2018 Midterms: The Democrats Are About To Crash Into Their Own Geographic
Matt Vespa <http:///tipsheet/mattvespa/>
[image: Description: 2018 Midterms: The Democrats Are About To Crash Into
Their Own Geographic Wall]
The Democratic Party is regional. It’s mostly confined to the urban areas
and states that touch salt water. That spells certain doom for a healthy
party that’s incapable of winning rural areas. It’s not impossible. They’ve
done it before, though it was before the toxic ethos of political
correctness and identity politics were thrown into the mix. Now, the
party’s hard left turn on immigration and abortion is starting to make
moderate to right-leaning Democrats, ones who can win in these regions,
difficult to find, let alone support. To complicate matters, there are
still healthy numbers of Democrats who think that Hillary Clinton won the
election, and that the Russians, FBI, media, and the Democratic National
Committee were all part of some nutjob conspiracy to kill her presidential
ambitions. There’s even more commentaries about not reaching out to Trump
voters (i.e. white working class voters) because they’re not needed to win
elections. They’ve learned nothing.
Democrats doled out a rehashed version of Clinton’s 2016 agenda that failed
to win over voters, they have no leader, the national party can’t raise
money, petty squabbles over abortion and health care could boil over into
civil war between the progressive and establishment wings, and they’re
about to hit their own geographic wall. Again, it goes without saying,
being huddled around urban areas is not the best way to win elections,
especially when it comes to congressional elections. The Cook Political
Report’s David Wasserman had more
Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for
seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by
less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical
standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five
In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in
California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to
give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin.
But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile,
Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas,
North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that
wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their
In 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote by 2.1 percentage points, but
Republicans won the median House seat by 3.4 points and the median Senate
seat by 3.6 points — that’s the widest Senate gap in at least a century and
tied with 2012 for the widest House disparity in the last half-century.
That doesn’t mean Democrats can’t win the House and Senate back — they won
control of both chambers in 2006 despite a Republican-bias that year, for
example — but they’re starting from a truly historic geographic
disadvantage, even with the political wind at their back.
Today, Republicans don’t even need to win any “swing states” to win a
Senate majority: 52 seats are in states where the 2016 presidential margin
was at least 5 percentage points more Republican than the national outcome.
By contrast, there are just 28 seats in states where the margin was at
least 5 points more Democratic, and only 20 seats in swing states.
In 2010, when Democrats passed the health care law Republicans are now
seeking to repeal, they needed “yes” votes from all 60 of their senators,
including 13 from states that then-President Barack Obama had lost in 2008.
What did it take for the party to be able to obtain 60 seats? The Iraq War,
Hurricane Katrina and a stock market crash, which generated a huge backlash
against President George W. Bush and Republicans in 2008.
Today, it would take even more cataclysmic events under GOP rule to propel
Democrats to a supermajority over the next six years. (Of course, those
events sometimes happen, particularly given a long enough time frame.)
Meanwhile, all Republicans would need to obtain 60 seats would be to win
every seat in the 30 states that Trump won — no Clinton states needed.
Wasserman added that even if a Democrat wins in 2020, the Senate majority
could be solidly Republican, making for any possible changes to
institutions, like the Supreme Court, all but impossible for liberals. Yet,
what about the health care aspect of this debate? The individual mandate is
unpopular, but millions of people are enrolled in Obamacare. The hubbub
over possible Medicaid cuts frightened some moderate GOP senators and
caused heartburn within the Senate GOP caucus. You all know this fight: one
side (the Democrats) will be painted as protecting people, while the other
(the GOP) will be seen as heartless ghouls taking people’s health care
away. In other words, we’re taking away people’s stuff. There’s no amount
of public relations work, or wizards in this field, that can polish that
and turn it into a winning message. None. Sean Trende of Real Clear
Politics analyzed how the health care debate could impact the 2018 Senate
races, which are insanely biased against the Democrats. He placed the races
into three tiers. One block has states where Trump’s approval is below the
national average. The second is where Trump is slightly above that average,
and the third where the president has high approval ratings (i.e. around 50
percent or more). Trende noted that in most of the scenarios he’s run, the
GOP picks up seats—though it all depends on whether Trump can rebound to 40
(he’s below that right now) or better by the time we get into the thick of
If we put this together, it is consistent with the interactive Senate tool
David Byler and I developed earlier this year. If you simulate the election
with Trump’s job approval around 40 percent, the most likely result is that
Republicans hold steady or lose a seat, although they gain seats in around
a quarter of the scenarios. Whether Republicans end up on the upside of
the mean (from their perspective) or the downside probably depends on the
extent to which Democratic senators like Tester, Heitkamp and Manchin can
maintain their semi-independent brands. The politics of health-care reform
probably complicate this.
While a president’s approval rating has historically been a gauge for how
his party would do in the midterms if they control Congress, we could see
an event where Trump could be relatively unpopular but the Republicans
still retain their majority--with an increased Senate majority.
Posted by: "Beowulf" <beow...@westerndefense.net>
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