The losses of Democrats like Rick Boucher (southwest Virginia coal country), Lincoln Davis (increasingly conservative central Tennessee), Chet Edwards (College Station, Texas), Jim Marshall (Macon, Ga.), Earl Pomeroy (North Dakota), Ike Skelton (the Ozarks) and Gene Taylor (Biloxi and Pascagoula, Miss.) are particularly painful for Democrats, given the treacherous political terrain they face in those districts. Democrats were incredibly lucky to hold these seats as long as they did, and they were able to because incumbents like Skelton (elected in 1976), Boucher (1982), Taylor (1989), and Edwards (1990) had adeptly burrowed themselves in. Democrats were always going to lose these seats when these representatives stepped down, but the tidal wave of 2010 washed them all away in one fell swoop.

Put another way, of the 20 most Republican-leaning House seats held by Democrats on Election Day, 17 of them fell. With Partisan Voting Index scores ranging from R+9 in Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin’s South Dakota at-large district to an unfathomable R+20 for Edwards’ Texas seat and Taylor’s south Mississippi district, it’s a miracle Democrats held these seats for as long as they did. Altogether, Democrats dropped 25 seats this week with PVI ratings of R+6 or more. It’s difficult to envision the party winning many of these seats back in the short- or long-term future…

It’s just hard to see how Democrats will be able to score the broad gains they’ll need to win back their House majority any time soon. It might just be another 12-year wait.