Donald Lambro

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who chairs the DSCC, voted with McConnell and most Democrats for the $700 billion bailout bill, but this is war, he says, and if he can knock off a Republican on this issue, well, that's the way the system works, he tells reporters.

Is Mitch really endangered? "Yes, but the odds are in his favor," said veteran Senate analyst Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report. "He's running a better campaign and has a pretty damaged opponent, but in this environment anything can happen and it's not going to be a big win."

The trouble-plagued economy is the political killer in this campaign cycle. A recession looms, the stock market has tanked, worker 401(k) mutual funds have plunged, consumers aren't spending and it will take months before the economic rescue plan shows real results at the street level.

"The economy is the problem. A Democratic pollster told me the voters' fear is real, it's not amorphous like after the 9/11 attacks. They're looking at their 401(k) plans and seeing they don't have much money left," Duffy told me.

"Every day the stock market drops, Republicans have a terrible night when they conduct their tracking polls," she said.

The House is also shaping up to be a Republican bloodbath. Last month, the GOP was looking at a dozen or so losses. Now its field looks like a devastated war zone in the making. Rothenberg is predicting the GOP's 199-seat caucus could lose up to 30 seats, shrinking its ranks into the 160s.

But it isn't just a major recession and Wall Street's turmoil that is driving the Democratic gains in Congress. It is also John McCain's weakness in some usually dependable red states that Republicans now appear to be losing to Barack Obama.

It isn't a coincidence that many of the states where the Democrats are now leading in House and Senate races are the states where Obama has the edge: New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Oregon and, possibly, North Carolina.

It's going to take the GOP a long time to recover from this election, but the history of elections suggests that the Republicans will bounce back in the future as defeated political parties always do.

Winston Churchill, who knew something about comebacks, said that in war you can be killed only once, but in politics you can be killed many times.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.