President Barack Obama is having a rough sixth year in office; the Ebola scare is serious enough to take the even bigger threat of ISIS off the front page if only for a moment.
With sixth years being so bad, why are the first term mid-term elections often more tilted to the opposition? The Republicans may make some gains, even getting a majority in the Senate, but it likely will not be like the 2010 elections.
In 2010, there was still the uncertainty of what an Obama Administration might do, with a national healthcare policy being one item. Now, even with two serious threats that have not really been handled well, there is less of a landslide feeling going into this election.
It is a more interesting mid-term election cycle, but not a more dangerous one for the Democratic Party.
The governor’s races are the most unpredictable, with Florida basically a dead heat. The Colorado gubernatorial race is closer than the Democrats would like to see. Arkansas, home to some of the last conservative Democrats, looks like it could tilt red.
Other than the drama in those states, the sixth year woes of an incumbent president are not trickling down too greatly. Georgia may elect Democrat Michelle Nunn to the Senate, which would be a gain for them.
There is not as much at state for the Democrats as is bandied about in the press and on television. What is at stake is the president’s legacy. Every two-term president puts his eyes on the history books. Obama is in the history books on his 2008 election alone, but now there is ambiguity on how his presidency will look – when looking back.
Before this ugly year six, he tagged ending the Iraq War, passing healthcare, and overseeing an economy that was crawling back to his mast. Regardless of whether you liked any of those accomplishments, they are his to claim. But now, some of that is at risk.
We could be back in Iraq real fast. Healthcare is still in his win column despite its controversial rollout, but that is not a sexy historical issue. If the economy bounces back enough, however, Obama’s presidency will have a cornerstone that all else can be stacked around, assuming we are not bogged down in the Middle East.
As for this November, there are a lot of juicy elections on which to focus, but they just do not have a national feel. The 2014 elections are not nationalized as were the 2010 elections.
One election to watch, however, is the New Mexico gubernatorial race. Incumbent Republican Governor Susanna Martinez is about to be re-elected by enough percentage points to be entered into conversations about 2016.
Martinez is no novelty candidate trotted out by a party that desperately needs a national figure. She is a serious, crime-fighting governor from a state that we really never hear from nationally. Whether she can see Mexico from her house or not, she will probably refrain from such outbursts.
There is a lot of time between now and 2016, but rest assured that her's is a name you will hear often and for good reason.