Our sweet Republic can’t handle much more of this debt bloating socialism and new age progressivism. Four more years of bailouts, stimuli, tax increases, intervention, and war on [insert vague topic] amounts to grim prospects for America. Our country is awesome, but it is not immortal.

President Obama played the perfect political fiddle. He came out and ran rampant for his first two years, and got everyone nice and ticked off. Two years ago, I would’ve said “that guy is toast.” But after the tea boiled over the pot of complacency and he lost his liberal domination of Congress, along with his Keynesian surrogate governors around the country, Barack figured out he was going to have to take it easy for a couple of years. Let the serfs forgive and forget – that whole chestnut.

The sad part is, it worked. People forgot about the disaster that was Barack’s first two years and have instead been taking their frustrations out on the conservative warriors who are fighting back.

Now, in 2012, as we rally around one of the most vanilla candidates we could’ve possibly picked (Santorum and Pawlenty get honorable mentions), I can’t help but taste a loss coming. Is Romney the best alternative? Probably not. Will he be able to politically outshine Obama’s star power? Doubt it. Will that result in a second term for Barack Obama?

I can’t bring myself to think about it.

But hark! For I bring tidings of comfort and mediocre joy to my fellow, less enthusiastic conservatives. We may have a hard time knocking Prince Obama off of his throne, but we can leave his ship of liberal tyranny dead in the water by focusing on and winning the Senate. If we can’t beat Barack, we can neuter him.

There are five seats in the Senate that need our undivided attention.

*Races marked with an asterisk are still currently in primary stages.

No.1: Sherrod Brown vs. Josh Mandel, Ohio.

There are one too many Brown’s in the Senate. Sherrod Brown is a long-time big-spending liberal who, after wrestling a seat away from former Ohio Senator and current Attorney General Mike DeWine in the great shellacking of 2006, has done his fair share of big spending on a national level. Aside from being a porkster, he has been a consistent rank and file foot soldier for Obama’s progressive agenda.

His Republican challenger is Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. One might ask, how does Josh find the time to do all of this while he is still in high school?…because the guy honestly looks like he is about 16 years old. But don’t let that youthful face fool you, Mandel has served in the Marine Corps and the Ohio House of Representatives before being elected to the position of Treasurer of the State of Ohio. Under Mandel’s watch, spending has been restrained and, as the federal credit rating was downgraded, Ohio’s credit rating saw an upgrade.

A lot of money and political strategy will be thrown into this race. Ohio is the bellwether of bellwether states; each side wants to be able to claim it. We are about to see a battle for the heart and soul of Ohio. I urge you, help Josh oust the Senate’s most liberal member by visiting: http://jobs.joshmandel.com/

No.2: Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth Warren: she’s sassy, she’s a Massachusetts liberal after Teddy Kennedy’s own heart, she’s a college professor, and she has the cheekbones of a Cherokee, or so she says. Warren is challenging incumbent Senator, Scott Brown, the only Republican in the state of Massachusetts.

This race is really interesting simply because it is somewhat of a social experiment as well as a opportunity for the Dems to pick off a Republican and keep conservatives from gaining a majority.

Whenever the GOP gets a Senate seat in the Northeast (or what I like to call “Baby Russia”), an old saying comes to mind — “Even a blind squirrel will occasionally find a nut.”  It’ll be interesting to see if Brown can protect his seat from Elizabeth “Running Deer” Warren. Time will tell. Stay up to date on Scott’s campaign by visiting: http://www.scottbrown.com/

No.3: Mark Neumann vs. Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin.*

Another Midwestern state looking for a Conservative repeat. In 2010, Ron Johnson knocked off liberal stalwart Sen. Russ Feingold and proved that Tea Party Conservatives can claim ground in Wisconsin. Now, former Rep. Mark Neumann is locked in battle with former wishy-washy moderate Governor Tommy Thompson (the kid from that Tim McGraw song) for the Republican nomination for retiring Democrat Herb Kohl’s Senate seat.

Neumann doesn’t exactly have a campaign winning track record for the past few years, but that hasn’t stopped Tea Party groups, the Club for Growth, and Conservative firebrand Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservative fund from throwing their weight behind Neumann.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Tammy Baldwin looks like a sure bet for the party nod, but as of now, all of their time, money, and effort is going to a floundering recall effort to remove current Governor and Bosley spokesperson, Scott Walker.  With the recall soaking up most of the liberal and union resources, and with Walker’s principles steadily improving Wisconsin’s economy, the GOP could very well take over both Senate seats in Wisconsin. Help the cheese-heads get the job done:  http://neumann2012.com/

No.4: Ted Cruz vs. Time, Texas.*

We’re looking for a few good Conservatives, and not the fence riding kind either. It’s the Kentucky 2010 Senate primary all over again as Ted Cruz and Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst exhibit the ultimate Tea Party vs. Establishment showdown to rival that of now Sen. Rand Paul and Trey Grayson’s battle for the Republican nomination in the Bluegrass state.

Cruz has the support of the unambiguously libertarian duo, Ron and Rand Paul, as well as Sarah Palin’s endorsement and Jim DeMint’s money. Tea Party activists have been rallying around Cruz as attention is growing in Texas ahead of their May 29th primary. I say Cruz’s major opponent is time, because he has all but caught up with Dewhurst and is nipping at his establishment heels. Texas loves liberty and Cruz is definitely a chance to upgrade from the moderation often exhibited by retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, whose seat is the one up for grabs.

On the Democratic side, there is just a big “LOL” on the ballot above an attached road map to San Fransisco…seriously, does Texas even have Democrats anymore? It’s pretty much accepted statewide that the race will come down to the Republican primary. Keep your eyes on Texas, the Senate Tea Party Caucus could use another member and Ted Cruz would be a great addition. Check out the Cruz campaign at: www.tedcruz.org

No.5: Jeff Flake vs. Richard Carmona, Arizona.*

Arizona: the home of sweet tea and sour politics. It’ll be a photo finish in Arizona between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. For Republicans, having a strong conservative and household name on the ground and presenting principled conservative ideas will not only help Mitt, but will also be a good way to retain the Senate seat currently held by retiring Republican Senator Jon Kyl.  Tea Party favorite Rep. Jeff Flake has built a good ground game is looking strong in the primary to win the GOP nomination. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is the only Democrat filed to challenge the GOP for control of the Conservative seat.

Arizona will be ground zero of western battle ground states, so keep Jeff Flake on your radar this fall: http://www.jeffflake.com/

These five races were picked based on several different criteria that spread broadly across the GOP spectrum. From establishment to Tea Party, moderate to conservative, from solid red states to bellwether swing states– every seat is important, but these are the races to watch. These states have the opportunity to swing the balance of power in the Senate and neuter the progressive agenda.

2012 is going to be a wild political ride. Hold on to your hats – the show is about to begin!

Tanner Salyers | Pensacola Christian College | @TannerSalyers