The Silver Lining for Democrats if They Lose the Senate in 2014

There are really only two possible outcomes for Democrats in this year's Senate elections. Either Republicans are going to win enough seats to take control of the chamber, or Democrats will hold on by the skin of their teeth. The first outcome is more likely, simply because of the map. Democrats are defending twenty-one seats while Republicans are only defending fifteen seats. Furthermore, many of those Democratic seats are in conservative states like West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Montana, making it even tougher.

So if you're a Democrat who's getting depressed by the prospect of a Republican Senate and all the loveliness that would bring, here's something that might make you feel a little better. A couple of weeks ago, I made a graph showing all this year's Democratic candidates and the tough environment many face. I decided to duplicate it for the 2016 races, as a little liberal pick-me-up.

Here's the good news for Democrats: Even if Republicans take the Senate this year, Democrats will almost certainly take it back in 2016. There will be twenty-four Republican-held seats up that year, but only nine Democratic-held seats. Almost all those Democratic seats are in states that Obama won comfortably two years ago, and none of them are in states Mitt Romney won. So it's possible that no more than one or two Senate Democrats will face a difficult race. More important, seven of those Republican seats are in states Obama won. I've put those seven seats in green:

Each of those races will have its own dynamic, of course (and a few of those incumbents won't end up running). But every one of those Republicans in green is going to have an extremely tough race. And since 2016 is a presidential year, the Democratic electorate—younger, more diverse—will turn out to vote in much higher numbers than they will this November.

All that isn't to say that having a Republican Senate for the last two years of the Obama presidency wouldn't be utterly miserable, because it surely would. I'll bet that even now, Mitch McConnell is devising creative and heretofore unimagined means of obstruction to unleash upon Barack Obama should he become majority leader next year. But if nothing else, we can be pretty sure it won't last.

Comments

I don't exactly consider the essentially crushing of the remainder of the Obama Presidency as a "silver lining".....

Agreed, but remember that once the R's won the House in 2010 and the Senate lost its filibuster-proof majority when Scott Brown won the Special MA Election soon after, it became very difficult to get any type of Democratic policy through. It has basically stalled the Presidency already, limiting Obama to taking the course of Agency Policy changes and Executive Orders in order to have any effect on Government.
So a loss of the Senate will only be cosmetic, with the R's going back to the filibuster and veto well agaia and again to score Political points, and not much getting done, just as not much is getting done now.

Well said. Assuming worse case scenario and Democrats lose 15 seats this election, Republicans would STILL not have a veto proof majority. Now, the problem comes with the way the Democrats passed ObamaCare. THAT the GOP can effectively kill.
It's a maddening system, but exactly the one the Founders envisioned. Hey, we're not only the most economically powerful and humanitarian nation in the world, but we're still here!!

Obama won't be able to put another Sotomayor or Kagen on the bench.

This is true, and many are urging Justice Ginsburg to step down now, but she is not willing to do it.

There is a big mistake to wait for 2 years. If anyone thinks there won't be a lot of gerrymandering going on to ensure many future years of republican rule you are woefully mistaken. Once they take the Senate and gain a super majority in the House this country will be doomed and democracy as we know it will be GONE. They will repeal every possible social program you can imagine. They will recreate HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee to hunt down anti-Christian and Muslims. We are in store for a very long and bumpy ride if the republicans gain a majority anywhere. WHO WILL PROTEST? NO ONE FOR FEAR OF RETALIATION. THAT IS WHAT THE REMAINING TWO YEARS OF REPUBLICAN RULE WILL CAUSE. AND, IT WILL DEFINITELY BE MORE THAN TWO YEARS. YES "AMERICAN PROSPECT" KEEP DELUDING YOURSELVES THAT IT WON'T BE THAT LONG

"There is a big mistake to wait for 2 years. If anyone thinks there won't be a lot of gerrymandering going on to ensure many future years of republican rule you are woefully mistaken."

Please explain in what possible way holding a majority in the Senate increases a party's ability to gerrymander?

Because A) gerrymandering only affects the House, and B) gerrymandering only takes place after the census is conducted every 10 years. No new gerrymandering until after the 2020 elections.

By law (unless a court intervenes), redistricting and the opportunity to gerrymander only occurs AFTER the every ten year census? Surely, you know that? You do also know that the most "gerrymandered" districts in the world are "majority minority?" You going to tell the Congressional Black Caucus no more??
I hope the GOP does reduce the size and scope of the federal government. TODAY, it's overspending by 42% and jeopardizing the future not just of our children and grandchildren, but our grandchildren and EVERY social program. You do know that fully 12% of our federal budget is devoted JUST to paying interest on the debt and is our FORTH largest expenditure?
We've coddled the Muslims for two decades now and what do we have to show for being a religiously tolerant society? 9/11, Ft. Hood and the second Boston Massacre. Obama is spying on every American as a result and to THAT, I also object.

The Supreme Court has already shown its willingness to intervene in politics. They are a court, and if a court can order new gerrymandering then they will do so. IF they are allowed to continue to have zero checks and balances on their power. As it is, they throw out laws they don't like and they create entire new ones. They've already redefined a corporation as a living, breathing, human being. They can still do a lot of damage to America and they plan to do as much as they possibly can.

There is a big mistake to wait for 2 years. If anyone thinks there won't be a lot of gerrymandering going on to ensure many future years of republican rule you are woefully mistaken. Once they take the Senate and gain a super majority in the House this country will be doomed and democracy as we know it will be GONE. They will repeal every possible social program you can imagine. They will recreate HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee to hunt down anti-Christian and Muslims. We are in store for a very long and bumpy ride if the republicans gain a majority anywhere. WHO WILL PROTEST? NO ONE FOR FEAR OF RETALIATION. THAT IS WHAT THE REMAINING TWO YEARS OF REPUBLICAN RULE WILL CAUSE. AND, IT WILL DEFINITELY BE MORE THAN TWO YEARS. YES "AMERICAN PROSPECT" KEEP DELUDING YOURSELVES THAT IT WON'T BE THAT LONG

There is no Gerrymandering in the Senate. Each state has 2 Senators and both are elected on a state wide basis. You post is a failure.

"They will recreate HUAC, the House Un-American Activities Committee"
You are of course aware the HUAC was created by a Democratic Congress and chaired by the DNC representative from New Jersey. You are certainly aware this is the same group that persecuted the Hollywood crowd. You knew all that didn't you?

Um. Are you claiming that Senator McCarthy had absolutely nothing to do with the persecution of the Hollywood crowd?

The Repubs will continue to make nasty attacks on President Obama, irregardless.

Well, that's why it's called the "opposition." What do you want? Another Hitler?

The word you want is "regardless"; "irregardless" is non-standard and not generally accepted.

In 2012, Obama survived by getting his largely urban youth and minority base to the polls and suppressing over 6 million working class white voters everywhere else.

What makes you think that 2016 will look at all like 2012?

African American and young voters rejected Clinton back in 2008 and have no reason to turn out for her in 2016 at the historic numbers Obama drew.

Meanwhile, none of the likely GOP nominees can be demonized as a plutocrat like Obama did to Romney and thus alienate the white working class vote. Indeed, Clinton would be the 1% plutocrat in this race.

The electorate should look more like 2004 than 2012 and that would no present any major problems for what looks like a 53-54 member GOP majority elected this fall.

Killery will not run, she will fall again and put another knot on her tiny little head to avoid the embarrassment of being crushed

Killery will not run, she will fall again and put another knot on her tiny little head to avoid the embarrassment of being crushed

Wrong. Obama won because he beat Romney among all women by 55-44%. Youth and minority turnout was important, but they are only a quarter of the turnout. And there was no "suppression of the working-class White Vote". First of all, Whites are an older demographic that is shrinking steadily, and second, many were uninspired by Romney-Ryan.

Wrong. The Hispanic birth rate - thanks to our never ending Great Recession - have actually shrunk below the population as a whole. Furthermore, I don't see the Hispanic vote staying Democrat. They are hard workers, family oriented and religious. That simply, truthfully, does not describe today's Democrat Party.

Factually, you're both right. 6,000,000 "conservative" voters did stay home and yes, Obama won because the single, female vote fell largely his way.
If he follows through with his threat to grant "amnesty" to 5,000,000 more "illegals," the conservative vote won't be staying home.
More importantly, the groups hurt MOST by Obama's economic policies have been minorities and single females. Go figure.

"More importantly, the groups hurt MOST by Obama's economic policies have been minorities and single females. Go figure."

Karma?

Wellstone:

The white vote is three-quarters of the electorate. The whites who are not reproducing are disproportionately secular Democrats.

"I'll bet that even now, Mitch McConnell is devising creative and heretofore unimagined means of obstruction to unleash upon Barack Obama"

If Republicans hold both House and Senate and Democrats hold only the Presidency, who will be the obstructionists?

Republicans who refuse to understand that filibustering requires 60 votes to override.

That WAS the case until Senate Democrats changed it. THAT is going to come back and bite them.

Not for spending and taxes.

That is not a very optimistic chart for the Democrats. Their biggest hope there is with Illinois' Kirk, but they are so fed up with Democrats at a state level that they are throwing out their Democratic governor. People have been happy with Kirk, in spite of, or because of empathy with his medical challenges. They like him.

If the Republicans nominate a reasonable candidate, Reid will lose big time. He will not survive his latest offense to minorities.

Bennett is also at risk for losing, as part of the kickback from Colorado's drastic gun control laws they put in place and the influx of Bloomberg's money (a bad thing for Democrats, as it gets the gun nuts out to vote without persuading anyone).

Wyden is also not "safe".

When I look at that chart, I see the Republicans most likely picking up net one, possibly two if they have a strong presidential candidate.

Udall up this year, not Bennet.

If Obama's coat tails are toxic in this mid-term, why would his popularity in 2012 be indicative of any enhancement in 2016? As for the last two years of his administration, presuming a Republican Senate majority - Obama will be the one that is vetoing laws passed by both Houses of Congress, going to be hard to say the Congress is "obstructionist" in that scenario. To preserve or create any legacy, Obama will have to triangulate & work with the Republicans like Clinton; problem is he has spent so much time bashing Republicans as the bogeymen that few will be willing to work with him. Instead, expect to see a horde of the 300+ House passed Bills sent to the WH, vetoed by Obama and both Houses of Congress calling Obama the obstructionist.

Good point. His "favorability's" are right down there with GWB's right now.
I know he thinks granting amnesty to another 5,000,000 "illegals" is a good idea, but I think it's going to cost him and the Democrats the union vote.

You're incorrect. Obama won't have to veto ANY laws unless the Republicans eliminate the filibuster rule, and they'd be even stupider than usual if they did that, because they know their time as the majority party will be a short one. It's true that with the GOP running Congress, nothing positive will happen and the crises facing the nation will keep getting worse, but that will be a talking point for the Democrats in 2016.

I only hope Justice Ginsberg stays healthy until then. (And it would be nice if Scalia keeps going hunting with Dick Cheney. He seems to have a little trouble with his aim...)

If the elections were held today, how many states Obama would have won? He would not have been a president, that's for sure. Isn't the today's blue/red states picture more relevant for the 2016 elections? What really matters is the 2016 picture but we cannot know it today.

Heh, smearing lipstick on the pig. Sure sign you're already defeated.

Excellent article. The GOP shouldn't even try for the senate this cycle. I think some on the right think Obama will triangulate as Bill Clinton did back in '95 after the GOP took back Congress. Unfortunately, such triangulation is for real leaders, like Bill Clinton. Obama's barely an adolescent when it comes to leadership. It's his way or the highway, with plenty of petulant "sue me" and "I gotta phone and a pen" and "flat earth" ad hominem attacks thrown in. It's like he's on competing on a junior highs school playground rather than skillfully negotiating, as holder of the most powerful office in the world should do.

If the GOP gets the senate they'll just get blamed for the resulting inaction. Why even bother? Lay low and take it all in 2016, when the electorate will be even more disgusted with Obama than they are now.

How can liberals be hopeful of ever regaining any office after the debacle of the last five years. Keep dreaming. You guys are done for a very, very long time. At least America can hope in that change.

Politics shift. Obama is governing for the radical minority of the American public, largely by fiat. In time, he will piss off enough Americans such that the Democrats are on the losing end of elections going forward. And if you progressives think the Hispanics will stay within the orbit of the Democrat Party, think again. Your days are numbered since your Big Government polices suck so badly.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depssion, Acceptance.

Obviously the author is at Bargaining, attempting to turn the loss into a something of hope. Depression soon to follow.

It might be 2 years of hell for the America people, but it will guarantee that the democrats "take it all" in 2016.

If the republicans take the senate, they will screw things up sooooo bad they will never again take a national election (house, senate, or white house). They will hand it all to the democrats for at least 30 years.

you may stand a better chance predicting the winning lottery numbers than what will happen in 2016, its still two years out and a lot can change in two years !
Turnout will largely depend on who gets the nomination , if the GOP nominates a loser like Romney and the democrats nominate somebody who can pass as more to the center of the political spectrum , somebody people can get excited about and who has credibility on the issues if the economy improves and the cost of health insurance drops then without a doubt this will reflect in a high turnout which of course will be beneficial to the democratic party !
But then off course there is the possibility that the democratic party may nominate somebody who can be painted as radical and the same old or even worse than Obama , somebody who will send centrists and moderate democrats running for the hills and GOP nominating somebody with Teflon properties , the economy could go worse and the health insurance rates go through the roof dampening the enthusiasm of the voters - well like I said - a lot can happen !
Or the GOP after taking back the Senate actually could band together with some democrats and pass a credible immigration reform package including a pathway to citizenship , this in turn could remove motivation for a lot of Hispanics to turn out in 2016 for the democrats or may even shift some of the Hispanic vote to selected GOP candidates.
On the contrary the GOP could go hog wild and overboard ( a lot of democrats silently bank on this ) turning off a lot of potential voters in 2016 but who knows ?
Then I look at the list and I have a few comments on this one too , Rubio and Grassley are two people I would not bet my paycheck on them losing re election , Grassley is a farmer and Iowa is a farm state , democrats alienated a lot of farmers because of the comments bruce braley made and because farmers blame democrats and their policies for the high price of diesel fuel which is used to run farm machinery , immigration is not a major issue there because most of the crops grown in iowa are harvested with machinery and not by manual labor and Grassley is well known and liked in the state , if joni Ernst wins against braley this fall than you can check Grassley off your list !
Rubio is also fairly safe mostly because he is Hispanic and because he is pro immigration , if he sponsors a new immigration bill in 2015 then his standing with the Hispanic population in FL will get another boost !
Ayotte I would say it depends who the Dems nominate to run , if shaheen loses this fall against brown that that could be a sign that NH is tilting to the right but then off course this would open her up to run against Ayotte in 2016 which will make for a interesting race !
But then there are three Democrats on the list I would designate as vulnerable in 2016,
the top one off course is harry reid , his approval ratings in NV are not all that great and he cant really bank on the GOP nominating another sharon angle , if the GOP finds somebody that is halfway decent than its game over for reid !
pick#2 is Michael Bennett , gun control could definatly do him in , voters in CO recalled giron and morse last year and its very likely for the battle to carry on this fall , if more democrats bite the dust in CO this fall than this can serve as a big anti democrat sentiment which could carry on to 2016 and beyond which brings me to # 3 Barbara Mikulski of MD , the state also passed draconic gun control laws which triggered several firearm makers including beretta to move their operations to other states taking hundrets of well paying jobs and millions of tax revenue for the state with them ( the same btw also goes for CO were companies like magpul decided to move as a result of gun control laws )
But then like I said before - it depends who runs and on the mood of the American people at the time

Yes...absolutely correct...if the Republicans win 51 or 52 seats this year there is a high risk they will lose the Senate in 2016...a near certainty. Some of the Senators running for re-elections may be distracted running for president. One may be the VP candidate. Several won extremely close elections. At least one looks poised to be running against a very popular sitting governor.

However, it is quite possible the Republicans will win a total of 54-57 seats this year. And tha should be the issue. It isn't if the Republicans win 51 seats, but do they win 54+ making them favorites to retain control in 2016.

Republicans look very likely to hold Kentucky and Georgia. South Dakota, West Virginia, Montana also seem certain. Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina are all Romney states and together create 52 Republican seats.

But Iowa, Michigan, and Colorado all could go Republican. The first has a badly damaged Democrat candidate. The second will re-elect a Republican governor and legislature in 2014, requiring ticket splitting for the Democrat to win. The last one has both close races for Governor and Senate in a state that was close in 2012 and has since had a big local issue over gun-control regulation.

That leaves New Hampshire, Minnesota, Virginia, and Oregon. I can't conceive a strategy where Ed Gillespie beats Mark Warner; maybe Gillespie just wanted the experience? Wehby stumbled and the Democrats have an arsenal ready if she become competitive; victory isn't in the cars.

However, Brown could be strong in New Hampshire. He is a good retail candidate, Obamacare has been a disaster there, and Shaheen is only marginally popular. In Minnesota the Republicans seem to have a solid candidate with self funding capability, Franken had a more distinguished career at Saturday Night Live then he has had it the Senate with no legislation to show and generally a 'Senator pothole' focus. Following the primary only two weeks ago the race is in single digits.

Republican Pat Roberts seems to be in jeopardy in Kansas. And, just like Republican Land may have an edge with a Republican win at the top of the ticket, in Kansas the Democrats seem poised to win at the top of the ticket.

That is 57 in a Republican sweep. Many paths to 54 and 55. And 54+ and even 53 should be defendable for Republicans in 2016.

Painting lipstick on a pig, I would say......

Ce n'est pas un tableau très optimiste pour les démocrates.

http://sosdebouchage.eu/

(1) Unfortunately, this article doesn't show the bottom line .... that is, how likely is the 2016 election to give the Dems the 60-seat threshold they need. Ballparking it, I would say not, since if the Dems held 2014 at 50, adding all 7 green would still be short. (Of course, if the Dems held at 53, then adding 7 gets us to the magic number).



(2) If the Dems do hold a slim majority in 2014, then the Congress will be just as big a failure as it is now. I think a lot of people think that if the Dems are "in the majority" then they can actually DO something. Since this is false, being in the majority might end up by not having a good PR story to tell in 2016. So, there are some advantages to having a period of the Repubs passing stupid bills (which wouldn't go anywhere), since highlighting those, and riling the Dem base would be easier.



(3) The big downside to not having a Dem majority in the Senate is not being able to make Federal appointments, and there are many that should still be made. Just pushing many of those off to after 2016 isn't much help, either.



(4) The "golden ring" for the Dems in the Senate would be to maintain a majority in 2014 but also gain the supermajority in 2106 necessary to more easily appoint a Supreme Court judge. We're not certain when it's going to happen, other than the odds are pretty good that it will happen sometime in the term of the next President. (I don't have data on how likely it would be to maintain a supermajority in the two following Senate election years, however, they would also be critical).

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