Unless something amazing happens, the Republicans will control the Senate in 2015. The odds are all in their favor this year: It’s the midterm election of a President in his second term, which has always meant losses for the party in power (whether Democrat or Republican) except once, with Clinton. Plus the randomness of the Senate elections favors Republicans this year.
You see, the Senate is elected in a staggering fashion.
They serve six years and every two years, a third of them are up for re-election. This was done by design to prevent the entire body from being changed in an election, and it’s a very good idea, too.
Most of the seats that are up for re-election this year are seats held by Democrats. That’s just the way the odds went. And given that it is an election year where the party in power traditionally loses seats, that just doubles the problem.
(Now, a quick disclaimer: There are about four races where the polls show the difference between the candidates within the margin of error, meaning it is still possible, although unlikely, that the Democrats will hold the Senate if enough of these races go their way.)
However, in 2016, the opposite occurs. More Republican seats are up for re-election. Lots more. And many of these seats are held by first-time Senators who rode in on the tea party wave of 2010 (such as Pennsylvania’s own Senator Pat Toomey, who barely made it into office). It will be a Presidential election year, and that’s when Democrats come out to vote (especially if, for instance, there is the possibility of electing the first female President). And Democrats are highly favored in national elections. (We Democrats, after all, outnumber the Republicans. The problem is that they vote in big numbers and we don’t.)
So I expect we will have a new record set for the least amount accomplished by Congress ever for the next two years, followed by the election of a Democratic President and Senate.
So Mitch McConnell better enjoy his position while it lasts, because it won’t last long.