CBS Analyst: Three Senate Seats Are ‘Gone’ For Democrats

CBS News Political Director John Dickerson had some harsh words for Democrats as the 2014 midterm election kicks into high gear.

Appearing on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, September 2, Dickerson insisted that for the 2014 Senate races “there are three races in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana that are gone. Those are basically going to go to the Republicans.” [See video below.]

The segment began with co-host Charlie Rose highlighting how “the latest CBS News poll shows just 36 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s foreign policy” before turning to the CBS News Political Director to dissect the upcoming elections. ABC and NBC’s morning newscasts not only ignored the dismal polling for President Obama but also failed to mention the upcoming 2014 midterm elections and the potential disaster awaiting Democrats at the polls.  

Dickerson continued by spotlighting how not only are President Obama’s approval ratings “at about 40 percent...Democrats are depressed. So what do these international issues do? They create that sense of depression among Democrats and also rile up Republicans more.” 

Dickerson was quite blunt in arguing that President Obama’s presence in many battleground states does more to hurt Democrats than help their electoral prospects:

The president can do two things. He can raise money and he can rally the base. But in some of these states, his approval rating is lower in the states than it is nationally. One Republican said if he has a cold nationally, he has pneumonia in these key battleground states. 

As the segment concluded, the CBS Political Director surprisingly argued that three Senate races are essentially “gone” for Democrats:

So right now it looks like Republicans will get three of the six seats they need. There are three races in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana that are gone. Those are basically going to go to the Republicans. That means Republicans need three more seats from about eight battleground races and things are looking good for the Republicans right now. 

Dickerson’s harsh words for Democrats was in stark contrast to his usual defense of the party. On January 21, 2013, he called on President Obama to “declare war on the Republican Party.” Later that month, the CBS analyst defended his “destroy the GOP” comments by arguing that he was “trying to highlight, in a very stark way, what seems like an impossible-to-avoid conclusion about this second term.” 

On July 18, 2014 Dickerson went a step further in his cheerleading for Democrats by urging lefty senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president by insisting “she would till the ground, putting grit and the smell of earth in the contest.” 

See relevant transcript below. 


CBS This Morning

September 2, 2014

CHARLIE ROSE: The latest CBS News poll shows just 36 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s foreign policy. CBS News Political Director John Dickerson joining us in Studio 57. John, good morning. 

JOHN DICKERSON: Good morning Charlie. 

ROSE: So, Labor Day begins the official campaign for the midterm elections. We just saw a lot of talk about foreign policy. Is that going to be a dominant issue? 

DICKERSON: If you talk to voters and you say what issue do you believe in most, it’s still domestic issues that they pick when they say what’s driving their vote.. But what’s motivating Republicans in this election is disappointment with the president. The president’s approval ratings are at about 40 percent. If you asked Republicans, more of them strongly disapprove of the job he's doing than in 2010.

You may remember 2010 was a terrible year for Democrats so Republicans are very motivated. Well, Democrats are depressed. So what do these international issues do? They create that sense of depression among Democrats and also rile up Republicans more. And there’s one other thing. To the extent that we're all talking about foreign policy it deprives oxygen from Democratic opponents who want to talk about their issues, their local issues. So it kind of steals a bit of the spotlight from them. 

NORAH O’DONNELL: We saw the president in the “Eye Opener” of course talking about on Labor Day, a minimum wage, increase in the minimum wage, equal pay, those issues. But is the president a help or a hindrance in a lot of these key races? 

DICKERSON: Those are the issues Democrats want to be talking about, not ISIS, not any of these other foreign policy problems. The president can do two things. He can raise money and he can rally the base. But in some of these states, his approval rating is lower in the states than it is nationally. One Republican said if he has a cold nationally, he has pneumonia in these key battleground states. So one of the key questions in the end will be though are Democrats so depressed, they tend to be in these non-presidential years they don't turn out? So are they going to be so lackluster that the president has to be brought out to kind of roust them from their torpor.

ROSE: November is a long way in political terms but what does it look like today in terms of control of the Senate? 

DICKERSON: Right now, Republicans have had a pretty good summer. They've jumped over one hurdle which was their primaries. There were seven Republican Senators who faced a Tea Party challenge. You remember in the last two Senate elections, those challenges royaled the party. There were nominees from the party who weren't kind of ready for prime time.

Those Republican Senators, the incumbents, made it through their primaries. So right now it looks like Republicans will get three of the six seats they need. There are three races in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana that are gone. Those are basically going to go to the Republicans. That means Republicans need three more seats from about eight battleground races and things are looking good for the Republicans right now. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.