WASHINGTON - Blocking the right-wing Republican power grab is the number one priority of all progressives in the Nov. 4, 2014 elections.
Yet mainstream pundits opine that the race is already won by the Republicans. The way they crunch the numbers, there is no way the Republicans can lose. These inky prognosticators predict the Republicans will pick up the six seats they need to gain majority control of the Senate making Kentucky's grumpy Mitch McConnell the new Majority Leader.
Start with the money. According to the website, "Open Secrets," McConnell, now the Minority Leader, has a war chest stuffed with $21.7 million to smooth the way to his reelection. His Democratic opponent, Alison Grimes, has $8.1 million. How can Grimes hope to overcome such an enormous gap?
Yet all the evidence is that McConnell is running scared, that a huge upset could well be in the making in the Bluegrass State.
Check the Cook Political Report's latest monthly report.
Most revealing in the Cook report is the number of "toss up" Senate races: eight. That shows that despite the lopsided Republican advantage in money, the GOP is far from assured of victory.
Similarly, in the House, where all 435 House seats are up for grabs, and the Republicans currently hold a 17-seat majority, Cook rates thirteen races as "toss ups." The actual number of undecided races will grow in the weeks ahead as voters ponder the grim result of GOP-instigated gridlock in our nation's capital.
The outcome will be decided by voter turnout. If voters turn out as they did in 2008 and 2012, the Republicans will be swamped. That is why repeal of the Voting Rights Act and voter suppression dirty tricks are so crucial to Republican hopes of stealing the 2014 election.
They are counting on a repeat of the 2010 debacle in which low turnout handed majority control of the House to the Republicans.
The GOP House promptly shut down the government. They blocked extension of unemployment benefits. They prevented passage of President Obama's job-creating stimulus package that would have created two to three million jobs while repairing or rebuilding the nation's crumbling bridges, schools, and power grid. They slashed Food Stamps and Medicaid. They waged endless war against Obamacare. And now they have launched a lawsuit against President Obama, a maneuver dripping with racism.
The election-year dirty tricks are on full display. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sent out a message July 14 signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, warning, "Friend, these deadlocked polls say it better than I ever could....Karl Rove just funneled $20 million worth of brutal attacks into six must-win Senate races---exactly how many the GOP needs to take control....This is DANGEROUS and could give the Republicans an insurmountable advantage. If the Republicans win and take over the Senate, Medicare will be dismantled, Social Security will be raided, and abortion rights will be stripped away."
In five key states - Alaska, North Carolina, Iowa, Arkansas, and Colorado - Republicans are in a dead heat or narrowly trailing the Democratic candidates. This means the Democrats can win every single one of these races if the coalition of labor unions, African Americans, Latinos, women, and youth is fully mobilized. Labor is of critical importance since the AFL-CIO and its allies have millions of members. Carl Rove's money machine is pumping anywhere from two and a half million to five and a half million into each of these key races.
The real key in all these races is turnout and part of the challenge is convincing voters that their ballot will make a difference. In her eloquent report last January to the National Committee of the Communist Party USA, Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA Political Action Commission, said that the Party and Young Communist League "can help determine the outcome through mass struggle which changes consciousness and alters the public discourse and through voter registration, education, and turnout."
Some of those mass struggles are the movement to increase the minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. In Seattle, for example, Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council have already approved a $15 minimum wage.
Comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship was approved by the majority Democratic Senate. But it is blocked in the Republican-majority House. Fishman points out that if this legislation had been approved and signed into law, the current shameful, racist offensive against refugee children from Central America would not be raging, instigated by the most reactionary Republicans and a few Democrats as well.
The outcome of the Nov. 4 election is yet to be determined. Rising American Electorate (RAE), a group that played a big role in helping turn out youth, single mothers, low income workers, and other disenfranchised people to reelect Obama in 2012, warns that 21 million of these RAE voters "are not committed to vote this year."
Our job is to convince those millions to vote as if people's lives depend on it.
Photo: Despite an overwhelming lead in the money department, GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell appers to be running scared in the battle against Democrat Allison Grimes, his challenger. J. Scott Applewhite/AP