Republican members of the House and Senate stand behind President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Hours after President Trump's tax-cut celebration on Wednesday, "aides and outside advisers had a spirited, and at times tense, discussion with him about the political outlook ahead of next year's midterm elections," the WashPost's Josh Dawsey and Bob Costa report:

Details: "The gathering saw tempers flare as aides vented their frustrations with electoral defeats this year and concerns about the 2018 political map ... Complaints about the president's political operation and the Republican National Committee boiled over."

"The late-afternoon meeting — attended by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, counselor Kellyanne Conway, political director Bill Stepien, marketing and data specialist Brad Parscale, communications director Hope Hicks and political consultant and confidant Corey Lewandowski, among others — quickly became a griping session for Lewandowski and others about the way the White House manages the GOP."

Others are detecting the same sense of foreboding:

  • "Those closest to Trump are bracing for a possible bloodbath in the 2018 midterms, which could obliterate the Republican congressional majorities and paralyze the president's legislative agenda," Politico's Alex Isenstadt writes.
  • N.Y. Times' Maggie Haberman: "'A lot of people' have been telling the president that his White House team needs improvement."
  • Steve Bannon has "remarked on the toll the office has taken on Trump, telling advisers his former boss has 'lost a step.' 'He's like an 11-year-old child,' Bannon joked to a friend in November," Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman writes.

Be smart: Recent generic polls show Republicans down double digits to Dems, a tough way to start a midterm year that's traditionally harsh on new presidents.

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In her first week on the job, Amy Coney Barrett may be deciding which votes to count in the presidential election. By her third week, she’ll be deciding the fate of the Affordable Care Act.

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Why it matters: If Texas — which has 38 electoral votes and is steadily getting more blue, but hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976 — flipped to the Biden column, it would be game over. But the RealClearPolitics polling average stubbornly hovers at +2.6 for Trump — and Team Biden appears more focused on closer targets.

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A luxe election-night watch party at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue is being planned for President Trump's donors, friends and advisers — but Trump's hand in it is minimal because he's "very superstitious" — people familiar with the plans tell Axios.

The big picture: This "mecca for all things MAGA," as one adviser described it, is one of three hubs where they say Trumpworld will watch returns. The others are the war room at campaign HQ in Rosslyn, Virginia, and the White House residence, where Trump and the first lady will gather close family and advisers before heading to the hotel later that night, the sources said.