Visions Of A 2018 Senate Takeover Tantalize Democrats

And the possibility is worrying some Republicans, too.
Posted at 7:25 PM, Oct 10, 2017

Senate Democrats are apparently getting a little giddy about actually taking back the Senate in the 2018 midterms. Well, maybe. At least, if almost every thing goes their way and nothing goes wrong. Which is exactly how politics always works, right? 

Before now, you'd be hard pressed to find someone seriously talking about a Senate flip before 2020. And it's not just Dems — even some Republicans are getting a little concerned that a stalled agenda and controversial president could put their slim majority in jeopardy.

But all this election optimism seems to be happening behind closed doors. In public, Dems are a bit more cautious. Sen. Chris Murphy put it this way to Politico: "We might be playing a little more offense. At the same time, we don’t have a lot of bandwidth for offense given the defense we have to play."

That expanded "offense" is attributable a few different things: The constant failure of the Republicans to pass any major legislation, better numbers in Alabama's special Senate election and the announcement of Sen. Bob Corker's retirement. And now Republicans are putting all their eggs in the tax-reform basket.

The GOP is feeling the heat, too. The Senate's No 3. Republican, John Thune, said if his party "can't get a win on tax reform, then we're going to have a lot to answer for the voters next fall."

A Senate majority flip, no matter when it came, would upend D.C. and further endanger the Trump agenda. Two of the most important responsibilities of the Senate are confirmations and oversight.

The Senate approves high-level appointees like district judges, cabinet secretaries and Supreme Court justices. A simple majority gives a party the ability to either push through or block those nominees.

Oh, and then there's the ability to control investigations and oversight into the administration. From the ethics of Trump's D.C. hotel to the Trump camp's alleged ties to Russia — if Dems were in charge, there'd likely be an investigation on almost every day of President Donald Trump's term.