Republicans Will Need More Than The Economy To Hold The House

President Trump recently injected some reality into his 2018 “red wave” talk. He acknowledged at the Ohio Republican Party’s annual dinner that it will be “probably tougher” for Congressional Republicans to hold the House than the Senate in this year’s midterm elections. 

Trump would be correct. 2018 is a tale of two different midterm electionswith control of the Senate currently favoring Republicans and control of the House approaching nightmare status for the Grand Old Party.

History suggests that Republicans will lose the House. In midterm elections between 1934 and 2014, the president’s party lost, on average, 27 House seats, with the average first-term loss being 25 seats. Given that Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats for a majority in the House, this statistic alone is an ominous sign.

Adding insult to injury for the red team is the fact there are 43 open Republican House seats now without an incumbent on the ballot; a modern record. When combining these two items, it is easy to see why The Hill’s Reid Wilson contends that Republicans could lose anywhere from 72 House seats to as few as 10 or that election prognosticator FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Democrats a better than 71 percent chance to win control of the House.

There is still time for Republicans to flip the script, but the clock is ticking. Yes, Republicans could conceivably hold the House but one thing is pretty certain, they are going to lose seats in the lower chamber of Congress.

The primary issue for House Republicans is staring them right in the face. They have an enthusiasm gap problem. Democrats are beyond fired up. For them, 2018 is personal, and they are focused on one thing – taking down President Trump. This is best evidenced in a recent Fox News poll. According to the survey, 76 percent of Clinton voters are certain they will vote this fall. Among Trump voters that figure is only 67 percent. 

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy