Speed Reads

end of an era

Democrats could be on the 'precipice' of a minority-party era

Democrats narrowly control the White House, the Senate, and the House, but President Biden's agenda might still be "in peril," so long as one caucus member has the ability to derail negotiations or initiatives, writes Ezra Klein for The New York Times.

And even worse, Democrats are "on the precipice of an era without any hope of a governing majority" for potentially the next decade, meaning the coming year could be their "last, best chance to alter course," according to pollster and election modeler David Shor. If they otherwise fail, "they will not get another chance. Not anytime soon," Klein writes.

More specifically, Democrats are "screwed" in the Senate, per Shor's projections. But why? Well, should Democrats pull off what would be a "startling performance" and beat Republicans by four points in the midterms, they would still only have a 50 percent chance of holding on to their majority. Worse, if they win just 51 percent of the vote, "they'll likely lose a seat — and the Senate," Klein writes per Shor.

But it's 2024 when things could really get bad — if Democrats win a run-of-the-mill 51 percent of the vote, "Shor's model projects a seven-seat loss, compared with where they are now." In other words, "Senate Democrats could win 51 percent of the two-party vote in the next two elections and end up with only 43 seats in the Senate."

To combat the problem, Democrats need a way forward, and fast. And although there are plenty of forces at play — popularism, polarization, and the fact that "almost all politics is now national" — Klein requests the party start by recognizing itself to be a singular entity, incapable of influencing or winning voters until it understands who it truly is.