Hope this is what you wanted,
hope this is what you had in mind,
'cause this is what you're getting.
I hope you choke on it. -- Tool, Ticks and Leeches
For all you election junkies, this article is as exhaustive a breakdown of your proverbial "swing" states as one could hope to find. Ultimately, though, it is also as disheartening a read as one might suppose. Putatively Democratic candidates who can't run fast enough from -- or hell, directly against -- their duly elected president, because they're deathly afraid of pissing off their rube constituency.
Of course, it doesn't help to have the usual compliant and complaisant corporate media, who in the course of chasing their precious narrative would much rather talk about how Bruce Braley and his wife are kinda jerky about their neighbor's chickens, rather than how Joni Ernst is just another clown-car teahadi in a folksy drawl and a Tupperware saleswoman smile.
The real narrative to be understood here is how the teabaggers overstepped in 2010 and especially 2012, and that they're learned their lesson this time around. There are no clear loons like Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock, just pleasant jest-lahk-us types like Joni Ernst and Cory Gardner. The goofballs have cleaned up their act, while the supposed adult political party stands around holding their collective dicks and running from their erstwhile principles (which most of them would sell down the road in a heartbeat anyway).
It's long been a cliché that the massive sums of money dumped into the political process has been a corrosive influence on the process. But it's also altered the types of people who are willing to run for office, not only to subject themselves to cartoonish levels of scrutiny, but to sell themselves constantly to anyone and anything, because of the sheer amount of money it takes just to stay in office, even for an incumbent. An average of thousands of dollars per day need to be raised to retain a US Senate seat, and most House seats aren't cheap either.
An estimated $4 billion total was spent in the 2012 election. When we start thinking more closely about which industry specifically received most of that money, and proceed and engage accordingly, we might finally start getting better candidates, instead of the candidates we deserve.