John Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech failed to get him to the White House, but it’s an apt description of the fight for Congress in 2018. While Democrats are primed to take back the majority in the House, Republicans are in better shape in the Senate, thanks to the class of senators up this cycle.
This class of Democratic senators has impeccable timing, considering Democrats picked up seats in the 2000, 2006, and 2012 cycles. Now in 2018, Democrats are likely to have the wind at their backs once again while defending the seats they picked up six years ago.
The consequence of having good election years in the Senate is that you have to defend all of those seats six years later. The 2012 election cycle has created a lopsided 2018 Senate map, where Democrats’ challenge is to maintain the status quo while the GOP has the opportunity to pick up several seats.
This cycle, Democrats are defending 24 seats compared to 9 for Republicans. Within the class are 10 Democratic senators in states Donald Trump won compared to one Republican senator in a Hillary Clinton state.
But while the map of competitive races favors Republicans, there is plenty of hand-wringing on the GOP side about the quality of Republican challengers and messy primaries. GOP strategists are divided on whether to inspire donors and voters through optimism or fear.
Meanwhile, the most vulnerable Democratic senators are preparing for battle by raising impressive warchests. All but Sen. Bill Nelson of…