NBC's Todd Asserts 'Weaker' Tea Party Nominees Give Democrats 'Fighting Chance' to Hold Senate

NBC's Chuck Todd conceded “the Tea Party has been helpful to the GOP in both re-branding the party away from Bush and giving it a real grassroots component,” but he insisted, “this Tea Party influence in Republican primaries has put a number of Senate seats in play for Democrats that at this point should be out of reach.”

“The bottom line,” Todd declared on Friday's NBC Nightly News in a likely preview of the latest iteration of the news media's bi-annual “Republicans candidates were too far to the right” line:

Because of weaker Tea Party nominees, Democrats have a fighting chance in Delaware, Kentucky, Colorado, yes, Nevada, and even Alaska. Without the Tea Party, all five of those races would be in the bank right now and the Senate majority would definitely be in the Republican sights.

Of course, in Alaska if the seat is in jeopardy for Republicans it's because of a sore-loser Republican splitting the non-liberal vote. Or maybe not. RealClearPolitics.com contends a Republican will win, whether the GOP nominee, Tea Party-backed Joe Miller, or write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent Republican who has refused to accept the primary verdict:

The latest polls have all shown a close race...between Murkowski and Miller. Murkowski has made plain that she plans to remain a Republican, so with McAdams still mired in the 20s, it looks like Alaska will either send a very conservative Republican or a moderately conservative Republican back to DC this fall.

Flashback to August: “NBC's Todd: Liberal Victory Means 'Hope' But Conservative Wins Will Demonstrate 'Fear'”
 
Todd's assessment of the campaign landscape, on the Friday, October 15 NBC Nightly News:

Let's go from 30,000 feet. Look, this was a week that the campaign battleground came into focus on three fronts. Money, number one. The Democratic advantage from the summer, gone. The enthusiasm and momentum the Republicans have is playing itself out in fundraising. Just about every close race right now, it's the Republican out-raising the Democrat. The biggest number, of course, is what John Yang reported about, that Sharron Angle number, the all-time record, $14.3 raised million in just three short months, never mind the contribution from outside groups which is far larger for Republicans than Democrats.

Number two, on the issues front, health care is trumping the economy. This is a big debate all over the country as we saw earlier in that report. Eight Senate debates that I watched, there was a common theme. Health care is the most discussed issue, even though the economy comes out on top in polls. Why? Well, the bad economy has set the national mood, but health care is the rhetorical weapon of choice for the Republicans. They use it to tie Democrats to quote “Obamacare,” or make a pot on government overreach or even to say it's the reason why businesses aren't creating jobs.

Then number three, the Tea Party. Look, the impact is real for the most part. The Tea Party has been helpful to the GOP in both re-branding the party away from Bush and giving it a real grassroots component, but this Tea Party influence in Republican primaries has put a number of Senate seats in play for Democrats that at this point should be out of reach. The bottom line, Brian, because of weaker Tea Party nominees, Democrats have a fighting chance in Delaware, Kentucky, Colorado, yes, Nevada, and even Alaska. Without the Tea Party, all five of those races would be in the bank right now and the Senate majority would definitely be in the Republican sights.

 

But look, volatile election, Brian, and Democrats still think a lot can change in 18 days.

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center