The Spectacle Blog

Filibuster Proofing

By on 4.1.08 | 11:19AM

A few people have asked me to clarify whether I was predicting a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in this column. Actually, I stopped short of making a prediction in that piece but I do have an opinion on that question: Yes and no.

I expect that Republicans will lose Senate seats in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. Colorado and Oregon are toss-ups. New Mexico looks like a toss-up right now but it might not after the Pearce/Wilson primary. Maine is a likely Republican retention, Louisiana a good chance for a pickup. So even if things go a little better for the Republicans or a little worse than I'm guessing right now, they should still have at least 41 seats after November, probably with some to spare.

But I do think it will be difficult to maintain filibusters the further below 49 Senate seats the Republicans fall, even if the Democrats don't technically have a filibuster-proof majority. Susan Collins's reelection in Maine won't do much to help the GOP on this front, the loss of John Sununu in New Hampshire would hurt. A win by Bob Schaeffer in Colorado and/or Steve Pearce in New Mexico would help, as would the pickup in Louisiana.

Having said all that, campaigns matter. On paper, we should already be in a general election race between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. That didn't happen and campaign dynamics are a bit part of why. As the cliche goes, a lot can happen between now and November.

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