Democrats hope to take back the Senate, stay pale. Perhaps there is no way to better understand this than to look at the following Senate races: North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and the Mississippi Special.
In the best case of the Democrats, they have to win every other race and then win one of those four. The problem is that in all four cases the forecast looks bad for the Democrats.
A close look at all of them shows that the races appear to be leaving the Democrats in the final days of the election campaign.
Tennessee: Former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen is from another era. He easily won reelection in 2006, and the Democrats had hoped the goodwill of his administration would override the fact that Trump won the state with 26 points. That did it for a while. Bredesen did most of the polls in September. Since then he has lagged behind most of them. The forecast loses him by about 5.
Mississippi Special: We probably will not really know if the Democrats' prayers have come to an end here by the end of November. At that time, Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy are likely to make a detour to this seat, previously held by Republican Thad Cochran.
The run-off election will be necessary because Cochran's resignation has launched a process in which a jungle primary (in which all candidates compete independently of each other's party affiliation) takes place on election day. The best two-vote getters (if no one reaches 50% in the first round) reach the bottom. Democratic odds are on another Republican (Chris McDaniel), who competed against Espy.
Polls suggest Hyde-Smith as the most likely person to face Espy in the runoff election. Even in a good political environment for the national Democrats, it is almost impossible to win a national federal contest in Mississippi, unless the Republicans are mortally defunct. Hyde-Smith not.
Of course, the idea that Democrats need only one of these states can be magical.
Competitions like Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri and Nevada are within 3 points.
If the Republicans win three of these five, they will end up with 53 seats at the next Congress. If the Republicans sweep them, they have 55 seats.
According to our forecast, the Republicans will win two of them and land with 52 seats.
Even if the Democrats won all five, the Republicans would still have 50 seats. Democrats are still in the minority with Vice-President Mike Pence, who gives a tie.