Swing Time for the GOP in Upcoming Mid-terms 

So far, 24 Republicans have announced their retirements from Congress this cycle. This number is the highest of any congressional cycle since 1973.

What was happening in 1973?

The Watergate scandal. It exposed the lies and cover-ups of Republican President Richard Nixon and forced his resignation. In the 1974 midterm elections, 49 Democrats took House seats away from the Republicans, giving them more than a 2-1 majority in the lower chamber. Democrats also gained four Senate seats, bringing them up to a total of 60 seats.

Democrats are praying for history to repeat itself with President Trump in the Nixon role.

Incredibly, Republicans seem to agree that 2018 will be a lot like 1974. In addition to all the other retirements by House Republicans, there is now talk of Speaker Paul Ryan possibly quitting, too. Ryan's spokesman has denied he is considering resigning. But Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei, a very vulnerable Republican in the coming midterms, is on the record telling reporters that is what he is hearing from party colleagues.

Talk of Ryan's departure is significant because lesser-known House Republicans have no reason to think they will survive if Ryan isn't inclined to try to hold on. Take a moderate Republican congressman like Pennsylvania's Ryan Costello. He told MSNBC he is not running for reelection because Trump is making it impossible for House Republicans to do their jobs:"It's very difficult for me to get [any] message out because we're talking about Stormy Daniels or it was [fired FBI deputy director Andrew] McCabe. Before that, it was [fired secretary of State] Rex Tillerson and where he heard the news that he was fired, and just one thing after another."

Then there is Trump's budget deal. It explodes the deficit he pledged to reduce. Also, there is still no funding for any wall on the Mexican border. And don't forget, Trump's flip-flop on his promise to push for stronger background checks for gun purchases and to stop the sale of guns to people under 21.

Oh, and keep in mind that Trump's approval ratings are historically low for a president who has only been in the White House a little more than a year. Such bad numbers are usually reliable signs that the president's party is in trouble in the midterms.

And who can ignore the resignation of Trump's chief personal lawyer in the Russia probe, John Dowd? He announced he was resigning just before The New York Times reported he discussed presidential pardons with lawyers for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort — potentially proof of a conspiracy to obstruct justice. That led George Conway, another top Republican legal mind and the husband of Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, to tweet: "This is flabbergasting."

Trump's White House counsel Don McGahn has had to obtain his own high-priced D.C. lawyer to defend him in the Russia probe. This is the dark reality facing congressional Republicans with the midterms now seven months away. The heart of their peril is fear of energized Democrats producing a big turnout. That fits with the big turnout for recent student-led marches for gun control.

The Democrats will be marching out to punish Trump, but it is Congressional Republicans who will get trampled. And what about swing voters?

GOP losses in a special House race in Pennsylvania and the governor's race in Virginia show support falling for GOP candidates among independent voters and suburban Republican women. Republicans as well as Democrats see no end of talk about extramarital affairs, hush money, and the tightening noose of the Mueller probe.

It is no secret that top Republican lawyer Ted Olson and other experienced DC legal powerbrokers have declined requests to represent Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump's personal pit bull lawyer, is radioactive over his role in the Stormy Daniels affair and may face legal exposure of his own.

Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in the closing stretch of the 2016 election campaign — money Daniels says was meant to keep her quiet about an affair with Trump. The Stormy Daniels lawsuit is a game-changer because Trump could be forced to give her lawyers a deposition about his sexual past — something that has the potential to set off more scandals. The 2018 elections will be a referendum on Donald Trump. This is not about the Trump presidency but the man himself. Without Hillary Clinton to demonize, Trump now faces one opponent he can't beat: Himself.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

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