Both parties are gearing up for the first nationwide referendum on President Trump.

The 2017 elections went quite well for Democrats. The party won the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s races, far outperformed expectations by picking up at least 15 seats in Virginia’s state house, and won a special election that gave them control of Washington’s state senate.

All this, however, was effectively an appetizer when compared to the real main event: the 2018 midterms.

Next year’s midterms will offer the first nationwide referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. The whole House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and most governorships will be at stake, along with hundreds of state legislative seats and local offices around the country. The better Democratic candidates perform, the more strength they’ll have to block legislation or nominees they don’t like in Trump’s third and fourth years.

Furthermore, the results of the 2018 midterms will have an enormous impact on the course of US politics for the next decade — because the once-a-decade redistricting process is coming up. In most states, the governor and state senators who win in 2018 will serve four-year terms and still be in office when the redistricting process takes place in 2021 and 2022. The maps they draw for US House and state legislative districts will be in place through 2030.

So the stakes are quite high. But especially after Tuesday’s sweep, Democrats feel that they have the wind at their backs, for a few reasons:

1) The historical pattern strongly suggests that the president’s party is predisposed to face midterm difficulties.

2) Trump’s approval is remarkably low for a new president, and low approval is associated with poor midterm performance.

3) Democrats think their base is energized, which can contribute to recruitment of strong candidates, fundraising, and turnout.

Still, Democrats also face some very Read More Here