Republicans have grown increasingly worried about losing control of the Senate, as President Trump’s approval rating tumbles and Democrats gain steam in key battleground races.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sounded some of the most doubtful notes of Trump’s presidency that Republicans will keep the upper chamber of Congress, telling reporters, “I hope when the smoke clears, we’ll still have a majority.”His comments came as Republican strategists and officials fretted over a fresh round of private polling on the Senate races, while public polls registered further erosion in Americans’ approval of Trump. “Shipwreck” was how one leading strategist described the situation, adding an expletive to underscore the severity of the party’s problems.
- Democrats run the table. The idea of Democrats winning every contested race may seem far-fetched, but in a true wave year, it can happen. Democrats have a plausible chance to protect all their incumbents and flip seats currently held by Republicans in Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas. That would give them a 53-47 Senate majority. Still, this remains very, very unlikely.
- Democrats win the close ones but not the long shots. They could hold their incumbents and take Nevada and Arizona, the two GOP-held seats where they’re thought to have the strongest chance, but lose Tennessee and Texas. That would give them a 51-49 majority and control of the chamber.
- Democrats find another route to the majority. If one red-state Democratic incumbent loses, Democrats could still get to the majority by winning GOP seats in Nevada and Arizona, and pulling off a flip in Tennessee. This is a very narrow path, but it’s not impossible.
- Deadlock. It’s entirely possible that through some combination of wins and losses, Democrats will get a net gain of one seat, resulting in a 50-50 Senate. That still leaves it in Republican hands, since Vice President Pence would break any ties.
- Republicans keep or expand their majority. This is still a possibility, if the Democratic wave isn’t what we expect and they fall short in Arizona and Nevada, or Republicans offset Democratic pickups with a couple of wins in places such as Florida and North Dakota.