Why 54 REALLY > 53 or 52, when it comes to Senate math.

And this is why you always try to grab as many seats as you can in an election, period: “Democrats are looking to reclaim their Senate majority in two years, but after losing nine Senate seats in 2014, their path back to that majority won’t be easy.” Because it took us picking up nine Senate seats to get an article like that in the Atlantic. If we had ended at fifty-two or even fifty-three, the tone would have been much different.

In fact, reading between the lines, the Atlantic’s Josh Kraushaar is not entirely certain just how well the Democrats will do in 2016. Of the seven races he looked at (six Republican-held, one Democrat): Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Harry Reid10%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard10%‘s facing yet another brawl. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ron Johnson81%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard81%‘s only really sweating this race IF Russ Feingold decides to run and IF Russ Feingold decides to betray his own campaign finance beliefs. Pat Toomey’s likely opponent Joe Sestak can’t decide who he hates more: Toomey, or his own party’s political elite. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Mark Kirk37%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard37% is probably bulletproof, thanks to sympathy over his stroke (and his general blue-state Republican record). Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Richard Burr57%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard57% doesn’t have a credible opponent, outside of the recently-beaten Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Kay Hagan5%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard5%. Thanks to Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Marco Rubio82%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard82% will likely feel obliged not to run for President, which means that he’ll be re-elected Senator. And Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. John McCain49%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard49%… well, that could be a bright spot, IF McCain loses his primary*.

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