Tuesday's primary results brought a dose of reality to Democrats: They have little or no chance of taking control of the Senate next year, writes Charlie Mahtesian at Politico. Democrats' hopes were raised briefly by the prospect of once-imprisoned coal executive Don Blankenship winning the GOP nomination in West Virginia, but he lost to a more mainstream opponent. That means vulnerable Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin is in real trouble in November's general election: He'll be facing a legit Republican foe, not a "train-wreck" of a candidate in Blankenship. But Democrats' troubles go far beyond this one race—they revolve around a "merciless" map. "Democrats are defending more seats, in more hostile places, than at any other time in memory," writes Mahtesian.
Consider that in this election, Democrats are defending 26 seats and Republicans just nine. It's entirely possible that Democrats will flip two of those GOP seats, perhaps in Nevada and Arizona. That's the "easy part," writes Mahtesian. But gaining those two while defending all of their own is a gargantuan task, especially considering that 10 Democratic incumbents represent states won by President Trump in 2016, and five of those are in states where Hillary Clinton didn't even get 40% of the vote. Manchin is one of those five. "Without the coal baron to kick around this fall, his reelection campaign—and [Chuck] Schumer's quest to become majority leader—just got infinitely, if not insurmountably, harder." Click to read the full analysis. (Read more Senate stories.)