Although the press has concluded the democrats are “resigned” to get 57 seats in the Senate, three contests remain quite up in the air and I think dems still have a decent shot at the magic 60.
In Minnesota, the vote differential of 337 votes gets Al Franken an automatic recount. Saxbe Chambliss fell short of 50% in his race against Jim Martin, which means there will be an automatic run-off, which will garner national attention as well as a national mobilization of republicans and democrats to georgia. Anything can happen.Keep in mind the dems still have lots of cash on hand and the front page national press attention. Finally in Alaska, Mark Begich still thinks he has the votes to beat Ted Stevens. 60,000 votes were never counted.
Clearly the democrats won a mandate Tuesday night. But since it was just revealed that Obama just won North carolina and the dems could still pick up 3 more senate seats, this mandate could still surge into a landslide. this will make some difference come January.
The importance of this is that a landslide, even more than a mandate, will quiet the right wing fox argument that Obama and the dems have no mandate for change. Further it will empower progressives to push Obama and Congress to act more vigorously to get out out of iraq immediately, insure 44 million uninsured more quickly, and challenge oil company hegemony, more comprehensively.