I like Charlie Cook’s stuff, but there’s a glaring hole in the logic here:
…Democrats have fared well in Senate races when the presidency was up for grabs. In 2008 and 2012, they picked up eight and two seats, respectively. Their gain in 2012 wasn’t larger because they’d already picked up four seats in 2000 and six more in 2006—the two previous times this class of senators had faced voters—leaving fewer additional seats within their reach.
Conversely, Republicans did wonderfully in the midterm elections of 2010 and 2014, when they picked up six and nine seats, respectively. Add in the impact of the political toxicity surrounding Obama in 2010, and Republicans had a hurricane-force wind at their backs. The class of senators who are up for reelection in 2016 were the beneficiaries, but now they must face an electorate that is demographically more daunting.
…although he left himself an out by saying ‘up for grabs.’ Which excuses away 1996 and 2004, where Democrats lost two and four Senate seats, respectively. And, to be more accurate: the reason why the Democrats gained two seats in 2012 is because Todd Akin blew up in Missouri, and managed to include Richard Mourdock of Indiana in the blast radius. And, for that matter: Charlie’s own current analysis of the race shows only four Republican seats as Toss-Ups. Assuming that Harry Reid’s open seat is equally up for grabs, that argues that the Senate map will probably not shift enough for a flip.
But the aforementioned hole in the logic is this: it does not adequately address the likelihood that no Democratic candidate can duplicate Barack Obama’s specific demographic appeal. This is an important point. This is a very important point. The entire Democratic model assumes that 2008 and 2012 can be replicated by any particular candidate. This is not… confirmed, to put it mildly.
So: don’t get cocky, but don’t forget that means eventually revert, either.