The 2018 midterm elections are less than 10 months away, and they could provide the DNC the ability to actually block President Donald Trump from further legislative success. In fact, Democrats are counting on the election to allow them to do just that. However, their future doesn’t look so bright, and they don’t seem to be in control of the upcoming election.
Left-leaning journalists around the country are already running stories about how the Democrats are likely to clean up in the midterm election season, and how the Democrat majority is being invigorated by how ‘awful’ President Donald Trump is, and how they’ll rise up and carry DNC candidates with them.
There’s only one problem; the math doesn’t add up.
According to people like Nate Silver of Five Thirty-Eight, the Democrat party is actually looking at the worse Senate map that they (or any party) have faced. There are thirty-three seats up for grabs in the election, and 25 of them belong to Democrats, while eight belong to Republicans.
Further, the Democrat seats up for grabs are much more at-risk than those of Republicans. Al Franken’s seat is up for grabs, but so are five seats held by Democrats in states like Indiana and West Virginia, states that President Donald J. Trump won by 18 points or more in the 2016 election.
But that’s just the Senate, and surely the house will be more likely to flip for the Democrats, right? Indeed, this is the more likely scenario, but even then, Democrats will have to contend with the fact that Democrat voters are less likely to turn up in the midterm elections.
There’s also the fact that though Congress, as a whole, is ridiculously unpopular (Congress has an approval rate of 17 percent), most congressmen and women have high approval ratings in their districts. This means that the turnover rate for Congress is likely to be less in the DNC’s favor than they would think.
But what about all the DNC’s victories since the election of President Donald J. Trump? Doesn’t that mean that they’re likely to keep winning?
Not really, no.
They won Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat in Alabama because Judge Roy Moore had enough skeletons in his closet (whether they are true or not) to equip a Halloween store. Even then, the DNC only prevailed by less than two percentage points.
Chris Christie lost the governorship of New Jersey, but that is nothing surprising; the State of New Jersey is extremely left-leaning, and Christie had his own likability issues. Running his Lieutenant Governor was almost begging for a loss in New Jersey.
Further, Christie had the lowest approval rate for any governor in New Jersey, as well as the highest disapproval rate for a governor in the country. Running anyone connected to him in any way was a recipe for failure in the state.
As it stands currently, it is quite possible that Republicans will pick up a few seats in the Senate, rather than losing any. Even Nate Silver agrees, and that could spell trouble for Democrats.
It is common for the opposition party to pick up seats in midterm elections, no matter who the president is. During President Obama’s first midterm, his party lost their supermajorities.
And though he was re-elected, President Obama never had a supermajority again. His last few years in office, he faced Republican majorities in Congress and the Senate, preventing him from getting almost anything on his legislative agenda to go any further than a cloture vote.
At this point, any prognostication as to the future of Senate or Congressional seats is simply guesswork. It can be based on a complex iterative model or a wild guess, but we will not know the outcome until election season, 2018.
If the Republicans can hold the House and even grow their lead in the Senate, that could mean that President Donald J. Trump will be able to continue winning. So far he’s done an astonishing amount, including passing the first major tax reform bill in 30 years, but there is more on his agenda and he needs votes to continue.
The Democrats have no reason to be so secure in their belief that they will be handed the Senate in 2018. In fact, it seems that their best hope is to take control of Congress and that they simply limit losses in the Senate.
It is more important than ever that if Republicans want to continue to have control of the federal government, they need to ensure that they get out and vote. Republicans tend to vote more than Democrats in mid-term elections, and this is the chance to pull away and increase the spread in the legislature.