Watch the US Senate: why Trump could lose both houses

Watch the US Senate: why Trump could lose both houses

Do you remember the old Road Runner cartoons? Once in a while the Road Runner’s arch-nemesis, Wile E. Coyote, would find himself running off a cliff. For a time he’d be out in thin air, hovering, his legs churning furiously beneath him. Then he’d look down. Suddenly the gravity of his mistake would dawn on him, and, poof!, he’d drop to the desert floor below.

The US election is a week away. Democrat Joe Biden’s lead in the polls seems solid over President Donald Trump. Is there a chance the Republicans have followed Trump off that metaphorical cliff and will lose control of the US Senate as well?

It’s a possibility. But to fully appreciate how dire the Republicans’ predicament is, you have to understand something about the quirks of US Senate elections. The Senate was designed to evolve slowly. The 100 senators are elected to six-year terms, with staggered elections every two years. This year, there are 35 seats up, including two so-called “special elections” to replace senators who retired or died. Democrats need a net gain of three to control the chamber, assuming Biden wins.