Mickey Kaus draws the wrong conclusions:
Just asking: What does it tell you about a political party if in a year of epic disaster for their opponents the best they can hope for is a 51-49 majority in the Senate? ... 8:21 A.M.
It tells you that the Senate is not a majoritarian institution. Only 1/3 of its seats are up for election at a time, and Democratic voters are concentrated in densely populated states, which disadvantages them in the Senate. As Hendrik Hertzberg wrote:
Fifty-one senators—a majority—can represent states with as little as seventeen per cent of the American people. Sixty senators—enough to stop a filibuster—can represent as little as twenty-four per cent. That’s theory. What about reality? Well, if each of every state’s two senators is taken to represent half that state’s population, then the Senate’s fifty-five Republicans represent 131 million people, while its forty-four Democrats represent 161 million. Looked at another way, the present Senate is the product of three elections, those of 2000, 2002, and 2004. In those elections, the total vote for Democratic senatorial candidates, winning and losing, was 99.7 million; for Republicans it was 97.3 million. The forty-four-person Senate Democratic minority, therefore, represents a two-million-plus popular majority—a circumstance that, unless acres trump people, is at variance with common-sense notions of democracy.
In addition, it tells you that the Democrats are starting out holding only 45 seats, including 18 of the 33 seats up in this cycle. If they get to 51, that means they took 24 out of the 33 available seats. That's a pretty good batting average.