In an extended history lesson last night on her MSNBC program, host Rachel Maddow spoke of the likelihood, given historical precedent, that the Senate would move to Republican control following today’s midterm elections. “Since World War II, in midterm elections, the president`s party loses an average of four Senate seats in each midterm election,” noted Maddow. “If, however, you focus in on just the second midterms, just midterms when a president is in his sixth year of office, the number of Senate seats the president`s party loses on average is 5.8. Let`s round to six.”
Six is the magic number for the GOP to seize control of the Senate from Democrats.
Maddow eventually got around to the issue of what Republicans would be doing if they controlled both houses of Congress. To collect signals on this front, the MSNBC host turned to what she called “our friends at Fox News.” She ran video of Chris Wallace, the Fox News eminence who on Monday’s edition of “Outnumbered” addressed how Republicans would respond if President Obama, as promised, took strong executive action on immigration. Wallace: “I promise you, if he does that, if he by executive action goes against Congress and legalizes 4 million people who are in this country illegally, there is going to be a firestorm on Capitol Hill. You’re going to see calls for impeachment.”
Maddow also cited Tony Perkins, a conservative with the Family Research Council, calling for impeachment if the Senate converts. She also nodded to other precincts of the conservative media: “So, on Fox News, on right-wing talk radio and the conservative blog world, they’ve already got it in motion as best as they can. Tomorrow, they take the Senate. The day after that, they start working toward impeachment.”
Missing from Maddow’s analysis were any current Republican lawmakers. At this point in the evolution of the U.S. mediapolitical complex, in other words, you can take soundings of a political party merely by listening to certain key media outlets. Or: What key people on Fox News say is more important than what the party says.
And if we place any faith in the projections of the data crunchers, Maddow’s analysis will be treated to a speedy fact-check.