What will happen in 2012? I know it is early but I'd like to do a little forecasting. Certainly after this election the GOP will have between 48-52 seats and I suspect in 2012 they will do much better. The Democrats will have to defend a lot of seats and many of those will be very vulnerable. Let's look at some of them:
Feinstein-California. Probably safe. Unless things really go south for the Democrats she'll win again. The only way the GOP picks up this seat is if she retires.
Carper-Delaware. Safe. There's nobody in the Delaware GOP who can beat him.
Nelson-Florida. In big trouble. If Rubio loses this year I'm sure he'll run against Nelson in 2012. Rubio would trounce Nelson and I bet if this scenario plays out he will retire instead of face a loss.
Akaka-Hawaii. Safe. He's getting pretty old. Perhaps he will retire.
Cardin-Maryland. Vulnerable. He's got a solid edge because of a heavy Democratic registration edge but he could be beaten by Mike Steele or Bob Ehrlich.
Stabenow-Michigan. Very vulnerable. She's a weak candidate and Michigan is in absolute turmoil. There will be plenty of possible GOP challengers.
Klobuchar-Minnesota. Very vulnerable. The obvious GOP challenger is Norm Coleman who graciously conceded last year after the controversial election against Al Franken.
McCaskill-Missouri. Very vulnerable. She will lose in 2012-no question.
Tester-Montana. Very vulnerable. Elected by a hair in 2006 he'll face a stiff challenge. If the At-Large GOP House member Dennis Rehberg runs he'll crush Tester.
Nelson-Nebraska. Politically dead. He has no chance to be reelected and will almost certainly retire.
Menendez-New Jersey. Vulnerable. He faced a stiff challenge in 2006 from Tom Kean Jr. and I'm sure he'll get a challenger again. Especially after the success of Chris Christie there is a template for Republicans to win in blue states.
Bingaman-New Mexico. Probably safe. He's been in since 1982 so perhaps he'll look at retirement.
Conrad-North Dakota. Very vulnerable. As the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee he's presided over the largest deficits in American history-a fact that doesn't go over well in North Dakota. He's been able to pretend he's a moderate for many years but he supported the health care bill which is universally hated in that state.
Brown-Ohio. Very vulnerable. Arguably the most liberal senator in the country he'll face a stiff challenge from any number of GOP varsity players.
Casey-Pennsylvania. Very vulnerable. A complete moron, Bob Casey will get a challenger in 2012 and may well lose. He is a terrible debater with the classic deer-in-the-headlights look about him that will probably cost him his seat.
Whitehouse-Rhode Island. Safe.
Webb-Virginia. Vulnerable. He won by around 10,000 votes in 2006 and he'll have to face a deep GOP bench.
Byrd-West Virginia. Safe. When will this guy retire? He was elected in 1958.
Cantwell-Virginia. Somewhat vulnerable. She beat Slate Gorton in 2000 by a little over 2,000 votes. If Patty Murray gets beat this year (a distinct possiblity) then the GOP will send out someone tough to try to take her out.
Kohl-Wisconsin. Safe. An absolute nonentity in the Senate, I think he'll retire after four terms.
Lieberman-Conn. Unknown? Who knows what this guy does?
Brown-Massachusetts. Vulnerable. Any number of Democrats will aim to knock him off. I think he'll survive.
Ensign-Nevada. Vulnerable. He'll probably have to retire after his sex scandal.
Hutchinson-Texas. Safe but probably retiring to run for governor in 2014.
I think it very likely that the GOP will pick up at least seven seats in 2012 but, if they ran the table, could get twelve. As crazy at it may seem that would give them around sixty. You heard it here first.