing a runoff against Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas. Already a defeat for Lincoln, this is going to be a big test for progressive to see how well they can turn out the vote for Halter in June.
Although there a lot of good news here for Democrats, and progressive Democrats, one of the mysteries has to do with the total absence of Obama coattails. He stuck his political capital out for Specter and Lincoln (tho his pulled back on Specter this past weekend). He had virtually no effect in MA back in Jan. It seems having the president stump for you makes no difference this year, except for giving you a couple good photos and perhaps a presidential autograph for your collection.
The other take away for Obama is that he need not always tack to the right. It’s okay– and politically wise– to support progressives and make a fight for a more progressive legislature.