The conventional wisdom says the Republicans are headed for a bloodbath in the November midterm elections. Sadly for us, it will not be a literal bloodbath, but it could be a big swing in the representation of the House. The Senate is a different issue, as most of the seats up this time are currently held by Democrats. Many of them are in states that tilt Republican and many are held by blockheads like Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. The House is where the Democrats have a chance to claw back larger capitol offices.
Now, there are some things to keep in mind when thinking about this stuff. One is the mass media is mostly just the propaganda wing of the Democrat party, so they will be endlessly gas lighting us from now until November. Then there is the fact that the constant gerrymandering of House districts has made most of them bulletproof. About 15% of seats are truly competitive now. There’s also the fact that the Democrat freak show tends not to show up in midterms. The trans-lesbian of color voter is surprisingly unreliable.
To get some sense of what could happen this November, I took a look at the district by district results in presidential races over the last three cycles. If a Republican held a seat during the Obama years, it is a safe bet that the seat is solid GOP. If a Democrat held the seat, despite blowouts in 2010 and 2014, the safe bet is the seat is solid Democrat. The point is to eliminate the seats that are locks for either party in any election. The result is 183 seats that the GOP will always win and 194 that Democrat will always win.
That means there are 58 house seats that are in play this election. Redistricting and local issues will always play some role. Then there is the fact that solid districts can swing to the other party because the default candidate is weird or corrupt. Still, the fact that incumbents win 85% of the time and we have 13% of the seats in the contested column, means the real election will be over roughly sixty seats this fall. The “Great Shellacking” in 2010 resulted in 63 seats swinging to the GOP, which was the most since 1938.
Another aspect to this midterm is the fact that Hillary Clinton did not win any of the solid GOP districts and she only won in eight weak Republican districts. Even more interesting, she won in just five toss-up districts. The Democrats perform like a regional party, with a small number of high intensity zones. This has been true since 2006, when the Democrats last had a good night for House elections. In order to win a toss-up district, they have to put up a candidate that does not remind the voters of his party’s leadership.
There’s also the local flavor. A district like Arizona’s 2nd is a good example. The district went Clinton in 2016, but had been solid GOP for the previous four presidential elections. Yet, in 2012, the Democrats won the seat in an open election, but lost it in 2014. The Republican incumbent then trounced the Democrat in the 2016 election, despite the district tipping to Clinton. Voters don’t always punish their representative, just because his or her party is run by idiots. The idiot you know is better than the idiot you don’t know.
The challenge for the Democrats is to find 26 seats held by Republicans that they can flip this November. Assuming the solid districts on both sides, there are 58 “in play” districts this election, give or take. Of those, 33 have been pretty reliable for the GOP. That’s defined as going Republican in presidential elections, even when the Democrats won the White House. That leaves 25 truly vulnerable Republicans in the November midterm, plus or minus the results of redistricting, bad candidates and so forth.
Now, the party holding the White House often does poorly in the midterm elections, as the loyalists of the party out of power are full of anger. They’re still mad about losing the last time. Here’s the breakdown of midterms going back to Reagan.
Democrats do vastly worse in midterms than Republicans when they hold the White House. This is a familiarity breeds contempt issue. The average net loss for the Republicans is about 12 seats, with a high side of 30 under Bush in 2006. That 2006 election is probably the absolute bottom for the GOP. The Democrats rely on outlandish lies to get their way into majorities, so they suffer greatly in midterms. Their average loss is 31, which reflects a swing back to normal after a presidential election.
The GOP can look at history and figure they probably hold the House just on inertia. Even when the voters are really mad at them, like 2006, the losses are not catastrophic, despite the claims by the media. After the 2008 election, the media was carrying on about the dawn of the Progressive utopia. In reality, the country remained mostly Republican in inclination and that was proven out in the following midterm. The fact is, the GOP is the majority party in America, because it is the party of the white middle-class.
Now, the one sure way to keep the House in the hands of the GOP is to make sure the Republican president in popular. Reagan was suffering in the polls and his party suffered as a result. Bush was popular in 2002 and his party did well in his first midterm. Clinton was very popular in his second midterm and his party did well in that election. If the GOP wants to avoid a disaster this November, they would be wise to help Trump get over 50% in the polls. The obvious way to do that is help deliver on his campaign promises.
Of course, they may hate the idea of helping Trump more than the idea of Speaker Pelosi.