The New York Times published a story on Friday that refuted a prediction I made in a blog post earlier in the week. I projected that the Senate, in spite of the recent loss in Alabama, would continue to be controlled by Republicans after the 2018 elections. The Times indicated that the chances Democrats would overtake Republicans in the Senate were looking more favorable every day.
By my count Democrats have 12 vulnerable seats going into the 2018 elections and 9 of them are in states that Trump carried in 2016. Of these 5 were states where the president won by 5 or more percentage points. These include McCaskill (MD), Tester (MT), Heitkamp (ND), Brown (OH) and Manchin (WV).
On the other side of the coin Clinton won Nevada by 2.4 percentage points. The Republican senator (Heller) would seem to be at risk.
Let’s assume Republicans win 3 of the 5 seats where Trump led by 5 or more percentage points and Democrats win Nevada. The current split in the Senate including the Republican loss in Alabama, is 51-49. After the 2018 elections, under a conservative scenario for Republicans, the split would be 53-47 for the GOP.
If Republicans win all 5 of the states where Trump defeated Clinton by 5 or more percentage points, the split would be 55-45.
The Times’ dream of a Democratic majority in the Senate is quite remote. Of course significant political turmoil could change the calculus dramatically. But short of an impeachment proceeding, which is unlikely because Republicans control the House, not much will change in the Senate in 2018.