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A few weeks ago a Democratic analyst named Simon Bazelon wrote a piece for Matt Yglesias’ Substack site in which he warned that Dems were headed for electoral disaster in the Senate. Here’s how I summarized his message at the time:

Democrats are likely to lose 3-4 Senate seats this year and that’s just the start of their troubles. Bazelon goes on to point out that 2024 is looking ever worse for Democrats. There are six Senate seats up for reelection in 2024 in states where Biden either lost the state or won narrowly. If Democrats perform close to their historical average in that election they have a good chance of losing those six plus another two more that would be on the bubble.

Bazelon concluded with a chart suggesting that after 2024 Democrats could realistically have between 39 and 41 seats in the Senate. In other words, a Republican supermajority was a real possibility.

Today, the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent reacted to those claims and other similar pieces predicting bad news for the Democrat’s Senate Majority. He spoke with J.B. Poersch, the head of the Senate Majority PAC about those dire predictions.

I asked Poersch of the Senate Majority PAC how seriously the party’s top strategists take structural threats such as ongoing educational and geographic polarization.

“It is something we talk about internally quite a bit,” Poersch told me. He also allowed that the “long view” poses problems distinct from “cycle to cycle” challenges.

However, Poersch argued that Democrats have faced these deficits for a long time. Ultimately, he said, various factors particular to a race or cycle tend to determine whether those deficits can be overcome.

“While I don’t doubt that every cycle, Senate Democrats have to scramble,” Poersch said, Democrats aren’t set to “lose the ability to have the majority” in a Rubicon-crossing sense…

Poersch did acknowledge some of these problems but said Democrats “can cut off some of those trend lines” by “holding firm” in “unexpected” places. His view is basically that these trends aren’t necessarily a prison sentence: “Historically, Senate Democrats have proven that.”

If you’re not a regular reader of Sargent’s columns then you’re probably missing a lot of the context here. Sargent is relentlessly, indefatigably bullish on everything progressive and openly hostile toward anything conservative. He is forever seeing the dark cloud on the right and the silver lining on the left. So by his usual standards the tone of this interview can only be described as a big downer.

It turns out that, yes, Poersch and the party’s top strategists really are concerned about this. He also didn’t reject the idea that there could be a long term problem. Notice what else he didn’t say. He didn’t say Democrats would hold the majority this year or get it back in 2024. The most upbeat thing he said was that Democrats haven’t yet lost the ability to have a majority. He added that maybe there will be some surprises like the ones in Georgia that gave Dems control of the Senate, but he doesn’t say where those surprises might be or how likely they are to happen. For Sargent, the outcome seems to be a general frustration with the state of things:

This debate is ultimately very frustrating. Democrats are told to achieve distance from “wokeness,” but these prescriptions are often too vague and don’t entertain whether Democrats can counter cultural attacks by articulating their values with conviction and indicting Republican extremism.

Sargent’s previously stated view is that wokeness isn’t the problem though he did admit last year that sometimes wokeness goes too far. His hope is that Democrats can fight back on some of these issues and win people over. I agree that they can probably rally people like Sargent himself, i.e. people who are already firmly in the progressive camp. Maybe some enthusiasm would help. But at the same time doubling-down on progressive convictions will also make things more difficult for the half of the party that isn’t progressive and that is trying to get reelected in purple or light blue states. I’m not sure I see a way out of this one for the Democratic Party. The are internally divided between two camps. The louder one side of that divide speaks the more problems it creates for the other side.

Source: This post first appeared on HotAir

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