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Don't Get Cocky About 2014

1:54 PM, Jul 21, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Over at the New York Times, Nate Cohn throws cold water on the notion that 2014 is going to be a landmark year for the GOP: 

The Republicans will have a good chance of picking up the Senate without an anti-Democratic wave. There are so many Democratic-held seats up for grabs in red and purple states this year that the G.O.P. could take the Senate under neutral conditions. Candidates like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, for instance, won by modest margins in 2008, even though it was an excellent year for Democrats and even though they were bolstered by huge black turnout.  

But if a wave doesn’t materialize, and if Republicans don’t post victories in Democratic-tilting states like Iowa or Colorado, it will be hard to consider 2014 a great year for Republicans. That will be true even if they take the Senate by taking advantage of a favorable map. The Republicans don’t need more evidence of their ability to win with low Democratic turnout in states like Louisiana and Alaska heading into 2016. Fortunately for the G.O.P., there are still more than three months to go.

Aside from Cohn's specious assertion that "the economy and the deficit are both in a better place than they were in 2010," his analysis here looks pretty sound. Cohn's right that the question about this election is not whether or not the GOP can take back the Senate—the structural advantages Republicans enjoy make that pretty likely.

The more pertinent question is, will the GOP be able to carry any gains won in this election past the next election cycle?In 2016, the Senate map won't be nearly as favorable to Republicans. Turnout will also be much higher in 2016, as there is a good chance a popular Democratic presidential candidate will be at the top of the ballot to help the party's Senate candidates along.

Given Obama's fecklessness in the face of global conflagrations and economic and social unrest at home, a lot could change between now and November. But for now, there's no strong evidence of a GOP wave big enough to carry the party past 2014 into rockier waters in 2016.

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