It was a great day for the Democratic Party on November 4, 2008. A black, young Senator named Barack Obama had won his longshot bid for the presidency, the House of Representatives extended their large Democratic majority, and Senate Democrats were on the verge of sealing a “Super Majority.”
A little over a year later, with midterm elections nearly a year away, Democrats are becoming growingly concerned about how many of their party members, and even more so, party leaders, will stick around for another term.
In the past week, the Democrats saw one of their Congressmen switch party allegiance in hopes that it will save his re-election prospects while four more House Democrats announced that they will retire at the end of this term meaning that the Democrats in the House alone are already down 12 incumbent Representatives (11 retiring and Alabama’s Parker Griffith defecting).
In the Senate, the situation is even worse since Senators have to deal with the filibuster. At least four Senators are in trouble of losing their spots and numerous others will have to seriously work for it. Among the Senators on the bubble are Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and the Democrat that has been running the Democratic efforts on the economy and helping out on healthcare Chris Dodd. The Democrats are also expected to lose the Illinois seat that was previously occupied by Barack Obama (before it was embroiled in the Rod Blagojevich scandal) and expect a fight for the seat that Vice President Joe Biden vacated in Delaware.
Even here in New York, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand is far from a sure thing to win.
This is to be expected, however. The president’s party almost always loses seats during midterm elections. What really has the Democrats worried is the prospect of things getting worse before they get better. With the economy still in the tank and the Congress being far from popular, the Democrats hope that this is as bad as it gets.