1 Cory Gardner CO1 Dan Sullivan AK

Two GOP likely winners to watch : Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Alaska’s Dan Sullivan

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Much alarm is being sounded by those who don’t like the prospect of seeing Republicans achieve a majority in the US Senate — as seems quite lilely to happen tomorrow. We’re not so sure it’s a bad thing.

As a majority, the Republicans will be held to account. It’s so much easier to be the minority. All you have to do is oppose and criticise. Not so when you’re the majority. Then you have you propose and to face up to criticism.

Some will say, “but the Republican already are the majority, in the House, and they’re nothing if not opposers and criticizers.” That is true; but with the Senate firmly in Democratic hands these past six years, the House GOP majority can act like a minority, knowing that their opposition to everything will be blocked in the Senate and thus remain just talk.

It will now be different if, as polls predict, the GOP adds six to eight to its current 45 Senators. South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and even Louisiana and Alaska seem poised to elect Republicans, and New Hampshire looks on the verge; only Kansas, of current GOP senate seats, lookms ripe to go the other way. That adds up to a Senate with 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats.

Some Republican radicals plan to use their majority to scrap Obamacare or greatly change it; to limit Federal spending; to oppose any efforts at immigration reform or pay equity. That is certainly what the Republicans of 2010-2012 would have done. Today, the GOP walks a differnt route. Though skeptical of Federal deficits and spending, critical of aspects of Obamacare, and uneasy with path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the GOP of now has tempered its rhetoric : compromise seems in the offing, maybe even innovation. The young generation of GOP operatives insists on it. For them — urbanites mostly — the GOP must change its ways, its culture, its priorities and move from the rural countryside to the downtowns : where the next generation of elections will be won.

A few Republican Senators get this already. I’m betting that if the GOP does take control of the sebate, more Senators still will find their way to new agendas and new campaign fields.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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