The current political environment is reminiscent of 2008, two years after Democrats swept control of the House and Senate under President George W. Bush. It’s mostly remembered for Barack Obama’s historic election, but the Democrats’ downballot dominance was just as remarkable. Riding deep dissatisfaction with GOP leadership, Democrats expanded their Senate majority to a near filibuster-proof margin and won House seats in some of the most reliably conservative territory in the country.

Like the political environment today, the 2008 election took place in the middle of a national crisis. Back then, the Republican presidential nominee insisted that the fundamentals of the country were strong during a deepening recession. Now a Republican president is publicly insisting he has “met the moment” and prevailed, despite rising death rates and massive unemployment from the coronavirus. Then, as now, a Democratic challenger used the GOP candidate’s own words in devastating attack ads…

Another major storyline this year is the Republican Party’s inability to recruit credible House candidates, particularly in districts that Trump carried in 2016. Many freshman Democrats representing Trump districts aren’t facing tough Republican opposition. Twelve years ago, that dynamic was similarly apparent on the Senate side. Only one Democratic senator faced credible GOP competition that year—Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu—and she still coasted to victory over now-Sen. John Kennedy. Then-Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, ran unopposed by Republicans in Arkansas, a state that John McCain comfortably carried.