By many measures, the Republicans are only expected to gain eight seats in the upcoming midterm elections, which would not be enough the GOP to wrestle control away from the Democrats in the new Congress in 2011. But is there another way?
On the Oct. 28 broadcast of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” host Larry Kudlow pointed this out, citing the most recent numbers from Real Clear Politics  and Intrade  to his guest, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
“Let me ask you another political question,” Kudlow said. “You're pledging allegiance to Mitch McConnell. You’re saying you're going to be in step with Mitch McConnell and the established leadership. Let me ask you this – Real Clear Politics and other polls, Intrade, looks like 49/51. That may not be true, but that’s what it is – 49 Republicans, 51 [Democratic] Senators. We have a few days left in the election.”
However, Kudlow offered a scenario where the GOP could take control of the U.S. Senate in the upcoming Congress. He proposed to DeMint the Republican Party could convince Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., to vote for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to be Senate Majority Leader and control the body.
“If it were 49/51, what about Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Ben Nelson? Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent Democrat. Nelson, another independent Democrat. Is it conceivable Sen. DeMint that they would vote for Mitch McConnell and elect him Senate Majority Leader, even though it would be 49/51? You'd get the committee chairmanships and so forth. Is such a scenario possible that independent Democrats like Lieberman and Nelson could actually vote for McConnell in organizing the Senate?”
According to DeMint, it was possible. First, he told “The Kudlow Report” viewers that Nelson would have to change directions and parties if he wanted to be re-election, which he is up for in 2012.
“Well, I think anything is possible,” DeMint said. “I think it's very difficult for a Democrat to stay elected in the Senate if they aren't completely sold out to the labor bosses and George Soros. So, it would take a really bold move by Nelson. But frankly, he won't be re-elected unless he changes parties and I think changes some of his positions that got him in so much trouble.”
And according to the junior South Carolina U.S. Senator, Lieberman could wind up caucusing with Republicans as well, despite his views on domestic policies.
“Lieberman's a true independent,” DeMint continued. “He's a liberal when it comes to domestic policies but may be more comfortable in the Republican Party or at least caucusing with us than he is with the Democrats right now. So anything is possible. But I still haven't ruled out the possibility we could have 51 Republican senators after the tea party next Tuesday.”
It isn’t unprecedented for such a shift to occur. Most recently, Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 2009 . But the opposite has happened as well, as was the case in 1995 when Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., made the swap after the so-called 1994 Republican Revolution .