I don't deny that that will probably happen. But as Steve M points out, for a near-defunct party, the bad guys did pretty well this week. A state which was among the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare elected not only a Republican, but one of those anti-establishment wingnut Republicans, as its governor. A city which had elected an openly-lesbian mayor rejected a gay equal-rights ordinance. Dinosaurs remain formidable and dangerous right up to the point of extinction.
Even if the polls look reassuring (which is no longer unequivocally true), the results this Tuesday were much worse than the polls for those races predicted. This reinforces the view that the growing prevalence of cell phones and reluctance of busy people to participate in surveys are making accurate polling more difficult. Even if the polls next year show us comfortably ahead of the Republicans again, we can't count on that.
Complacency is dangerous. It could take the edge off of GOTV efforts and the energy we need to fight the bad guys. It could also encourage supporters of whichever Democrat fails to win the nomination to indulge in PUMA-like tantrums. I understand the impulse; I've been there. But we can't afford it. The Republicans are far crazier and more dangerous than they were in 2008. A Republican Presidential win would doubtless be accompanied by retaining Congress. Obamacare, the Iran agreement, separation of church and state, any chance of a sane Supreme Court, all progress on fighting climate change, very likely even Social Security and Medicare -- all wiped out, plus invasions of Iran and who knows where else. We can't take even the ghost of a chance of that happening.
You may have to fight for a candidate you have real reservations about -- Hillary's Iraq vote, Bernie's position on guns. For that matter, Obama has just signaled a willingness to go to the mat for the TPP. This is infuriating, but consider what a Republican in office instead of Obama would have meant: even worse trade pacts, no Obamacare, war instead of the Iran deal, more Scalias instead of Kagan and Sotomayor (they learned from Souter and won't make that mistake again -- from now on Republican Presidents will choose only proven wingnuts for the Court). Gore too had flaws, but no sane person can say that it would have made no difference having him as President for those eight years rather than Bush. Nor is there any point in contrasting the Democrat with some ideal person who doesn't exist and couldn't win if he did. Next November there will be two and only two people who could actually become President: the Democratic nominee (whether it's Hillary or Bernie) and a raving maniac.
I'm still optimistic. I believe we'll win. It's just that I'm always aware of the dangers of overconfidence. Pot smokers in Ohio, gays in Houston, and the half-million newly-insured in Kentucky are about to suffer the consequences of low turnout caused by complacency, apathy, and cynicism. Let their plight serve as a warning for the whole country next year.