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Trump a bigger factor than ever in midterms — how did that happen?

Once given up for dead, Democrats are increasingly optimistic about their chances in November’s midterm elections. The race for the House is narrowing, although Republicans are still predicted to win control, while the race for the Senate is a toss-up. Formerly pessimistic Democrats now think November will not be an unmitigated disaster for their party.

A major factor in that change is former President Donald Trump. Trump was always going to be a factor in the race, but now it appears he might become a preeminent factor in the race. This makes Democrats very happy. They have long hoped to make the midterms about Trump, hoping to capitalize on his unpopularity with large swaths of the electorate, and now that appears to be happening.