Top Blue Dog Joins List of Vulnerable Dems

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The debate over health care reform has left many important questions up in the air. Will the bill include a public option? Will the pharmaceutical industry support the President’s goals? Is Barack Obama a Nazi?

Those questions aside, I think one thing is certain: the longer the debate rages, the more vulnerable the Dems become in their hopes for reelection in 2010. Last week, the widely respected Cook Political Report said that the health care debate “has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats” and predicted a net loss of at least 6-12 seats in the 2010 midterm elections.

Recent polling conducted by Research 2000 indicates that Tennessee Blue Dog Rep. Jim Cooper could be among those casualties, as his favorability ratings are lagging way behind both President Obama’s and his state’s Democratic Governor, Phil Bredesen. This led Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos to suggest that the Dems should mobilize a primary challenger to remind Cooper to support a public option… or else. Of course, this prompted a cyber shouting match in which Cooper called the poll’s veracity into question and said that Markos falsely suggested that he did not support a public option (he has not yet committed either way.)

But moderates aren’t the only Democrats losing support in the midst of the health care confusion, congressional bruhaha, and tea bag hullabaloo. In fact, a recent poll shows that 40-year Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), whose wife recently pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges, is also vulnerable to a tough 2010 reelection challenge. According to the poll, only 40 percent of his constitutents say he deserves another term, while 44 percent disagree.

Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could lose his seat. A recent poll shows the Nevada Democrat losing to two Republicans, Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden, by eleven and five points respectively if the election were held today.

So to put it lightly, 2010 prospects aren’t looking good for the Democrats. In a new midterm rundown, numbers guru Nate Silver writes that “7 of the 10 upgrades (meaning that a party switch is now more likely) were made to Democratic-held seats.” As Silver notes, barring an event like 9/11, the new president’s party typically loses seats in the following midterms. But the loss could be worse than expected unless the Democrats succeed where numerous Presidents have failed—including Truman, Nixon, and Clinton—and pass health care reform before it gets bogged down by congressional infighting and public anxiety.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend