As Hillary Clinton slides in the national polls, nervous Democrats watch in disbelief as the race for the White House tightens. But the presidency isn’t the only trophy on the table this November. And Mrs. Clinton’s recent implosion now has the party faithful worried about squandering a prime opportunity to flip the Senate.
Republicans currently hold a 54-46 edge in the upper chamber. But they face a significant disadvantage this campaign given they have to defend 24 of those seats, while the Democrats need worry about only 10.
With the mercurial Donald Trump heading the GOP ticket, many analysts predicted significant legislative losses for the party. Democrats figured they had a good shot at as many as 10 Republican Senate seats, while holding just one that might be vulnerable, Harry Reid’s spot right here in Nevada.
But numbers in Ohio, Florida and Arizona — states Democrats targeted for takeover — show Republican Senate candidates now running comfortably ahead. That leaves Democrats with “fewer paths to victory,” The Associated Press reported this week, in their effort to pick up the four or five seats they’ll need to regain the majority.
This is particularly troubling to those on the left side of the aisle because the electoral map reverses in 2018. That’s when Democrats must defend 25 seats — including positions in Republican-leaning North Dakota, Montana, Indiana and West Virginia — to only eight for the GOP.
Seven weeks is an eternity in politics and nobody can predict the future. But at this point, the drab and uninspiring Clinton campaign isn’t doing Democrats any favors when it comes to advancing the party’s down-ticket agenda.