While Elmo Roper and Thomas E. Dewey have assured the American people that the presidential election this year will be a mere formality, Republican chiefs are quaking in their well-polished boots over the future of the Senate. Since 1946, the GOP has held a modest 51 to 45 edge. But of the 17 Republican seats up for vote in November, no less than eight may fall to the Democrats--yet of the 14 Democratic seats, only four or five are doubtful. An over-all gain of four seats would give control of the upper house back to the Democrats, and--if Dewey wins--present the new Administration with a very pretty problem indeed.
In West Virginia, Senator Chapman Revercomb is probably closer to being a lame duck than any extant Republican. Although Dewey & Co. will be saddened to see Revercomb depart, they will undoubtedly be a bit relieved. Revercomb is roughly two miles to the right of present party leadership, and his public utterances often make even John Bricker look a little pink. Neely, his Democratic opponent, has strong labor support, including a thunderous blessing from John L. Lewis.
The race in Minnesota also looks like a Democratic victory. In spite of Dewey's chummy endorsement, Senator Joseph Ball's prospects against Hubert Humphrey are decidedly gloomy. Ever since former Governor Benson chose not to run on the Progressive ticket, Humphrey has been romping through Stassen territory well in advance of Ball, who has been observed settling slowly to the right during the past few years.
In two states--Iowa and Wyoming--the Republicans are perspiring freely in efforts to maintain the status quo, but in four others, they are more secure. Kentucky's John Sherman Cooper has enough popularity with independents to offset the advantage his rival, Virgil Chapman, will have in Barkley's candidacy. Homer Ferguson in Michigan, and Curley Brooks in Illinois are two GOP veterans who can reasonably expect to return to Washington, while in Oklahoma neither Republican Rizley nor Democrat Kerr can claim much advantage.
With excellent chances of winning four opposition seats, Truman's party can feast on majority prerogatives--if it can hold its own incumbents in power. This won't be a simple job. Republicans may be able to even the score by beating Democratic Senators in the West and particularly in the South, which is as cranky this year as a model T Ford on a cold day, and just as noisy.