To confound the conventional, almost ominous predictions about 2014, Obama will have to articulate and amplify the narrative of his campaign last year. He will have to argue not intermittently but consistently that it’s time to do the country’s business and fulfill the voters’ mandate. He will have to say to them: You elected a president who’s on your side. Now will you elect a Congress on your side so we can move America forward? And he will have to be as totally engaged as he was in 2012.

He may have to explain why Republicans are responsible for a sluggish economic recovery. He will have to demand economic fairness. And if it doesn’t happen, he will have to insist day after day on real immigration reform. He will have to stand against the war on women. He can—and must—bring Hispanics, African-Americans, women, young people, and gays to the midterm polls in unexpected and unprecedented numbers. The changing contours of the American electorate shaped his triumph last fall. They are a demographic reality—but in November, the president and his state-of-the-art, ahead-of-the-arc campaign made certain that demography was destiny.

And that’s the heart of a second imperative. Yes, from the bully pulpit, Obama can provide air cover; he can even appeal to national-security voters by holding the GOP accountable for the indiscriminate slashing of the defense budget. But something more will be required. On the ground, Obama for America, now renamed Organizing for America, will have to wage a non-stop battle to reach and mobilize the sometime voters who can make the difference if they just turn out. If you receive the OFA emails, you are looking at the early signs of just such an effort.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and campaign chair Steve Israel have identified the districts where Democrats can capture the 17 seats that will give them a majority.