Senate Metronome

So the Wall Street Journal‘s Janet Hook has published the first big MSM overview of the fight for the U.S. Senate in 2016, and duly reports the landscape is going to be nearly as good for Democrats then as it was for Republicans in 2014. 24 of the 34 seats up are currently held by the GOP, with seven of them (Ayotte, Grassley, Johnson, Kirk, Porter, Rubio, and Toomey) in states carried twice by Obama. No Democratic seats this time are in red states, though Michael Bennet and especially Harry Reid are both considered vulnerable. All Democratic Senate candidatates, of course, will benefit from better turnout dynamics than in 2014, and those in battleground states (CO, FL, IA, NV, NH, NC, OH, WI) will be affected by presidential campaign investments.

Democrats would need to gain 4 net seats to retake control of the Senate if they hang onto the White House and the Veep’s gavel, and 5 otherwise.

The Donkey Party better get it cooking this Senate cycle, because 2018 presents another gigantic opportunity for the GOP, with Democrats defending 25 of 33 seats. Then in 2020 Republicans get to defend 22 of 33.

You see why my book talks about the prospect of metronomically alternating elections with Democrats likely to win in presidential years and Republicans in midterms? It tends to set up that way especially in the Senate with those six-year terms that alternatively expose incumbents to presidential and midterm cycles.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.