There are a lot of reasons for Democrats to be cheery on Wednesday, but the outcome of the midterm Senate races is not one of them. With three key races (Arizona, Florida, and Montana) still too close to call, and the Mississippi race going to a runoff, Democrats are looking at a potential 45-55 make-up in Republicans' favor in 2019. "It's not the only important takeaway, but one important takeaway from last night is that it's going to be basically impossible for Democrats to have a governing coalition if they beat Trump in 2020," explained Vox's Dylan Matthews.
The math could look like this: In 2020, Democrats would need to hold all of their current Senate seats — including Alabama — plus flip six held by Republicans, including in all likelihood Arizona and Georgia, as well as places like Iowa, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina. (As David Faris explains for The Week, "Democrats may very well be underdogs everywhere but Colorado.")
If Republicans wind up with 55 Senate seats after 2018, it's going to be difficult for Democrats to get a majority in 2020 (middle column). They'd need to get Maine, Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina, plus one or two more in deep red states. https://t.co/Zk4VJMc9LH pic.twitter.com/gw9qtvnUqV
— Timothy B. Lee (@binarybits) November 7, 2018
To be fair, the 2018 map never looked any good for Democrats. The party had to defend 10 seats in states President Trump won in 2016, and had hinged chamber-flipping hopes on red states like Tennessee and Texas. The math will be the opposite in 2020 — Republicans will be on the defensive, with 21 Senate seats up compared to 12 being defended by Democrats. But it is still a long, uphill battle to retaking the Senate after Tuesday night. Jeva Lange