The announcement that Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh won’t seek a third term in Congress will add to much of mainstream media’s constant predictions that Democrats are in big trouble this November.
Although that’s a constant prediction these days, however, the numbers simply do not support that prediction.
So far, Bayh is the fifth Democratic senator to announce he’s not seeking re-election. But six Republican senators have already announced they will not seek re-election.
OK. So the big upset for Democrats is to take place in the House, right? Not necessarily.
So far, 14 House Democrats announced they’re not seeking re-election. On the Republican side, that number swells to 18, 19 if you take into account Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who’s vacating his seat and running for his brother’s old seat in another district.
Strategists from both sides are bickering about what these numbers really mean, if anything.
GOP experts say they’re announcing so many retirements because Republicans are seeking opportunities to run for major offices in their home states. The others, according to experts, are in areas that are traditionally conservative and will be easy seats to defend.
Democrats counter that so many Republicans are bowing out because they don’t believe Republicans will recapture the majority any time soon.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Washington Post that Democrats will hold their ground.
"The fact that you have 10 percent of House Republicans retiring suggests they don’t believe their own hype about taking back the House. If that was a realistic prospect, people would be running for office, not from it."
Republicans are also counting on winning several key contested seats, including the one held by Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
There’s no question that many Democrats are tied to a series of issues that many Americans are unhappy with.
A dying push for health care reform, unpopular bailouts for the banking industry and a swelling unemployment rate only add to voter frustration toward sitting legislators.
But are Republicans really regrouping and building momentum? Or do their supporters just speak (or scream) louder?
One thing the GOP has going for it is a clear, concise and agreed-upon message. They want "their" government back. They want less restriction and a smaller government. They want the American government out of their pockets and doctors’ offices. Their message is uniform, and their supporters know where they stand.
Democrats, on the other hand, can’t get their messages straight. For the most part, they all want the same things, they just can’t agree upon an approach to get there.
And, for some reason, they refuse to defend themselves. Why Democrats hold the executive office and both chambers of U.S. Congress, yet they can’t seem to get anything done when it comes to progressive legislation, bewilders us. If anything is hurting the party’s stance, it’s the Democrats themselves.
It’s highly probable that a few Democrats will lose valuable seats in November, but a clean sweep by Republicans isn’t likely. Numbers actually support that prediction.