By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Political analyst Charlie Cook, who is not known for being overly friendly to the Republicans, has some bad news for the Democrats.
"Come November, Senate Democrats' 60-vote supermajority is toast. It is difficult, if not impossible, to see how Democrats could lose the Senate this year. But they have a 50-50 chance of ending up with fewer than 55 seats in the next Congress."
"As for the House, we at The Cook Political Report are still forecasting that Democrats will lose only 20 to 30 seats. Another half-dozen or more retirements in tough districts, however, perhaps combined with another party switch or two, would reduce Democrats' chances of holding the House to only an even-money bet. We rate 217 seats either 'Solid Democratic' or 'Likely Democratic,' meaning that the GOP would have to win every single race now thought to be competitive to reach 218, the barest possible majority. But if Democrats suffer much more erosion in their 'Solid' and 'Likely' columns, control of the House will suddenly be up for grabs."
Whether Cook is right has yet to be determined, but the shift in his forecast is likely to have a profound effect on the ability of both parties to field quality candidates and, more importantly, to raise money. The more the numbers look like they are moving away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans, the harder it becomes for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team to play the expectations game. Likewise, it makes it even harder for her to keep her most vulnerable colleagues--ho generally happen to be the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus--in line on tough votes, like the one coming up on healthcare.