US President Barack Obama ISIS Islamic State
US President Barack Obama Democrats could be in trouble on the back of the US midtermsReuters

For Americans deluged with countless campaign commercials promising frisky puppies for all or warning of impending Ebolageddon (depending on which lever one pulls), the good news is that the 2014 midterm elections will finally be over on Tuesday 4 November.

The bad news is Campaign 2016 begins the next day, on Wednesday.

Poll watchers and professional pundits nearly all agree that Tuesday will be a bloodbath for the Democrats. In fact, some now predict the Republicans could win so many House seats that they would have the widest majority since 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected president.

And most now say the Grand Old Party will pick up six to 10 seats in the Senate, giving it control of both congressional chambers -- and therefore, the national agenda -- heading into the presidential elections two years from now.

When the Republicans got clobbered in 2006, losing a net 31 seats on the House and control of the Senate, President George W Bush famously dubbed the loss a "thumping". Then he declared this: "But nevertheless, the people expect us to work together. That's what they expect."

No one is under such delusions this time around. This Congress, the unlucky 113th, is on track to be the least productive in history. But the record was set by the 112th Congress. Gridlock has now reached new heights as incoming lawmakers are all but ordered to vote straight party line; long gone are the days when Democrats and Republicans would argue until sunset, then adjourn to the local pub for a beer and a laugh.

Democrats' bad blood? Blame Obama

Of course, President Barack Obama is much to blame for the bad blood. Despite Democratic control of the Senate for his first six years in office, Obama has campaigned heavily against what he says is an obstructionist, never-say-yes Congress.

His White House tactic has, no surprise, not gone over well with his neighbours just down the street in the Capitol. He has few allies in the chambers there and even fewer will play ball when the 114th Congress opens on 6 January 2015.

EBOLA DECONTAMINANT
The Ebola crisis is just one of many that has been detrimental to Barack Obama's presidencyReuters

Obama's popularity, once in the nineties, has plunged to record lows. This week, Gallup week put him at just 40% as voters head to the polls.

A confluence of crises - Islamic terrorists beheading Americans and stomping across the Middle East; a deadly virus, Ebola, making its way from West Africa to America; a throng of desperate immigrants flooding across the Mexican border into America - has helped to make a normally local affair into an election with major national and international consequences.

As often happens in the sixth year of a presidency, when the incumbent for the first time looks like the lame duck he will soon become, his fellow party members have fled the sight of him. Few wanted to be pictured with the Unchosen One. Senator Mark Udall, a vulnerable Democrat locked in a fierce battle for re-election, skipped a joint appearance, even though the president had flown all the way to Colorado to campaign for him.

But Obama was miffed his fellow Democrats were forsaking him and wouldn't play along. He refused to let them run and hide, declaring: "I am not on the ballot this fall. But make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them."

Democrats on the low road, Republicans on a high

The mainstream media in the US, which often leads the cheers for Obama and the Democrats, had sought to keep a stiff upper lip. In mid-September, the New York Times declared "the Democratic path to victory looks as clear as it has at any point this year".

But in the last few weeks, the tide turned hard. The liberal Washington Post now gives Republicans a 96% chance of taking control of the Senate. For CNN, it is 95%, and the NY Times, 70%. Even the staunchest liberals on the most liberal news networks see nothing but pain for the Democrats.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who famously got a "tingle" up his leg watching Obama the candidate in 2008, said Democrats "don't really want to say who they are, they don't want to say who they're not. They don't really have a statement".

"So what do you think's going to happen... Tuesday? The voters are going to go into that booth and vote against Obama," Matthews said.

The White House, though, wants Americans to know one thing about the midterms: Spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday 3 November: "It would not be wise to draw as broad a conclusion about the outcome of this election as you would a national presidential election."

But of course, it is just that - national. And one Democratic consultant summed up exactly how things got so bad. "President Obama has been the worst thing that could have happened to Dems in the Senate this year," the unnamed consultant told the Daily Mail. "Everything Obama touches this year turns to s**t."

So while the 2016 campaign will start on Wednesday, so will the blame game. And it won't be pretty.