Dems’ likely Senate gains

When the dust settles this November, chances are Democrats will be in charge. Not only is Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden to debate for first time as front-runner John Kerry: Play based on Mueller report is 'an act of public service' Obama photographed alongside Clooney on boat in Italy MORE likely to be the next president, but the Democratic House advantage — currently 36 seats — is seemingly certain to grow to a margin of at least 50.

But the success or failure of the Democratic majority’s agenda will ultimately be determined in the Senate, where Republicans are struggling to retain enough seats to block the Democratic mandate via filibuster.

Democrats currently hold 49 Senate seats, and enjoy the solid support of Vermont Independent Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Biden to debate for first time as front-runner Rules for first Democratic primary debates announced MORE. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) initially gave Democrats their 51st seat for the majority, but has since ended up embracing the GOP on many key issues. Still, Republicans are faring so poorly this year that they face an outside chance of falling below 41 seats. That would mean no filibusters — and that would end the GOP’s ability to stymie the Democratic agenda.

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Democrats have a near-guaranteed pickup in Virginia and likely pickups in Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico and New Hampshire. Those five seats would bring the Democratic Conference to 55 seats. Democrats are running neck and neck against incumbent Republicans in Minnesota, North Carolina and Oregon. And they lag only slightly in Mississippi’s special-election seat.

If Democrats win those four attainable races, they’d reach 59 seats. That’s not a filibuster-proof majority, but large enough to reach 60 on an issue-by-issue basis. Senators like Maine’s Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - In exclusive interview, Trump talks Biden, Iran, SCOTUS and reparations Hillicon Valley: Senate bill would force companies to disclose value of user data | Waters to hold hearing on Facebook cryptocurrency | GOP divided on election security bills | US tracking Russian, Iranian social media campaigns Stephen King: 'It's time for Susan Collins to go' MORE and Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, George Voinovich of Ohio and even Lieberman would likely defect frequently to the Democratic positions on issues of healthcare, labor, national security and energy.

But even if Democrats don’t reach 60 this year, their chances in 2010 are excellent. In fact, the 2010 map looks even better for Democrats than this year’s.

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas is retiring, and popular Democratic Gov. Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusFederal investigators concluded Ryan Zinke's MAGA socks violated Hatch Act Kansas Senate race splits wide open without Pompeo Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? MORE will be available to make a run at the seat. Kentucky’s Jim Bunning barely escaped alive four years ago. Whether he retires or not, Rep. Ben Chandler (D) will be the favorite in 2010. New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg’s (R) conservatism is increasingly out of step with his state, which has been systematically cleansing itself of all things Republican. Watch for Rep. Paul Hodes (D) to challenge him.

In Ohio, Voinovich will have no shortage of Democrats looking for a sequel to the 2006 ouster of Republican incumbent Mike DeWine. And in Alabama, expect wildly popular Agricultural Commissioner Ron Sparks to challenge incumbent Sen. Richard Shelby (R). Sparks already regrets passing on this year’s Senate race, and won’t likely make the same mistake twice.

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Moreover, rumors are swirling that Iowa’s Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley raises concerns about objectivity of report critical of GOP tax law's effects Overnight Health Care: Key Trump drug pricing proposal takes step forward | Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic loses bid for license | 2020 Democrats to take part in Saturday forum on abortion rights Key Trump proposal to lower drug prices takes step forward MORE (R) might retire.

Freshman Republicans will face challenges in Alaska, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota. Some of those challenges will be tougher than others, of course, but elected officials are most vulnerable during their first reelection battle, and Democrats will aggressively pursue these seats.

Even in Arizona, polling in 2007 suggested that popular Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano could defeat longtime incumbent John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVeterans group to hand out USS John McCain T-shirts for July 4 on the National Mall Will we ever have another veteran as president? Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE (R) in a battle of titans. And in Louisiana, Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterLobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views Collins votes against Trump judicial pick MORE’s (R) sordid dalliances with prostitutes may provide an unexpected opening in a state that has been trending away from Democrats.

For their part, Democrats may have to sweat tricky reelection efforts in Colorado and Arkansas.

But barring any unexpected retirements or vacancies, 2010 — like 2008 — will be played almost exclusively on red territory.

The filibuster-proof majority is certainly within reach of Democrats — if not in this cycle, then in the next.

Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos .