Democrats got whooped in the midterms, losing virtually every toss-up race except New Hampshire, where Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) eked out the win. It was a stunning result — but not necessarily an unthinkable one.
As of Wednesday morning, Republicans hold 52 Senate seats. Their candidate in Alaska, Dan Sullivan, is also ahead by about 8,000 votes in the preliminary count. And Louisiana's Senate race, which is headed to runoff next month, is expected to deliver one more seat to the party, which would put the GOP at 54 seats to start the next session.
In FiveThirtyEight's final forecast before polls closed, the site's model projected a 53-seat GOP majority as the most likely outcome. So it came pretty danged close.
Sure, there were some misfires. The model had Republicans as slight underdogs in Kansas and North Carolina, though the party carried both. But the broader point remains that, for all the surprised reactions in the immediate aftermath, this was actually a fairly likely outcome.