Before the conventions … Democrats looked like they could pick up a net of two [Senate] seats if everything stayed as it was and the polling leader in each state went on to win.
Since the conventions … Democrats [look likely to] flip and pick up the seats in Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Which, as you know, would give Democrats the Senate majority.
If Trump’s numbers fall even further or Republican Senate candidates fade down the stretch, as some did in 2012, the Senate picture may become even gloomier for the GOP.
Not gloomy enough. As long as Republicans hold at least 41 seats, which they will, their filibuster will be as powerful as a Republican majority.
And yet I'll concede that Mitch McConnell is supremely political, and therefore operationally flexible, which means that if he sniffs ill 2018 winds from sustained obstructionism, he will promptly become more cooperative. At this point such political atmospherics are, however, impossible to forecast.
Then there's the rowdier, more ideological House, whose Republican control will diminish, but probably hold. If those ill winds come, could they possibly be malodorous enough to compel Paul Ryan's McConnellesque cooperation? That would seem doubtful, since Ryan will be preening for a presidential run, which portends full-throated opposition to all things Hillary Clinton. Still, who knows? With Trump at the helm, the GOP may take such a torrential pounding that it will, from the top down, bend here and there.
As noted before, my view is that 2017 is looking far more unpredictable — and thus more intriguing, more interesting — than this godawful year.