When Republicans are Celebrating Holding a Safe Seat, Dems are Winning
When the Trump transition started the process for filing cabinet positions, their top criteria for sitting congressmen was that they were in safe seats. Price, Zinke, Mulvaney and Pompeo were all plucked from republican districts which they had all won by at least 20 points. When Republicans are celebrating holding a safe seat, Dems are winning, at least they will be when winnable seats open up in 2018.
There has been a lot of rhetoric over the last 24 hours about the Democrats going 0-4 so far in the special elections. Reality is that all those 20+ points seats took at least 15 point swings to the left. In the House, Democrats need a net gain of 24 seats for a majority. There are 23 districts carried by Clinton which also elected Republican House members. History tells us that if Trump’s approval rating stays under 40 percent in 2018, Republicans would be expected to lose the national House popular vote by at least 10 percentage points. The GOP won it by 1 point in 2016. That 11 point swing is more than enough for the Democrats to retake the House.
Every time I make this point I get hit by a chorus of ‘but you forgot the voter suppression and gerrymandering.’ No I didn’t. It is already figured into the numbers. Because of gerrymandering and urban packing, Democrats need to win the House popular vote by 8% to win half the seats in the House.
All of the numbers so far, Trump’s approval rating and the results of the four special elections, point to the Dems flipping the House in 2018. If there is another factor that could affect it, that may be the Democratic leadership in the House. Republicans showed that creating a boogey woman to run against was an effective strategy in the 2016 presidential election. They will try to use the same strategy to hold onto the House in 2018. This time Nancy Pelosi will be the target.