"If the Democrats do not want their agenda to be substantially injured, then, they probably have an implicit goal of not losing more than about 20-23 House seats, and not more than about 3-4 Senate seats. Whether a loss of, say, 19 House seats and 3 Senate seats would be regarded as a "win" by the media is hard to say — and would depend in part on what expectations had been established in the days and weeks immediately preceding the elections. Given where expectations are right now, however, I suspect that most Democrats would go to bed feeling pretty happy about that outcome and Republicans feeling as though they'd blown an opportunity. Indeed, if the narrative around them also improved — such that they felt emboldened to push their agenda or Republicans became more wary of obstructionism — their overall position would arguably even be somewhat stronger. For the time being, however, this remains something of a best-case scenario for them".