Let’s assume Hillary Clinton wins 2016. Let’s assume even that the Senate does get recaptured by the Democrats as well. I find it very unlikely at this point that the House falls, as well, so let’s say it stays in Republican hands. Therefore, you have a situation akin to 2014 looming in the next cycle, which is in 2018.
Senate Democrats have come to a startling realization. They need to get at least +5 over the Republicans in order to keep the Senate for more than two years. Because, we know what’s going to happen in the meantime. Republican voters get pissed and win five seats from deep red states.
As difficult as the 2016 Senate map has been for Republicans, who had to defend numerous blue- and purple-state seats and could lose their majority, Democrats’ 2018 map looks practically unnavigable. The party starts with five ruby-red seats to defend: Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia. Then, Democrats have a slew of Senate seats up in traditional swing states, including Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin. If he doesn’t become vice president, Tim Kaine will also face reelection in closely divided Virginia in 2018. And if he does, a Democratic appointee could face an expensive special election in 2017 before the race for a full term the next year.
“[Democrats] have not figured out how to translate presidential success into midterm success. And even worse, this time we have a candidate who is winning by default,” said one Democratic strategist who has worked on Senate races. “It’s going to be a disaster.”
There is only one way the Republican party can screw this up. They have to make smart plays, not emotional ones. The reason we are already having to look ahead to 2018 is because 2016 turned out so messed up. There was a chance to get a solid leader in there and get good ideas pitched forward. Instead… we got Donald Trump.
As the Politico story mentions, Republicans spend the next two months on defense. After that, it’s all offense (which makes you wonder if they knew all along Trump didn’t stand a chance – there’s big money in being the opposition at times) until 2018, and only by playing smart do the Republicans have a chance to affect any change. However, a bunch of terrible picks as nominees in these Senate races based solely on them not being the person in power? That’s a bad idea.
Of course, knowing our party right now… I’m not uncertain that those won’t be the results.