Newsrooms would like very much for Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Beto O'Rourke to defeat Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz this November. But polling consistently shows this is extremely unlikely.
The natural clash between what news media want versus what it'll likely get from this Senate race has, unsurprisingly, prompted public displays of grief from certain reporters and pundits.
MSNBC reporter Geoff Bennett, for example, is still stuck on the “denial” stage, claiming Monday that the Texas Republican has only a small lead over his Democratic opponent.
"For Ted Cruz, this rally is a thing of political necessity, since polling shows him with the slimmest of leads over Democrat Beto O'Rourke in that Senate race there," the ostensibly straight-news reporter said.
A whole 10 seconds of Googling shows that Cruz has led O’Rourke by significant margins in every major survey conducted this month. In fact, the GOP incumbent currently leads with a seven-point advantage, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average.
For the anger stage of grief, we turn to the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips, who made the good point earlier this month that pouring more than $55 million into a likely losing campaign may not be the soundest midterm election strategy.
“It's arguably even a giant waste of money in Democrats' uphill battle to retake the Senate,” Phillips writes, adding, “Texas doesn’t even make the top 10 of the Fix’s latest rankings of the most competitive Senate races. Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen in Tennessee are all on the list," she writes.
She adds, "Some of those candidates, especially Heitkamp, are fighting for their political careers. And their races are crucial to helping Democrats take back the Senate.”
In terms of the bargaining stage of grief, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver had a pretty good take this weekend.
"So the polls have Cruz up by a fairly solemn margin there, six or seven points on average. We give him about an 80 percent chance of winning," he explained.
But then he added, on a note of hopefulness, “We should say though Texas is a tricky state to poll, Beto would rely on Hispanic voters, young voters, people who newly migrated to Texas. If every eligible voter in Texas turned out, that could be a very close race.” The word “if” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here.
For depression, there’s the reliably dour co-host of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," Mika Brezinski, who moped this weekend that "Democrats have produced exactly one national star" and that he "could lose by 10 points."
"It's not impossible that, despite the train wreck that is the Trump presidency," she stated with a glum shake of her head, "Republicans could keep control of the Senate and the House."
Then there’s the acceptance stage. For that, we turn to Vox, which found a way to write off O’Rourke’s likely loss as a victory for the Democratic Party.
“Beto O’Rourke could lead a blue wave in Texas — even if he loses his Senate race," the site that promises to "explain the news" theorized.
I'm sure he will. Anyway, I wonder what Jon Ossoff and Wendy Davis are up to these days.