After 18 months of handwringing negotiations between House and Senate Democrats and the White House, President Obama's health care overhaul has finally become the law of the land. Of the more than 20 votes procedural and otherwise, only one member of the Republican caucus voted in favor of health care: Republican Representative Anh Cao (LA), who represents the historically Democratic seat outside New Orleans once held by William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson (who was indicted on federal corruption charges shortly before losing reelection to Representative Cao). Whatever political cover Representative Cao received by voting "yes" on the original House health care bill, he's surely lost it now; his seat will almost certainly return to Democratic hands in 2010.

So what about the rest of the midterm elections in 2010? While Republicans forecast doom for their Democratic counterparts in the wake of health care's passage, poll numbers seem to be strengthening: those in favor of the bill, while still in the minority, have grown, while President Obama's approval ratings have jumped to as high as 55 percent in some polls. It is unlikely that these numbers will hold in such a politically toxic environment, but a Republican takeover that once seemed inevitable is now much more questionable.

The year 2010 will be all about the anti-incumbent feeling that is sweeping the nation. Indeed, who would have thought a year ago now that the man who included the word "Maverick" in his autobiography (even titling the eleventh chapter "Maverick") would tell Newsweek magazine that he "never considered himself a maverick"? Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is locked in a tight primary battle with the Tea Party-embracing loony former Representative J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ). Or that two-term moderate Republican Governor Charlie Crist would be set to lose the Republican primary for Senate in Florida to the much-lesser known former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio?

The economy hasn't yet picked up. Jobs are still being shed, and most economic indicators don't foretell a true, robust economic recovery until next year at the earliest. But voters aren't just upset with Democrats; they're upset with Republicans as well. The Tea Party polls five to 10 percent higher than both parties in national surveys. In a normal political environment, the struggling economy and anti-incumbent sentiments would suggest that Republicans are likely to pick up plenty of seats in the House and the Senate. Despite high expectations for Republicans in 2010, it is highly unlikely either chamber of Congress will flip to Republican control.

Right now, Democrats have a 76-seat advantage in the House and a nine-seat advantage in the Senate. In the dramatic Gengrich Revolution of 1994, House Republicans picked up some 54 seats, while Senate Republicans picked up eight Senate seats. While 2010 looks to be similar to 1994, there is one critical difference: HillaryCare went down in flames in 1993, while ObamaCare was signed into law.

By 2014, some 32 million uninsured Americans will have health insurance. The Medicare prescription doughnut will be filled by 2020, plugging the funding gap in that legislation passed under President Bush. Insurance exchanges will be created in most states, providing an open marketplace for small companies and individuals to purchase health insurance.

Tax credits for small businesses, dubbed the "largest health care tax cut in history," will begin immediately. As will the provision allowing people to be covered under their parent's plan until they are 27—great news for many of the unemployed, or employed without benefits, graduating seniors. And the Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will slash the deficit by $138 billion over the next 10 years (and another $1.2 trillion in the decade after, though estimates beyond 2020 are far less reliable).

The bill also included an overhaul to the student loan program, which will be expanded by some $36 billion. Unlike 1994, President Obama and the Democratic Party will be able to say that not only have they passed the largest health care overhaul since President Lyndon Johnson (or, they may argue, since President Truman's attempt to enact single payer legislation), they also cut the deficit and expanded student loans. Republicans, on the other hand, have yet to make a compelling case for their "repeal" or "repeal and replace" platform. They are being pulled so far to the right by the threat of third party Tea Party candidates, a sensationalist Fox News and a racist, fear-mongering Rush Limbaugh that any sensible, centrist argument will be muted by the cacophony of the idealistic right.

Republicans should remember that the 2010 midterm elections could result with them controlling the House, and possibly even the Senate. If that's the case, they should make a compelling case for governing the country, instead of being the "party of no" in the face of the so-called "socialist agenda" of the Democratic Party. "Repeal" sounds a lot like the obstructionist Republicans of the past 18 months; "Repeal and replace," on the other hand, indicates at least a cursory nod towards enacting real change via policy.

Ultimately, the ball is still in the Democrats' court. And as we've all seen over the past 18 months, they're not the best dribblers in the world. They should push now on reforming the No Child Left Behind (NLCB) legislation, an effort that will undoubtedly garner some 70 votes in the Senate.

A bipartisan vote count that matches a bipartisan process (unlike the partisan vote that came at the end of the on-again off-again bipartisan health care negotiations) will bolster the president and silence some of his critics who claim his party is hell-bent on forcing through a socialist agenda in a partisan fashion.

Once NCLB is passed, Democrats should force through a Financial Regulatory overhaul, with no or little Republican help. Like the stimulus and health care before, perfection cannot be made the enemy of the pragmatic: Democrats must hammer home the message that passing an imperfect bill is better than doing nothing at all to prevent another financial meltdown.

These legislative initiatives will help set up a necessary dichotomy for the 2010 elections, and will help Democrats paint Republicans as the party of Wall Street. Democrats can then herald their saving of the economy from total collapse, a historic health care overhaul, a bipartisan K-12 education bill and a financial bill meant to prevent another Great Recession. And they should remind the countless Democrats who've felt uninspired and unimpressed for the past 18 months: yes we did.

Chris Rowe is a member of the Class of 2010.