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Expand chart
Data: The American Presidency Project; The Cook Political Report; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Even if the Democrats gain seats in both chambers of Congress in November, early forecasts suggest that any anti-Trump wave won't be particularly large compared to midterm elections of the past.

Why it matters: President Trump's low approval numbers and heightened enthusiasm among Democratic voters both point to Democratic success in November. But it probably won't be a wave of historic proportions, based on Cook Political Report's latest predictions. At best, it could allow them to win the House while barely shifting the Senate at all.

The back story: As the chart shows, both the House and Senate have nearly always moved against incumbent presidents in mid-term elections. See the big Republican swings against Barack Obama in 2010 and 2014 towards the top right, and, in the lower left quadrant, the Democratic swings against Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 and Gerald Ford in the post-Watergate midterm of 1974.

This year may be different. The Democrats will almost certainly make gains in the House — Cook Political Report predicts Democrats will gain between 25 and 40 seats, enough to win back control of the chamber.

  • But the Senate math is tougher for them. Cook predicts Democrats will gain as many as two seats, which would give them control of both chambers, but they may also lose one.
  • And there's no guarantee that the House wave will be strong. A CNN poll this week found that the Democrats' advantage over Republicans in the generic ballot has gotten weaker, and is now within the margin of error.

What to watch: If the Democrats gain seats in the House while the GOP gains in the Senate, it will be the first midterm in 36 years in which the two chambers of Congress moved in different directions.

Go deeper

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.