Speed Reads

2018 watch

Republican experts say there is 'at least a 50 percent chance' Democrats will take back both chambers in 2018

Republican leaders are quietly expressing concern that the 2018 midterm elections could be an utter disaster, Politico reports. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reportedly privately expressed fears that against all odds, Democrats will flip both chambers during next year's elections. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has predicted that vulnerable Republican incumbents might retire rather than running what will likely be razor-thin races in swing districts.

"There are 10 months to improve the fundamentals here, and the Senate map is, on paper, good," said George W. Bush's former top adviser, Scott Jennings. "But maps don't make majorities and I think there's a realization that there's at least a 50 percent chance one or both chambers could fall. In less than one year, this first term could be, for all intents and purposes, over if the Democrats take control of either chamber."

President Trump is reportedly well aware that his own poor approval ratings could weigh down races across the country. "If the president is going to be campaigning, he needs to be very discreet and selective about where he goes," Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told Politico.

Most striking has been the loss of support of women GOP voters. Earlier this month, Gallup found that the percentage of women who identify as Republican has fallen 5 points, from 37 percent to 32 percent, since Trump took office. Some "Never Trump" Republicans are even rooting for a Democratic sweep: "I mean, I spent my entire adult life as a Republican," conservative consultant Max Boot told The Global Politico podcast. "I worked as an adviser on three Republican presidential campaigns, but now I'm actively rooting for Republicans to lose the congressional elections next year, because the Republicans have shown they are unwilling to uphold their oaths of office."