On paper, the numbers tell you the Democrats held on to a majority in the Senate last week.
In reality, things won’t be quite that neat. In fact, on some issues the Republicans actually may have a functional majority, given the sentiments likely to prevail among certain Democrats who face the voters in two years.
Here’s the situation. After last week’s midterm election, the Senate next year will have 51 Democrats, two independents who caucus with the Democrats, and 47 Republicans. (The Republican from Alaska could be either Joe Miller, the tea-party candidate who was the official GOP nominee, or write-in incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. It appears Ms. Murkowski got enough votes to stick around, but all her write-in votes haven’t been counted yet.)
So, in theory, that means Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, having survived his own election-day near-death experience, should be able to muster 53 votes if he keeps his troops in line.