It's a new year -- happy! happy! -- and being even-numbered that means elections across the country.
The political stakes, befitting the bigger-means-better Age of Trump, are considerably higher than usual.
For the first time in years, control of the House is seriously in play and, with it, the prospects for the latter half of Trump's presidential term, which could bolster his record for re-election in 2020 or prove a death march through a slough of subpoenas and congressional torment.
Control of the Senate is a longer shot for Democrats, but also within the realm of possibility -- especially after last month's upset victory in Alabama.
Not least, there will be 36 gubernatorial races in 2018. In many states the winner will oversee the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional boundaries, which will go a considerable way toward determining control of the House of Representatives, not just for one election cycle but well into the 2020s.
Let's start with the House.
OK. There are 435 seats. Each will be on the ballot Nov. 6. To gain control, which they lost in 2010, Democrats need to win at least 24 seats held by Republicans.
Question: What's the chance of that?
Answer: Right now it looks pretty good. Midterm elections -- so called because they fall at the midpoint of a president's four-year term -- tend to be a referendum on the incumbent, and that favors the opposition party because angry or unhappy voters are typically more inclined to turn out than contented voters.
Q: Hmm. Is that some kind of fake news?