How important is it for Republicans to fulfill campaign promises before 2018 midterms?
Last weekend, I wrote about the 2018 fate of the GOP House majority ultimately being in the hands of Republicans. They’ve been granted an immense honor in being bestowed with majorities in both Houses of Congress and the White House, yet they are losing support amongst their voters, including most alarmingly amongst independents. The remedy, I proposed, was going all-in on President Trump’s agenda; after all, his agenda is more popular than the GOP, Congress, and even the president himself. What, I asked, do they have to lose?
Instead of fulfilling their campaign promises and the president’s agenda, the GOP is tying itself in knots trying to be more progressive than the progressives and more anti-Trump than antifa. This leaves them in a bad situation going into 2018 because they will never win Democrat or progressive votes and are losing the Independents votes they did have on the merits of their campaign promises.
This, along with other factors such as Trump’s low approval and GOP retirements, leaves the Democrats in a pretty good position going into 2018 midterm elections.
They’re in such a good position that the Cook Political Report predicts “A Wave Is a’Comin’,” and they may not be wrong.
The last two weeks have seen some significant movement in Democrats favor. First, there were the impressive results from last Tuesday’s elections. This week, we’ve seen two polls — one by Quinnipiac and one by Marist — that show Democrats with a congressional ballot advantage of +13 to +15. Three other recent polls — ABC/Washington Post, Fox, and NBC/Wall Street Journal — show Democrats with an advantage of anywhere from +7 to +15.
These are political wave numbers.
But, is it realistic to think that Democrats could retain this kind of advantage into 2018? Moreover, given the Republican structural advantage — gerrymandered seats plus Democrats’ self-sorting into urban areas — is that kind of margin even big enough to net 24 seats?
My colleague David Wasserman has been digging into the question of just how big of a wave Democrats need to get in order to surf into the majority. The short answer: they need to see a generic ballot advantage of +8 or more, which roughly translates to getting at least 54 percent or more of the national House vote in 2018.
The last time Democrats enjoyed a margin of +8 or more in a mid-term year was 2006. That year, Democrats won the House vote by 8.5 percent. [emphasis not mine]
The instinct on the right has been to dismiss polls and historical election data, but that doesn’t always work (Virginia, this line of thinking went, was an easy GOP win across the board. Until it wasn’t. Not even close.). While polls aren’t absolute predictors, they can be balanced with everything that is going on and weighed in a given political climate.
Cook Political Report continues:
Getting a tax bill across the finish line isn’t going to be enough to change the mood of the country. It is going to take something much more significant to do that. A good economy is helpful to the GOP as it can cut down on some of the headwinds coming at them right now. But, it’s not clear to me that it’s enough to fundamentally alter the way voters see Congress, the GOP and the President.
In 2016 we made the mistake of rationalizing away the prospect of a Trump victory. He was too unorthodox. He couldn’t possibly sustain momentum through the grueling primary campaign. We should not make same mistake in 2018. Sure, a lot can change between now and next November. And, Democrats have a narrow path to 24 seats – even with a big wave or tailwind. But, do not ignore what’s right in front of us. A wave is building. If I were a Republican running for Congress, I’d be taking that more seriously than ever.
The Cook Political Report has 174 solid Democrat House seats and 178 solid Republican House seats. The likely/lean seats are Democrat 17, Republican 45. Toss-up or worse at Democrat 4, Republican 17.
That’s a lot of room for Republicans to lose ground, and lose ground they already are. See House Ratings Changes in Seven Districts as GOP Majority in Peril.
There does seem to be a Democrat—or perhaps more aptly at this point an ambivalent-to-the-GOP—wave building, and while I don’t agree that it’s an anti-Trump or pro-Democrat wave, it’s very real.
Congressional Republicans seem to have forgotten that they were elected to do what they said they’d do, and they need to assess the situation properly and correct course accordingly to win back the support of the Independents they’re losing and to build enthusiasm among the base. Results matter, and results lead to enthusiasm among Republican voters, and that enthusiasm leads to increased turnout. Waffling, wavering, and wimpy GOP inaction will produce, is producing, the opposite.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.