Let’s assume Democrats lose Alabama and keep Michigan and Minnesota. They will have to take back four GOP-held seats to win a tie in the Senate. That tie could then be broken by Kamala Harris if the Biden-Harris ticket wins.

But with only 50 senators, Democrats would need the vote of West Virginia’s Joe Manchin to pass court packing and end the filibuster. Manchin is a moderate Democrat who may not be susceptible to pressure. He isn’t up for reelection until 2024 when he will be 77 and might retire. Manchin has bluntly said that he opposes court packing and abolishing the filibuster. Arizona Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema has also said she opposes court packing.

If the filibuster remains in place, Democrats would be unlikely to pass a bill admitting either the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico as a state as a means of gaining additional senators.

And unless they nuke the filibuster, Democrats can’t move forward on their other liberal legislative priorities such as the Biden version of the Green New Deal, gun control, taxpayer financing of campaigns, restricting independent political speech, and weakening ballot integrity protections.