In the blizzard of data about midterm elections, you are always looking for a single item which gives some clarity to the entire gestalt. I believe I have found it.

Since 1900, there have been 28 midterm elections. The party that controls the White House has lost seats in 26 of the 28. When it comes to the U.S. Senate, everybody now is in agreement that three seats held by the Democrats are gone (Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota). I know I projected a possible scenario where South Dakota might stay Democratic — disregard that previous article.


Republicans need to take three more now held by Democrats. The conventional picks are Arkansas, Alaska and Louisiana. These three have one thing in common: Two years ago they went big for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and the president is even more unpopular now. North Carolina is the other one that Republicans are savoring over. But the Democratic incumbent, according to the most recent polls, seems to be in the best shape there. In addition, Obama narrowly won there in 2008 and narrowly lost there in 2012.

What makes the Democrats most nervous and deeply worried is that there are three states in which the Democrats were supposed to be in good shape and safe.

New Hampshire — which reports early — is the No. 1 example. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE is a former two-term governor and is well-known and was thought to be in no trouble. Six years ago, she beat Republican incumbent Sen. John Sununu. Her Republican opponent is a former U.S. senator — but not from New Hampshire! Scott Brown used to be a senator from neighboring Massachusetts, but he lost his seat two years ago. One would reasonably think that voters from New Hampshire might resent Brown and label him a carpetbagger and not vote for him. But he's got Shaheen running scared.

In Colorado, the incumbent Democrat is Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallHickenlooper ousts Gardner in Colorado, handing Democrats vital pickup Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE. Very few observers thought he was in jeopardy. But his Republican opponent is Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerMark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE — not Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckOrganizations push congressional leaders to prioritize tech antitrust report The rhetoric of techlash: A source of clarity or confusion? Hillicon Valley: Congressional antitrust report rips tech firms | Facebook tightens ban on QAnon content | Social media groups urged to weed out disinformation targeting minority voters MORE. And that's the problem for Udall. Two years ago, Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE had the good fortune to face Buck, a Tea Party favorite who turned off moderate Republicans and independents.

Michelle Obama did not help matters when, campaigning for Udall, she called him a fifth-generation Coloradan. He moved there in his 20s. Anybody with a smattering of political knowledge would know he is the son of former Rep. Mo Udall and the nephew of former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. The Udalls are the first family of Democrats in Arizona.

Iowa is another state where Democrats were not supposed to be in trouble. The incumbent Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers A pandemic election should move America to address caregivers' struggles The Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring MORE is retiring and Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyThe Memo: Trump attacks on Harris risk backfiring 2020 caucuses pose biggest challenge yet for Iowa's top pollster OPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP MORE is presently a House member. He is in a tight race with Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP chairman: Defense bill to include renaming Confederate bases, but not Section 230 repeal Iowa losses underscore Democrats' struggles with attracting rural voters The Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election MORE. Iowa has never sent a woman to Washington. They very well might, soon.

New Hampshire, Colorado and Iowa went for Obama not once, but twice. But the three Democratic candidates don't want him to set foot in the state. In previous articles, I hypothesized a creative scene where Georgia and Kansas might save the day for the Democrats, but that might be my fertile imagination. The reality is that, as one non-Democrat, President George H.W. Bush, would aptly say on the eve of the elections, the "Donkeys are in deep do-do."

Much has been made of the fact that Obama's base of single women, blacks and Latinos and young people historically don't vote in midterms. Well, these constituencies should wake up and realize that elections affect their lives and their futures: It's not okay just to vote every four years, when it's a presidential election. Every election is important. The U.S. Senate confirms Supreme Court nominees. That in itself should be enough to get these people to vote in off-years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is worried enough to send out a last-minute fundraising appeal to longtime Democratic donors saying that if Republicans take over that body, they could try to impeach Obama. You might remember the House indicts, but the Senate actually convicts, and thus can remove the individual from the office.

That's how ominous it looks the day before judgment day for the Democrats. Democrats are praying to stay alive and fervently hope all those polls and pundits are wrong.

Plotkin is a political analyst and a contributor to the BBC on American politics.