Those ardent Democratic supporters who spent Wednesday morning weeping into their corn flakes might be heartened to hear The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan read the midterm tea leaves in a manner that makes it all seem slightly less catastrophic.

Yes, the Republicans now have a pass to run roughshod over any eleventh-hour measures President Obama might try to pass before leaving the White House. That’s just where 2016’s most prominent Democratic hopeful, Hillary Clinton, might stand to benefit, as Gearan explains:

But many Democratic strategists said the switch to Republican control may have a silver lining for Clinton, helping her better define herself as she shapes a potential 2016 presidential campaign. By providing a convenient foil for Clinton and other Democrats, a GOP-run Congress would make it less imperative for Clinton to highlight her differences with President Obama, these strategists said.

Obama’s damaged, lame-duck condition also makes Clinton the strongest Democrat left standing.

A Republican Senate is likely to “spend a lot of time trying to repeal some of the progress made in the Obama administration,” Democratic strategist Erik Smith said. “That would be a great situation for her, because she could both make the case against the Republicans while currying favor with the Obama base.”

CNN offered another angle that sets the midterm Republi-pocalypse against the still-hazy 2016 horizon:

Republicans, meanwhile, are still figuring out how to communicate with a changing electorate that — even after the Republican tsunami on Tuesday — still favors Democrats in presidential years. The party is bracing for an electoral free-for-all, the likes of which it has not seen since 1964 when conservative Barry Goldwater emerged from the Republican convention in San Francisco as the nominee. Unlike recent cycles, there is no de-facto front-runner — and even Romney has seen his name floated by Republicans anxious about a presidential field that is as unpredictable today as it was two years ago.

In other words, when we’re looking at a possible Romney revival, a Christie long shot or perhaps Bush III (ready, Jeb?), this other Clinton could still have a fighting chance. Maybe.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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