I’m not liking the sound of this:
There is good reason to be concerned that some independents, led by Maine Senator Angus King, could use their newfound authority in a closely divided Senate to promote the sort of “grand bargain” that has long threatened Social Security as we know it.
With the 2014 Senate competition hurdling toward November 4—when control of the chamber may or may not be decided, depending on potential runoffs in Georgia and Louisiana—the focuson independent candidacies has spiked. If Democrats and Republicans finish with even numbers of senators, even if a party has a one-seat advantage, a couple of ambitious independents could become definitional players.
As of now, one independent contender is polling well enough to be considered a serious prospect for election to the Senate, while another looks to be competitive in a wildly unsettled race. Kansas independent Greg Orman has been running even with Republican Senator Pat Roberts in a contest where the Democrat dropped out. And Republican South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler, who served as a Republican but backed President Obama twice, has retained credible numbers in a multi-candidate field for his old seat.
In Kansas, Orman has received a great deal of support from Democrats since their party’s candidate dropped out, and he is certainly more progressive than Roberts. Pressler, on the other hand, is trying to find his way around conservative Republican Mike Rounds and populist Democrat Rick Weiland.
If either Orman or Pressler were to win, they would join two New England independents, King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in the 100-seat Senate.