The electoral map for upcoming elections is such a high hurdle for Senate Democrats that they are likely stuck in the minority until at least 2024, two presidential elections away, according to a new analysis.
In its "Crystal Ball" report, the University of Virginia's Center for Politics said that Republicans have the advantage because the nation is severly polaraized and in the 2018 elections they are fighting to hold far fewer seats in Democratic states while nearly a dozen Democrats are battling in Republican states.
The analysis from Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, looked at the three upcoming elections and found that Democrats have to win big next year in GOP states to take control.
"Democrats hold several seats in states where one might think, based on the presidential results, they have no business holding Senate seats in a polarized era. All of those dark-red state Democratic senators are up for reelection next year," wrote Kondik.
"If a significant number of them lose to Republicans, it's hard to see how Democrats could make up that ground in 2020 or 2022 based on the seats being contested. Such is the GOP advantage, and the Democratic handicap," he added.
The problem they face next year is that Democrats have 10 senators up for reelection in states President Trump won while Republicans are defending only one seat in a Clinton-won state, Nevada.
In 2020 and 2022, he said, Democrats have the advantage because twice as many Republican seats are up for reelection. But, he notes, there is no "glaring handicap" for the GOP and the Democrats will have seats they need to defend.
"That speaks to the GOP advantage in the Senate right now," said Kondik.
He added: " Even though Trump lost the popular vote by two percentage points, he won 30 states in the Electoral College, while Clinton won only 20. Because all states are created equal in the Senate, the median state in the Electoral College gives us a sense of the GOP tilt of the states overall. In ranking all the states by presidential margin from most to least Republican, the median falls between Arizona and North Carolina, which Trump won by an average of about 3.6 points, so presidential performance in the median Senate seat is roughly 5.5 points to the right of the nation."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org