For Senate, Everything Changes After November

Does the headline above mean I’m predicting a Republican takeover of the Senate this cycle? No, though I’d say there’s a very good chance of that happening. But in fact, as I try to point out now and then for the benefit of people with a snail’s-eye perspective of politics, on November 4 the dream GOP Senate cycle of 2014 gives way to the nightmare GOP Senate cycle of 2016, meaning that even if Republicans control the chamber next January, it’s likely to be a short-lived reign.

Dave Weigel of Slate is already supplying a slow-news-day list of GOP Senate seat that appear vulnerable going into a presidential election year when all the pro-GOP turnout factors invert: Missouri, New Hampshire, Florida, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Illinois. I’d add that only two Democratic seats–in Nevada and Colorado, neither of them even remotely pushovers–look vulnerable.

The bottom line is that the bright shining goal of all those conservatives out there salivating for the end of the Obama Era–a Republican Trifecta positioning the GOP to begin, finally, implementing Barry Goldwater’s 1964 platform–isn’t a very lively prospect at this point. And that’s true even if you look at a presidential field probably composed of Cruz, Rubio, Christie, Jebbie, Huck, Paul the Younger, Scott and Ryan–and see someone who can beat Hillary Clinton.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.