As recently as three months ago, centrist Democrats were in a state of panic. After impressive victories in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders appeared to look determined to grab the seat of the president. A few in the party even feared the self-identified democratic socialist would wreak havoc down the ballot.
The Louisiana congressman Cedric Richmond, a member of Joe Biden’s campaign, commented on a February conference call, “If Bernie Sanders was at the top of the ticket, we would be in jeopardy of losing the House. We would not get the Senate back.”
Now, the world looks very different, and so does the Senate map. With Biden, the presumptive nominee and Donald Trump facing a lot of criticism for his handling of the coronavirus crisis, election analysts say the upper chamber is up for grabs for the Democrats.
Republicans have a 53-47 advantage, which means Democrats will have to flip at least three seats to win the majority, assuming they win the White House. If they don’t win the presidency, they will need four seats to control the Senate. Doug Jones, a Democrat, is also considered an underdog for re-election in Alabama. If he does not win, Democrats would require another Republican seat.
But Jones’s prospect is one of only a few options left for the Republicans to flip a seat themselves. Other Democrats up for re-election, such as Gary Peters in Michigan, are already pulling ahead. The map looks unfavorable for Republicans, with incumbents facing difficult re-election races in presidential battleground states like Arizona, Colorado, and North Carolina.