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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of Republicans are privately warning of increasing fears of a total wipeout in 2020: House, Senate, and White House.

Why it matters: All of this is unfolding while the economy still looks strong, and before public impeachment proceedings have officially begun.

  • House Republicans in swing districts are retiring at a very fast pace, especially in the suburbs of Texas and elsewhere. (Republicans talk grimly of the "Texodus.") Rep. Greg Walden — the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the only Republican in Oregon's congressional delegation — yesterday shocked the party by becoming the 19th GOP House member to not seek re-election.
  • The Republican Senate majority, once considered relatively safe, suddenly looks in serious jeopardy. Democrats are raising more money, and polling better, than Republican incumbents in battleground after battleground.
  • President Trump trails every major Democratic candidate nationally and in swing states — and his favorable ratings remain well under 50%.

The biggest recent change is Republicans' increasingly precarious hold on the Senate.

  • National Journal's Josh Kraushaar writes in his "Against the Grain" column that "the pathway for a narrow Democratic takeover of the upper chamber is looking clearer than ever": "If Trump doesn’t win a second term, Democrats only need to net three seats to win back the majority."

Scott Reed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior political strategist, tells me that third-quarter fundraising reports showing three Republican senators being out-raised by Democratic challengers (in Arizona, Iowa and Maine) "are a three-alarm fire."

  • "The party was shaken by that," Reed said. "We're all worried."
  • The well-funded Chamber started TV ads in Arizona last week, launches an ad today in Maine, and will add a third state next week.
  • That's the earliest the group has ever gone on the air: Ads typically begin after Thanksgiving or New Year's.
  • "We have to spend early because the climate stinks," Reed said. "All these incumbent senators have terrible job approvals and terrible favorables."
  • But Reed thinks Trump has a better than 50-50 chance of hanging on: "He's still wildly popular in the middle of the country."

Between the lines: Across the board, struggling Republican Senate campaigns are more concerned about lousy fundraising than they are with poor polling.

  • Republican strategists and campaign staffers said that with the polarization of the Trump era, key House and Senate races will depend even more than usual on the presidential race.

What to watch: Senate races look so tight that control could be decided by a January 2021 runoff in Georgia.

Go deeper: Trump's Senate red wall

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Go deeper

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday signed a slew of executive orders to address the coronavirus pandemic, including an interstate face mask mandate and an order to renew supplies of PPE, testing materials and vaccines through the Defense Production Act.

Why it matters: The stakes are highest for Biden’s vaccination effort. Several states cannot keep up with demand.

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Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

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Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

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President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.