Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Top Republicans have conceded for months that they're likely lose the House in November's midterms. But some well-wired operatives now tell Axios that President Trump may face his real nightmare: losing the Senate, giving Democrats both ends of the Capitol, and one-third of the government.

Why it matters: It's not just that Democratic dominance at the Capitol would speed impeachment proceedings and trap the White House in a thicket of oversight probes and hearings. Twin losses would be a massive repudiation of Trump and his brand of Republicanism, just as he embarks on his reelection.

A killer data point, from the N.Y. Times: Republicans have underperformed in every special election since Trump became president.

  • Republicans eked out a special House race in Arizona last night that was closer and more expensive than it should have been. Republicans spent more than $1 million to win a district Trump won by 20 points — weakness.
  • AP's headline is "GOP unsettled by narrow win": "Tuesday’s narrow victory ... sends a big message to Republicans nationwide: Even the reddest of districts in a red state can be in play this year."

Steven Law, a top Mitch McConnell ally who runs American Crossroads, the most powerful and well-funded outside group supporting Republican Senate campaigns, said it's "not likely but not out of the question" to lose the Senate.

  • Law said: "[W]e do have more defensive terrain to hold than when the cycle started ... And targeted Democratic incumbents have been over-performing in terms of their early fundraising activity."
  • A Republican lobbyist who is well-connected in the Senate is becoming increasingly bearish about holding the chamber: “Everyone just universally assumed it would be status quo or Republicans would win a seat or two. And now it feels like Republicans are at a risk of losing one, which would be a 50-50 Senate or two, which would be a Democratic Senate.”

The stakes: Republicans are already sweating every nominee in the Senate they now control. They’re already finding it near impossible to legislate. They’re already fighting for every judge, every cabinet secretary, not to mention there’s likely to be one if not two Supreme Court openings in the next two years.

  • If they lose the Senate majority, they lose the capacity to implement anything resembling a conservative agenda.

Republicans still have an overwhelmingly favorable map, where 26 of the contested seats are held by Democrats and just nine by the GOP:

  • The Republican's top trouble spots: open seats in Arizona and Tennessee; and Nevada, where Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican running for reelection in a state won by Hillary Clinton.
  • By contrast, 10 Dems are running in states won by Trump, some widely.

Be smart: Republicans say they're more worried, but not panicked. But the rising doubts reflect stunning Republican weaknesses.

Republicans who are more worried:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas is Exhibit A. His Democratic rival, Beto O’Rourke, more than doubled Cruz’s first quarter fundraising.
  • The lobbyist who has turned bearish said: “The first quarter FEC reports set off alarm bells."
  • The same story played out in Missouri, where Claire McCaskill massively out-raised Josh Hawley.

Republicans who are less worried:

  • This is a state-by-state trench war where national atmospherics may not be decisive.
  • One of the best-connected Republican operatives says: "You and I are having a conversation that's happening nowhere else in the country. ... Throw out everything you hear about national erosion and suburban voters. In the states that matter, most of that's not relevant."
  • A big advantage for Rs, according to this operative: "Republicans are coming to appreciate the president's ability to totally decimate the approval ratings of Republicans and Democrats alike when he points the cannon toward you."
  • The operative added: "Democrats have to be absolutely perfect to win."

What both sides agree on:

  • Driven by grassroots contempt for Trump, Democrats' fundraising is going much better than Republicans' — a reversal from what the party that holds the White House might expect.
  • "The Democrats are awash in cash, from the super PAC level to the candidate level," the operative said. "The question is whether you can mitigate it. That's the challenge for the summer."

Go deeper: See Cook Political Report ratings for Senate races.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.