In these heady days after the elections, I find myself thinking to how things were right after President Obama was elected. We were told, repeatedly, by our “betters” that the GOP was well and truly and thoroughly beaten, that the Democrats now had a lock on the reins of power for years and years to come, and we non-Democrats could just suck it.
One of the key elements cited was just how solid the Democrats’ lock on the US Senate was — after all, they’d just won a decisive majority, and 2010 was gonna only cement it — after all, 19 of the 34 seats up for re-election were held by Republicans.
My, did those numbers change in two years. Arlen Specter switched parties, Robert Byrd died, and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton resigned to join the Obama administration — and suddenly the number of seats in play became 18 Republican seats, 19 Democratic.
We still have two races to determine, with Washington and Alaska’s results still undetermined, the Republicans now hold 46 seats and the Democrats 52 (and the Senate’s two independents, who caucus with the Democrats).
But let’s take that same logic from 2010 and apply it to the next election, shall we?
In 2012, there will be 33 seats up for grabs (not counting any seats that might open between then and now). Of those seats, 10 are Republican, 21 Democratic, and those two “independents” (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut) who are Democrats in all but name.
Gosh, that certainly looks ominous for the Democrats, doesn’t it? After getting “shellacked” this time around, they have two years to redeem themselves in the voters’ eyes, or look at losing the Senate.
On the flip side, the Republicans will have to show that they can please the American people in the House, or they could find the tsunami they rode to victory Tuesday coming right back at them.
But as this year showed, that number can turn out to be meaningless. So, it needs to be said, over and over and over:
Don’t get cocky.