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Unless the polls are systematically biased, Republicans will hold the Senate with a healthy cushion once all the runoffs are through. For the first time in his career, Barack Obama will be forced to use his veto pen to protect his interests. Republicans can vote down his judicial nominees, forcing him into stealth candidates. I have hope that Republicans will force devastating votes and joyous capitulations with regularity over the next two years.
This is good news, but it is less important than people make it out to be. There is still the filibuster to contend with. Republicans will be an easier target for Obama to demonize. They run the risk of damaging the Republican brand before the vastly important 2016 election. But the most important part of this — and I argue any — election is the power of incumbency.
Incumbency — or, more specifically, the ability to gain it with a candidate who’s more than a flash in a pan — matters because it predicts one’s ability to outperform in future races. Nate Silver quantifies it as such: