This article appears at Peoples Pundit Daily (PPD) with permission
The hubris, actually that’s not fair, rather the ruddy glow of the embers of enthusiasm from the unexpected Trump win and the retention of majorities in both houses of Congress in 2016 led many Republicans to believe that not only would the GOP hold the House but even increase their majority.
With the unerring wisdom of hindsight the clear lesson of history, that in almost every case the congressional midterms go against the party in power, should have been the expectation of the party faithful.
It appears that all punditry and prognostication could have been dispensed with if everyone had followed Real Clear Politics Sean Trende’s analysis, again based on history “If President Trump is not at 50% for the midterms then the GOP will be in a world of hurt”
If the party faithful had faced this reality then Republicans actually increasing their senate majority, another rare instance, would have been seen as the triumph it was (and which President Trump rightly hailed.)
FDR lost 71 House seats in his second term Clinton 52 in his first and Obama (“we were shellacked”) 63.
The average midterms losses since 1934 being 33, so Trumps 40, a number of which in California were lost to the local GOP simply being outmanoeuvred on election day vote collecting, doesn’t fit in the “shellacked” category especially with the gain of senate seats only having happened five times previously since FDR.
That cooler, more experienced GOP heads knew this, most likely guided by internal polling, and placed their resources correctly (for the senate races) was seen with President stumping against vulnerable red state and swing state Democrats (Indiana/North Dakota/Florida/Montana) while trying to shore up vulnerable Republicans. This strategy paid off with a net gain of two senate seats.
Of course losing control of the House is not a blessing but since it was historically inevitable has any good come from it? Yes, most certainly.
The Democratic party swung sharply to the left after 2016 as would be expected and in their enthusiasm brought in a number of inexperienced publicity seeking radicals who have, through their often bizarre utterances, dubious anti-Semitic connections and statements and potty mouthed “The Democrats’ new street fighters “attacks, taken a large degree of the media spotlight off the new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and any hint of a legislative program.
If this continues unabated, and Pelosi seems to have no control over this radical posturing set, which is cheered on by similarly naïve “progressives’ and the MSM which uses the newcomers for clickbait, then there is a major challenge for whomever the 2020 nominees is.
If the Dem’s choose an overt leftist like Sanders or Harris then the GOP has a made to measure message “would you trust the country to high tax, anti-capitalist, radical Islam aligned radicals and undo all the hard won gains in employment and industrial growth?
If by 2020 major peace overtures in Korea have borne fruit and the “trade wars” are settled and disengagement from the endless Middle East wars have seen American troops return home then it is hard to believe the voters would opt to negate all of that for a radical administration.
Conversely if a centrist candidate is the nominee the question is how much will the progressive tail wag the dog? These questions have significant bearing on the House elections for 2020.
Even with an “unprecedented turnout of over 50% for a midterms” 36 sitting Republican Congressmen not seeking re-election, massive Democratic enthusiasm and a relentlessly opposed to Trump media the GOP needs to win 19 seats back to regain control of the House.
An analysis of the Democratic Party wins in 2018 shows two were won by less than 1% nine by less than 2% and three by under 3% two by under 4% and four by under 5%. Given the expected 2016 size Republican turnout in 2020 it is clear that the return of the House to GOP control is more than feasible.
Such feasibility is substantially enhanced if the Democratic “class of 2018” continues to flaunt their progressive attitudes and policies at the same level as now which, given the nature of the newcomers seems likely.