This year presents and uncommon opportunity to bring change to the senate.
This week's election of Scott Brown to the US Senate from Massachusetts puts the spotlight on senate races generally. One-third of senators are elected in each two-year election and serve for six years. That's 33 1/3 per election--and this is the year when that 34th senator is up for election.
Furthermore, in ordinary times incumbency is a strong advantage that almost guarantees reelection. So only where a senator is not seeking reelection is there a "competitive" seat. Two liberal Democrats (Dorgan, Dodd) have already announced retirement plans. Two others have been appointed rather than elected (Bennett, Burris) and only Bennett has announced that he intends to run. One more (Spector) was elected as a Republican and changed parties. (I wonder if he's regretting his decision right about now.)
The potential for change we can really believe in is great.
Larry Sabato predicts that if the election were held today, the Democrats would retain only 52 seats. He suggests that the political environment might be better for the Democrats in the fall if the economy improves. I don't see the Democrats making any changes in their direction that might make that happen. The more likely scenario is worse both for the economy and for them. read more »