What will Harry Reid do if he can’t get to 8? That would be 8 years as Senate Majority Leader, a position he is rather fond of by now, having been there since 2007, which adds up to 7 years of course. Feared more than admired by colleagues in the Senate, Democratic colleagues that is, there may be more than a couple of coup plotters waiting in the wings on the hill, especially Schumer and Durban. Feared because of his ruthlessness which he has put to good effect by making sure not too much gets done in the Senate. Assuming the GOP takes charge of the upper chamber, a very reasonable assumption at this point, if not quite an outright certainty, what will his fellow Dems do with their fearless leader? If Gridlock is unpopular with voters, and it is, and if a lack of productive legislation is also unpopular with voters, and it is, then what can we say about Harry Reid’s legacy? That he’s a fighter who’s used to being on the ropes? Any other boxing metaphors anyone?

As has been pointed out during the campaign, the GOP has younger, more energetic more optimistic candidates who look forward to the challenges facing America and have new ways to solve them. The legacy lions have tended to be more Democrat than Republican, and they are growing long in the tooth. That’s not really about age, although that is part of the equation, it’s about ideas that can lift America out of the bad-tempered funk it seems to fall into when thinking about Washington. Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Cory Gardner in Colorado, and Joni Ernst in Iowa, whose already impressive service to the nation is just getting started it seems, all project an optimism and clear set of values that voters have been turning to in increasing numbers in the final weeks of these midterm elections. A grumpy and cantankerous chess player who loves stalemates is not quite as impressive. So what will the Democrats do after tonight? Should they decide to replace the aging pugilist, it will not be an easy task. While the GOP will have to put together, and especially promote, the ideas that they have been putting forward in a piecemeal fashion on health care, immigration, taxes, and regulation, the Democrats will have to decide on how to clean house. Will they turn on Harry Reid? Some already have. And what will they do without him?