We are barely two weeks into 2013, but already 2014 is shaping up to be an electoral disaster for Democrats. For starters, a total of seven Democratic Senators from states that Mitt Romney carried in 2012 are up for election in 2014. And six of those Senators (Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Mary Landrieu, D-La., Max Baucus, D-Mont., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Jay Rockefeler, D-W.V.) hail from states that Romney carried by double-digits.

More importantly however, mid-term electorates are vastly different general election electorates. As Thomas Schaller notes, this spells doom for Democrats in 2014:

It’s no mystery why Democrats generally perform better in presidential years while Republicans tend to excel in midterm cycles: Lower midterm turnouts tend to skew the electorate toward older, white and/or more affluent voters. Given the growing cleavage in recent decades between partisan preferences of white and non-white voters, cyclic differences in racial composition are particularly important.

And, Schaller notes, this is particularly troublesome for Democrats at the state level, since “all but nine of the 48 governors with four-year terms are elected in non-presidential cycles, as are the substantial majority of state legislators.”

Schaller recommends that Democrats recruit more campaign volunteers in minority neighborhoods since there is some evidence that more minority volunteers boosts minority turnout. But can Democrats not named “Obama” get people to volunteer their time?

Ed Kilgore recommends that Democrats tackle the problem by improving their performance among the white older voters that dominate mid-term turnout. But looking at Obama’s 2013 agenda (amnesty, gun control, cap and trade, higher taxes on investment income) it is hard to see anything that would appeal to this demographic.

As toxic as the environment on Capitol Hill is right now, this next year is probably the best chance Obama has to do anything in his second term.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Obama backdoor pick tainted by whiff of scandal
Brian Hughes: NRA ‘disappointed’ in Joe Biden’s approach to gun control
Phillip Klein: Setting realistic expectations for Obama’s second term
Tim Carney: Former abortion lobbyist busted in child-sex sting
Byron York: Defense spending can and should be cut — in the right way
Mark Tapscott: Confessions of a gun-loving journalist

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, American Express to Cut 5,400 Jobs: American Express Co. set plans to cut 5,400 jobs in its biggest retrenchment in a decade, as it pares back a travel business that has been hammered by the rise of Internet-based hotel- and airfare-reservation services.
The Washington Post, Pentagon plans hiring freeze, to slash base operating costs: The Pentagon will impose a freeze on hiring civilians, slash operating costs on military bases and take other immediate steps to trim spending in preparation for the possibility that Congress will fail to reach a deal to avert billions of dollars in additional cuts, defense officials said Thursday.
The New York Times, Bank Deal Ends Flawed Reviews of Foreclosures: Federal banking regulators are trumpeting an $8.5 billion settlement this week with 10 banks as quick justice for aggrieved homeowners, but the deal is actually a way to quietly paper over a deeply flawed review of foreclosed loans across America, according to current and former regulators and consultants.
The Times-Picayune, Jindal calls for elimination of all Louisiana income and corporate taxes: Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to eliminate Louisiana’s income and corporate taxes and pay for those cuts with increased sales taxes, the governor’s office confirmed Thursday. The governor’s office has not yet provided the details of the plan.

Righty Playbook
Brett Talley on Obama’s executive caprice
Karl Rove has A GOP Strategy for the Debt-Ceiling Fight
David Rivkin and Lee Casey on The Myth of Government Default

Lefty Playbook
Dylan Matthews on How to solve the debt ceiling crisis with Monopoly money
Paul Krugman says our deficit problem has already been moistly solved
Talking Points Memo reports that gun control advocates want to be called “gun safety” advocates