Thanks to the gerrymandering of Congressional districts by the Florida Legislature, three competitive seats exist on the map this cycle. The reality of the current map is that only four seats were drawn to be truly competitive of the 27 in the state, and that fourth seat (The St Petersburg based 13th) was decided in a March Special Election in favor of the Republicans.
Congress is unpopular and incumbents around the country have been facing great challenges even in party primaries. Eric Cantor defeat and Thad Cochran’s near defeat were tell tale signs of the anger on the right that exists this cycle. President Obama’s approval ratings continue to fall partly because of the Affordable Health Care act but probably more so because he has looked indecisive, ineffectual and amateurish in protecting American interest abroad over the course of the last four months.
President Obama’s continued foreign policy bungles may have an impact in each of three marginal seats on the map. In Steve Southerland’s CD-2 many active and retired military personnel reside. The President’s failure to proactively deal with the ambitions Russian imperialist dictator Vladimir Putin and his continued struggles in grasping the situation on the ground in the Middle East could tilt a very tight race in favor of the Republican incumbent.
As Dr. Rachel Sutz Pienta laid out on Wednesday, Democratic Challenger Gwen Graham is well organized and her campaign understands the district from a numbers perspective better than Al Lawson, who was the 2012 Democratic nominee. Off-year elections favor the Democrats in this district as Charlie Crist is almost certain to poll well here. But President Obama’s poor ratings in addition to Southerland’s incumbency keep this seat in the Leans Republican column ever so slightly for this week.
Patrick Murphy in CD-18 dodged a serious Republican challenger. But the districts fundamentals remain in favor of the Republicans particularly in an off-year election. President Obama’s handling of Iran (A policy that I agree with so long as it does not embolden Russia) is likely to be unpopular in this area. The President still has a bad reputation for his dealings with Israel, though I am hard-pressed to explain exactly why. I would agree that the President has done a poor job in general on foreign policy, perhaps the poorest job of any post World War II President, but the Israel issue is not from my perspective one of Obama’s failings. Still his reputation on this issue has hurt Democrats even down ballot in coastal Palm Beach and Broward counties. This is something to watch on the legislative front as well.
Environmental issues are becoming a bigger and bigger concern on the Treasure Coast. On this Murphy is perfectly positioned and looks likely to win moderate Republican votes. Murphy’s emphasis on local issues and excellent constituent relations make him the strongest possible Democrat. Until we know who emerges from a multiple candidate GOP primary field on August 26th, this seat will remains Leans Democrat.
In Joe Garcia’s 26th district the threat is more from Charlie Crist’s sagging poll numbers than the President. Keeping faith that Crist’s recent flip-flop on traveling to Cuba will turn things around in this ever changing district (which is becoming less Cuban-American by the month) Garcia is still the favorite. The NRCC has targeted this seat as a potential pick-up opportunity for the Republicans but we still rate it as Leans Democrat.
Foreign policy issues are usually not on the radar of politicos the way sexy state and domestic issues are. But this President is doing such a poor job at managing the message and proactively sniffing out threats to our national security, that foreign policy is almost certain to play a role in November. If it does, that gives a further advantage to the GOP in an already Republican environment. President Obama’s domestic record is one of positive accomplishments unparalleled since the Administration of Lyndon Johnson. But like LBJ, his handling of foreign affairs could very well doom his Presidency, cost his party and undermine his legacy.
Full ratings below the jump:
FL 5 (Brown)
FL 9 (Grayson)
FL 14 (Castor)
FL 20 (Hastings)
FL 21 (Deutch)
FL 22 (Frankel)
FL 23 (Wasserman-Schultz)
FL 24 (Wilson)
FL 18 (Murphy)
FL 26 (Garcia)
FL 2 (Southerland)
FL 1 (Miller)
FL 3 (Yoho)
FL 4 (Crenshaw)
FL 6 (DeSantis)
FL 7 (Mica)
FL 8 (Posey)
FL 10 (Webster)
FL 11 (Nugent)
FL 12 ( Billarakis)
FL 15 (Ross)
FL 16 (Buchanan)
FL 17 (Rooney)
FL 19 (Clawson)
FL 25 (Diaz-Balart)
FL 27 (Ros-Lehtinen)
Proportional Representative Multi-Member districts could solve the gerrymandering and safe seat situations here in Florida,
“bungles”? sez who?
but go ahead and feed the meme, tough guy
Bungles says public opinion, Steve. And our allies and those in the foreign policy establishment. His mishandling of Iraq now has just compounded his problems.
Public opinion and the foreign policy establishment were all for invading Iraq and “standing tall” in Vietnam.
Those who forget the past…
Well that is true, Steve but this is about races we are talking. Public opinion will determine what happens in November. This was more about how Obama’s unpopular policies being fed by a foreign policy establishment is hurting Democrats potentially. I will say my views on Iraq are way out of the mainstream. I actually advocate talking to ISIS, making a deal and having a client state in Kurdistan and an understanding with Sunnis and former Baathists. But Obama hasn’t gone this way either. He’s simply hoping things work out through inaction or limited action to placate his party. That’s not leadership either.
Then your headline should read something like: “Will Public Dissatisfaction with President Obama’s Foreign Policy Doom Democrats?”
Even more accurate would be “Will Public Dissatisfaction with the State of the World and the Limits of U.S. Power Doom Democrats?”
Problems of democracy under late post-industrial capitalism/corporate dominance…Not to mention the innate limitations of we mere humans.
Want some informed and intelligent analysis?
That’s more or less a libertarian publication that believes in us abandoning our principles to spread democratic values abroad and to protect human rights of those oppressed. If those people had gotten their way, Fascism would have ruled Europe in perpetuity.
Larison is quite brilliant no matter who publishes him. Why don’t you read what he has to say instead of stereotyping him?
I have read him. He is brilliant. Lots of conservatives are brilliant. David Frum is brilliant and he wrote than damn Axis of Evil speech which caused half these problems. Leave Iran out of the speech and we have a partner in the region. Put them in, and look at what has ensued.
David Frum hahaha.
Larison on Frum:
Obama is wise enough to not attempt to control the course of events. “Don’t let your mouth write no check your ass can’t cash.”
Oh. But you too were all ready to throw troops at the Ukraine, weren’t you?
Obama preferred to see how things play out. And it’s looking pretty damned good now, isn’t it, Mr. Liberal Hawk?
I never said throw troops. I felt taking the option off the table was a mistake. Moving troops to Poland may have deterred Putin. Where we disagree is that Russia is a threat to us and must be stopped. An economic and socio-political threat. As far as the Middle East I think we mostly agree. In fact Obama has been far more hawkish than me. I wanted the GOP to impose the war powers act on the unwise Libya intervention. Sending “advisers” to Iraq is madness IMO. Continued American involvement in Afghanistan and drone warfare in Pakistan also highly unwise. By boxing ourselves in calling people terrorists we have limited our options. I would negotiate with the Taliban and with ISIS. Make a deal with Iran. Anything that gets us out of this mess and allows us to concentrate on domestic issues and stopping Russia and China the real threats to American interests.
The Taliban can be worked with. They’ve demonstrated a willingness in the past to talk. ISIS I don’t know but it is worth a shot. Iran will take any reasonable deal honestly. We just need to be reasonable.
Stop with the Russia thing already. They couldn’t even keep a lid on E. Europe. “Upper Volta with missiles,” as was famously said of them.
KK you always have this “cowboy tough talk” on a not easily bullied or pushed around Russia but your not exactly definitive in exactly how you plan to nuter Putin short if sending in troops to the Ukraine for example.
And when you scared off Charlie from going to Cuba, which we totally disagreed on, to show some leadership to end this stupid 55 year embargo, that would have been the perfect non violent engagement to one up Russia and China too for that matter.
So it’s east to criticize Obama but you make no sense or offer any alternative
Couple points on Russia. Obama was totally asleep even though most foreign policy hands understood the threat. He could have beefed up security in the Baltic states, placed a missile defense system in Europe as had been proposed by the Bush Administration and taken an interest in the Euromaidan movement in Ukraine and generally been aware of what Putin might do. Instead the US was caught completely flat footed. Our allies were not but we were. Same for Iraq recently, though that is more complicated and I would urge restraint.
What we have is for better or for worse electorally the image of Democrats, Carter, Clinton, Obama as indecisive and easy to be pushed around. Republicans like Nixon, Reagan and Bush II, were decisive the later two made LOTS of mistakes but the electorate scarcely punished them for it. Bush was reelected in 2004 inspite of leading us into an unnecessary and unwinnable war.
On Cuba, I did not disagree with Charlie’s policies initially. But the polling numbers in Miami-Dade County from multiple surveys told the story. It was a mistake. Since Crist is more about winning elections than any sort of ideological or policy driven motives, it was odd for him to stake out territory that while noble perhaps was killing him among some voters who even supported Obama in 2012. That was my point. He did what he had to do. Let us hope the issue is neutralized now. We have too many down ballot candidates in Miami-Dade that could really suffer if the issue is still on the table for Scott.
As it happens, things in the Ukraine have turned out as well as we could realistically have hoped, and with a minimum of bloodshed.
Nixon got away with a criminal war, yes — shall we model ourselves on him and his 1972 campaign tactics, which got him impeached? Reagan was decisive all right — cut and run in Lebanon and beat up on Grenada and Panama (such bravery). Bush was not legitimately elected in 2004; the GOP stole it with pre-election registration scams and gaming the OH polls on Election Day.
Obama’s “image” has been created by his political enemies and a lazy, self-indulgent press corps.
Elections are not won or lost on foreign policy anyway, except for this: First to Cuba carries the Latin vote forever. The Cuban alte kake’s are dying off.
Agree on Nixon. The murder of Allande should have led to criminal prosecutions. Reagan was perceived as decisive. Was he? No, Lebanon showed that. He was also a criminal. Iran-Contra was the biggest scandal since Teapot Dome in this country. What happened to Reagan? Nothing.
Bush did win in 2004 (not in 2000) despite what Dems have said. 150,000 votes had to be overturned in Ohio. Besides his percentage went up in every swing state (except Ohio) including Florida from 2000. It was clear what voters thought in this polarized electorate.
Obama’s image is partly his own doing. He is indecisive and asleep at the wheel on many of these issues. On the press corp, I tend to agree. The DC press corp has an unhealthy need to attack any outsider. They did it to Carter and Clinton. Both southerners, both in my opinion suffered from the elitism and perception of northern journalists. With Obama they have had the desire to marginalize him in order to promote Hillary Clinton. That still goes on today.
On Cuba the policy is one thing. How it impacts the Crist-Scott race is another and it was clear based on polling Miami wasn’t ready for Crist’s position. So he backpeddled and hopefully will be fine now.
I have kind of changed my view on the Ukraine-Crimea-Russia situation. But overall, Obama has dropped the ball on most foreign policy issues, easily!
Keep in mind the US and UK were parties to an agreement that guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russia signed the same agreement and then violated it. What good are agreements signed with the United States if we cannot back up these guarantees and meekly protest when they are broken. Crimea was as much about precedent as anything else. Should Crimea be part of Russia? Clearly yes although the Tatars who were brutally relocated from there by Stalin and returned after Ukrainian independence now fear for the future.
The point is the US and UK signed guarantees yet did not back them up.
Yes, I agree with what you are saying. My biggest argument for intervening in this situation is because of the violation of sovereignty (a word you learn how to spell without spell check when you constantly talk about Quebec) by Russia. You cannot just go into a country and take over an area.
But then you have to look at the composition of a “nation”. A nation is a grouping of people with the same language, culture, in many cases religion, and a whole host of other things that unite them as a distinct society. If a distinct society wishes to leave a state, and votes to do so, then should they be able to leave, especially when they no longer consider the state that they reside the legitimate holder of the law?
This is when the case of Crimea becomes tricky. If the referendum was just a straight up yes-no vote, like the vote in the Falklands last year, then Crimea would have a strong argument for secession. But because there was not a “no” option on the ballot, the result is questionable. I feel that the Crimean people could have easily shown the intentions of the people to secede without playing trickery with the ballot. This is where they screwed up.
Then comes the question of who the people see as the legitimate holder of power. The people of the Crimea no longer see Ukraine as this force. Therefore, can Ukraine truly hold the Crimea if their laws are no longer respected? The eastern part of the country is a totally different issue, but it must be asked in the case of Crimea.
As far as Steve’s argument, Ukraine could have easily become a member of NATO if they didn’t drag their heels. So, if Ukraine would have become a NATO member, would you have abandoned them if this situation happened? Granted, this situation might not have happened if Ukraine was a NATO member. But still, I feel that the US needs to support countries who have their sovereignty violated. Yes, I know that is a hypocritical remark considering our recent history, but still.
So we should have sent troops to “back them up”?
Let’s not make any more such untenable agreements. There are limits to American power and we had better wise up to that fact.
Steve, do you oppose war just to oppose war? Just wondering.
I oppose wars whose only purpose is to demonstrate “resolve” or create photo ops for domestic political consumption.
But I don’t think that is the case when you are trying to defend a liberal democracy who had their sovereignty violated by a dictator.
Bush stole the 2004 election in OH: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_United_States_election_voting_controversies
Murphy isn’t that safe. The district trends republican even more in off years.
For real analysis in the spirit of the founding fathers.
What percentage does overby the libertarian get in CD-13???
25 to 30% I believe.
We had him at 31% to Jolly’s 47% in last month’s poll,
WOW! That’s interesting news to say the least! Thanks Matt.