Monday, July 17, 2017

Your 2018 Math Check

I feel very good about the Democrats' chances in 2018 in the House of kicking Paul Ryan to the curb. The latest Cook Political Report check-in on the House finds alarm bells ringing for the GOP and it's still 16 months out.

This is a tricky point in the election cycle to begin making predictions. On one hand, the danger signs are everywhere for the GOP: President Trump's approval is mired in the high 30s, and support for the AHCA's legislation is stuck in the high teens, and Democrats have been significantly over-performing—despite falling short—in a broad array of special elections. They also lead most national generic ballot tests by high single digits.

Race by race, the data isn't much better for Republicans. Multiple public and private polls now show House Republican incumbents who won by wide margins last fall tied with or trailing real and hypothetical opponents. For example, GOP Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02) cruised by 14 points last fall. After voting for the AHCA, she's running even in two surveys against former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, whose impending bid is the worst-kept secret in Tucson.

Taken as a whole, the evidence would seem to point to a wave election that would justify moving a slew of races into the Toss Up column and threaten GOP control of the House.

Trumpcare is killing them now.  Whether or not that will still be the case in November of next year, we don't yet know.  The Senate however is a different story, as the difficulties of the Dems winning the three seats they need are pretty manifest (enough that even James Carville can see it.)

Democratic operative James Carville is expressing doubt that his party will take back the Senate in 2018, saying Saturday that it would be “very, very difficult," to do so.
“I think right now most Democrats are trying to focus on the 2018 elections and trying to recruit people and keep incumbents, and you know I would say we have a pretty good chance of taking the House back. The Senate is very, very difficult,” Carville told John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York. 
“The problem in the Senate is we have a large number of seats we have to hold in states that Donald Trump carried. Indiana, Missouri, you know, places like that we have to hold seats,” he continued.

“The only places where we have an opportunity for pick up are, you know, Nevada is pretty good. After that Arizona is less good, then you’re down to Texas and Alabama, and for Democrats to win the Senate back, they have to pick up three seats,” Carville said.

Carville is of course talking about Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller and Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who are both vulnerable, but after that the field turns to flipping either Ted Cruz in Texas or Luther Strange in Alabama, two races that the GOP are probably going to win.

On top of that, as I've said before, the Dems have to defend in ten Trump state races.   That's looking more and more likely now, but the notion of picking off Cruz or Strange is still a massive long-shot. Absolutely everything would have to go the Dems' way next November.  It's not impossible, but I would gladly take a successful defense of all Senate Democrats in 2018 plus flipping Heller's seat and call it spectacular.

It's possible that it completely collapses for the GOP in 2018, the way Trump's going.  We'll see.

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