Republicans will likely win an important victory tonight that will make it even harder for Democrats to win back the House and the Senate in 2016. As a result, divided government is the probably best case scenario for Democrats for the foreseeable future – as they could potentially win back the Senate but not the House. The election, however, means very little for the 2016 presidential election which will be driven by a very different set of contextual influences and political calculations. By midterm standards, the results pale in comparison to 2010 or 2004 and “Republicans in Congress” remain unpopular. Dissatisfaction has not yet melded into Republican support.
On the Democratic side, please disregard any talk about how losing the Senate in 2014 helps in 2016 (it doesn’t) or how the party avoided any even more disastrous outcome. The Democratic silver lining may come in gubernatorial elections, but the gains will hardly offset the loss of Senate control.