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They have subordinated their traditional focus on helping working-class Americans move up the economic ladder in favor of other priorities.
These are the people who shift the balance to one side or the other, either accepting a policy as reasonable or condemning it as ill-advised or illegitimate.
The fact is that Clinton may be more acceptable as a candidate than she was eight years ago because of her additional layer of experience.
Americans reeling from the economy still resent the policy choices that President Obama and congressional Democrats made early on.
At this point, a seven-seat gain would seem the most likely outcome for Senate Republicans.
If there is a wave, it is the open Senate seats in Colorado and Iowa, as well as the seats held by Sens. Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen, that will sound the alarm.
Now there appears to be a real question of whether Republicans may need to gross eight seats in order to net six.