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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer talking about new legislation on Capitol Hill. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In 2016, every single Senate race went to the candidate of the same party that those states voted for in the presidential election, according to a new analysis by the Democratic group One Country Project, provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: That's never happened before, since at least 1984. And the data shows that's not great news for Democrats heading into the 2020 elections.

  • The purpose of One Country Project is to help the Democratic Party win back rural voters ahead of the 2020 cycle, so they're squarely focused on Trump country.

The big picture: Republicans have a significant head start in the race to keep control of the Senate, per this group's analysis.

  • Because of their stronghold in rural areas, and based on previous presidential election results, the GOP has a 40-seat, "built-in base in the Senate."
  • Compare that to just 26 Senate seats that Democrats are best positioned to win.
  • That's prompting some Democrats — like former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who's a founding member of One Country Project — to sound the alarm ahead of 2020.

"[U]nless we do a better job engaging rural Americans, Republicans will have a massive head start in every race for a Senate majority and a lock on enough seats to stand in the way of a Democratic president’s agenda," Heitkamp said. "If nothing changes, Democrats will never have more than a hope and a prayer of eking out a slim Senate majority — at best."

By the numbers: Those "built-in" advantages are based on each party's "base" states, where they won the presidential vote by 10 percentage points or more in the last election.

  • Democrats won 13 states by that measure in 2016, which translates to 26 Senate seats.
  • Republicans won 20 states by that measure, which gives them an advantage in 40 Senate races.
  • In 2020, there are 22 Republican incumbents up for re-election compared to just 12 Democratic senators.
  • Conventional wisdom says that the GOP should be more vulnerable given those numbers. But since these Republican incumbents mostly come from states that heavily support President Trump — and considering Senate results increasingly match presidential results — this could pose another challenge for Democrats.

View the full One Country Project analysis

Go deeper

49 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.