Why 54 REALLY > 53 or 52, when it comes to Senate math.

And this is why you always try to grab as many seats as you can in an election, period: “Democrats are looking to reclaim their Senate majority in two years, but after losing nine Senate seats in 2014, their path back to that majority won’t be easy.”  Because it took us picking up nine Senate seats to get an article like that in the Atlantic. If we had ended at fifty-two or even fifty-three, the tone would have been much different.

In fact, reading between the lines, the Atlantic’s Josh Kraushaar is not entirely certain just how well the Democrats will do in 2016. Of the seven races he looked at (six Republican-held, one Democrat): [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s facing yet another brawl. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’J000293′ ]’s only really sweating this race IF Russ Feingold decides to run and IF Russ Feingold decides to betray his own campaign finance beliefs.  Pat Toomey’s likely opponent Joe Sestak can’t decide who he hates more: Toomey, or his own party’s political elite. [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000360′ ] is probably bulletproof, thanks to sympathy over his stroke (and his general blue-state Republican record). [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B001135′ ] doesn’t have a credible opponent, outside of the recently-beaten [mc_name name=’Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’H001049′ ]. Thanks to Jeb Bush, [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] will likely feel obliged not to run for President, which means that he’ll be re-elected Senator. And [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ]… well, that could be a bright spot, IF McCain loses his primary*.

This is not a really good scenario for the Democrats.  A lot of things have to go right for them if they want to pick up a net four, five seats – including winning the Presidency, which is going to be very difficult for the incumbent party to do in 2016.  Also, and this is the interesting bit: the map assumes no retirements.  Given that roughly twice as many Republicans as Democrats are up for re-election in 2016, arguably we should expect at least some more seats to theoretically open up on the red state side… but nobody’s really taking that into account.  Which should tell you a good bit about which political party is being seen as the one with the wind at its back these days.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I of course take the position that the winner of a Republican primary should of course be actively and honorably supported in the general election.  I suspect, however, that I will rate candidates for the Arizona GOP primary in a fashion where ‘can easily win the general election’ will be less of a consideration than ‘is not [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ].’ And – to go back to the first sentence of this post – I might not be rating things that way if we only had 52 seats in the Senate. More seats means more margin.