... a certain other implication which will naturally evolve from this.
Imagine, if you will, our solar system as a cliff face, with the sun as the valley floor and the planets and smaller bodies as edifices at various heights up the cliff according to their distance from the sun.
What can the person farthest up the cliff do to everyone else the easiest, at any distance below him?
This past election was weighted even more heavily in the GOP's favor, 23 to 10. The Democratic Party picked up two seats anyway, if one includes the two independents who now caucus with us.
We currently enjoy a ten-seat advantage in the Senate, 55-45, and we have the best chance in decades to capture a supermajority in 2014. If we hold or pick up all Senate elections outside of the old Confederacy, we get it.
What has already happened is this: two of the three Senate Classes are now controlled nearly 2 to 1 by Democrats. Since 2006, Republicans simply have been unable to carry statewide elections in the way they once did, as the GOP devolves ever further into sectionalism and extremism, exactly as their spiritual forebears did (as Democrats) prior to the Civil War.
By 2016, even the Republican gerrymandering in the House will begin sagging, as their own policies kill their constituents, push them into poverty, and cancel their votes by forcing them into urban areas where they have a chance of survival.
In that year, I suspect, Republicans will find themselves defending half of the Senate seats they have left in Congress, including virtually all of the Ohio River states that broke for President Obama this past election, and they are going to lose many of them.
The particular question of West Virginia is certainly a touchy one and until WV's crushing poverty, infrastructural collapse, and environmental destruction is addressed, ignorance--and the GOP--will hold sway. But the replacement of Jay with a Republican will have little functional influence on the Senate as a whole--and that's probably as much as I should say about that.