- Democrats had hoped for a blue wave to sweep away the Republicans in the House and even flip the Senate
- Now operatives in both parties say the chance to get the upper house is essentially gone after a surge in Trump’s personal popularity
- ‘It’s still much closer than people think, with a surprise or two in the wings,’ New York’s Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, says
- House majority is expected to come down to just a handful of seats rather than a landslide
- Republicans are boosted by bump in President Donald Trump’s popularity, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and immigrant caravan
In the closing stretch of the 2018 campaign, the question is no longer the size of the Democratic wave. It’s whether there will be a wave at all.
Top operatives in both political parties concede that Democrats’ narrow path to the Senate majority has essentially disappeared, a casualty of surging Republican enthusiasm across GOP strongholds. At the same time, leading Democrats now fear the battle for the House majority will be decided by just a handful of seats.
‘It’s always been an inside straight, and it still is,’ Democratic pollster Paul Maslin said of Democrats’ outlook in the Senate, where they need to pick up two seats while holding on to several others in Republican-leaning states to seize the majority. ‘If it had been a different year, with a different map, we might have had a terrific sweep. That would be a long shot.’
While the trend may be troubling for Democrats, the evolving political landscape remains unsettled two weeks before Election Day, even with millions of votes already cast across 20 states.