Massachusetts is used to having an outsized role in national politics, from the times of John Adams to the Kennedys, with the likes of Tip O’Neill and Joe Moakley keeping the tradition strong. 

The past couple of years, however, have seen the Bay State relegated to the back benches—at least, relative to its former prominence. All of the state’s delegates to Washington are in the minority party. Both U.S. Senators are first-termers, low on the seniority totem pole. A governor who was close friends with the President has been replaced with one from the opposing party. And, in something of a shock, not one Massachusetts pol was a significant challenger for the Presidency this cycle. 

There is reason to think, however, that Massachusetts’s influence in Washington could increase as a result of this November’s elections. Here are five things to watch for, to gauge the Commonwealth’s national muscle in the coming years. 

1. Senate Surge 

Democrats need to gain at least four seats to gain control of the Senate. That looks increasingly likely—especially with the prospect of either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as Republican Presidential nominee. 

If that happens, neither Elizabeth Warren nor Ed Markey will be claiming major committee chairmanships. But they aren’t typical freshmen, by a long shot. 

Warren, of course, has a massive national following among progressives—which she is adept at converting into power on Capitol Hill. Outgoing Democratic leader Harry Reid gave her key committee appointments and created a leadership position for her (Strategic Advisor of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee). There is no reason to think she’ll fare worse under his expected successor Chuck Schumer—which means Warren might chair the Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy, where she is currently ranking member. Imagine what she could do with that gavel. 

Warren is also likely to emerge as a major leader of progressive Democrats in the Senate—particularly the women. 

There is something of a vacuum for her to fill, with Barbara Mikulski and Barbara Boxer retiring, along with Reid. And Warren has been focused on helping elect more progressive Senators, who will be grateful to her if they win and come to Washington. She is a prolific fundraiser for them, and is helping in many other ways too. Most notably, her Chief of Staff, Mindy Myers, became executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) earlier this year. 

Warren much of the same in 2014, but the electoral winds were against many of the Democrats she supported. If 2016 sweeps in a half-dozen or more Democrats to give the Senate majority, those newcomers will be very supportive of Warren. 

And don’t sleep on steady Ed Markey—“The Junior Senator with 37 years of experience in the Congress,” says former U.S. Senator Mo Cowan. 

Markey is adept at working the levers of Washington, and I’m told he has been taking seriously his new state-wide obligations. 

“If he’s in the majority,” says Scott Ferson, president of Liberty Square Group, “he becomes the go-to guy for industries that are important to Massachusetts: energy, telecom, high-tech.” 

2. A Do-Something House 

Some are now speculating that a Trump nomination could cause so much trouble for Republicans, Democrats could take over the House as well as the Senate. That seems far-fetched, at least for now. But even so, the nine Massachusetts members could see their stock rise. 

That’s because, with a more closely divided House and an obstinate conservative GOP caucus, new Speaker Paul Ryan will need to work with Democrats to get anything done. And people I talk to in Washington seem to think that Ryan won’t want his House to be the do-nothing problem. 

“I predict you’ll see Congress pick up key issues, on the nuts-and-bolts of government and governing,” says Cowan, who is now chief operating officer of ML Strategies, the lobbying arm of Mintz Levin. That means infrastructure, he says, and perhaps tax reform; possibly even health care cost containment. 

Those are all items that Massachusetts House members are well-positioned to play significant roles in, if Ryan is looking for help. 

And that can mean bringing home the bacon—something the current delegation has been adept at, even in its current underdog status. Witness two announcements from the Department of Defense in just the past few weeks: a $265 million upgrade Lincoln Labs at Hanscom Air Force Base, and a similar-sized Revolutionary Fibers and Textiles Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Cambridge.  

3. Baker Buddies 

OK, Charlie Baker won’t have the relationship with the next President that Deval Patrick had with Barack Obama—or that he might have had with Chris Christie, the former Republican Governors Association chairman, who Baker endorsed for President. 

But Baker has proven to be serious about working with Washington, and figures to be at least as successful with the next administration as he has with this one—when, for example, Baker and the Massachusetts congressional delegation won a blockbuster $120 million in federal disaster assistance after the 2015 snow storms  

It could be a great relationship if a Republican wins the White House—Baker would be a vital conduit for the state in that instance, and a key northeastern ally for the administration. But Baker, unlike some Republican governors, sees both practical and political benefits of working successfully with a Democratic President. 

In fact, with no interest in raising taxes to bolster state revenues, Baker might secretly like nothing more than a big-spending liberal in the White House, to provide federal funding for opioid addiction, economic development, and transportation projects in the lead-up to his own re-election effort in 2018. 

4. Appointment Plans 

Presidents of both parties have stocked their administrations with key personnel from Massachusetts, who have been in position to be influential in ways beneficial to the Commonwealth. 

That doesn’t always mean high-profile Cabinet positions, like the one now held by Kerry. Cowan points to Andy Card, Chief of Staff to George W. Bush; David Simas, Obama’s Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. 

“I would anticipate whoever wins the White House will look to Massachusetts to scoop up some of our talent,” Cowan says. 

That figures to be particularly true if Hillary Clinton wins. 

Massachusetts Democrats have been very, very good to the Clintons over the years: raising money, and providing crucial campaign help—particularly in next-door New Hampshire. There’s a long list of people who were diehard Hillaryites in 2008—all the way to the Democratic National Convention—and more in the 2016 campaign. 

Not all who think they’re owed plum appointments will get them, of course. (Rumors that Hillary Clinton will bring Marty Walsh to Washington should be treated with great skepticism.) But some will.  

5. Impressive Emeriti 

John Kerry just broke a record for most travel as Secretary of State; he’s due for some well-earned R&R come 2017. 

He’s unlikely to sit still long, though—and whatever he does, the former U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential nominee has one of the deepest Rolodexes around. Whatever his next venture, or even as a private citizen lazing in his Beacon Hill residence, Kerry will undoubtedly keep his fingers in the political mix. 

So will Massachusetts’s two other living Presidential nominees. Michael Dukakis still can, and does, pick up the phone to lobby important contacts. Though Mitt Romney no longer calls Belmont home, he is still very much a Massachusetts man—and, from his New Hampshire compound, he has shown that he fully intends to maintain a national political presence. Indeed, depending on how things play out, the next President could be Romney’s former running-mate Paul Ryan, maneuvered to the GOP nomination by Romney’s machinations at a brokered convention 

That’s not all. Former Governor Bill Weld is back in Boston, working alongside Cowan at ML Strategies. Former Governor Deval Patrick has turned to business pursuits, but still has a lot of clout in Washington. 

Plus, along with Kerry, Massachusetts has former Senators in Cowan, Scott Brown, and Paul Kirk. Brown, like Romney, has shifted to New Hampshire, but he demonstrated with his “No BS Backyard BBQs” how much that move increased his prominence. Almost every Republican Presidential hopeful paraded through Brown’s backyard, before he bestowed a news-making endorsement on Donald Trump. Similarly, Kirk made waves by being one of the first Democratic “super-delegates” to endorse Bernie Sanders. 

 All of these former top office-holders are now well-connected conduits, who will serve as supplementary influencers for Massachusetts.