Democrats press the panic button

Taegan Goddard
The Week

After a special election loss in Florida last week, two prominent Democrats with close ties to President Obama sounded the alarm and warned their party that this year's midterm elections may be a disaster if they don't act quickly.

Former White House political adviser David Plouffe told Bloomberg,"This is a screaming siren that the same problems that afflicted us in 2010 could face us again."

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Similarly, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Meet the Press that the Senate is "definitely" in danger of flipping to Republican control, adding, "If we lose the Senate, turn out the lights. The party's over."

The reasons are clear: President Obama's dismal approval rating, continued unease over the Affordable Care Act, and a general lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters are contributing to the alarm.

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But it's an expanding Senate map that has Democratic strategists really worried.

Republican need just six seats to win control of the Senate. And in recent weeks, Republicans have recruited strong candidates in states like Colorado and New Hampshire that Democrats didn't previously think were vulnerable.

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The Cook Political Report now rates three Democratic-held seats as "likely" or "lean" Republican — Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Two others are "toss ups" — Arkansas and Michigan.

That means Republicans need to pick off just one more seat in places like Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, or North Carolina.

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Those aren't tough odds if the political winds are blowing at your back.

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