Monday, October 24, 2016

The Next Midterm Massacre

Chris Cillizza makes the case that even if the Democrats win back the Senate and achieve the impossible and win back the heavily gerrymandered House, that a 2018 Democratic midterm meltdown (without Donald Trump to drag down the GOP ballot) all but guarantees Republican control of Congress for the second half of a Clinton term.

If we are being honest, the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is effectively over. Which means that the big fight over the next 15 days is for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to retake control. 
That prospect is looking more and more likely of late — thanks in large part to Trump’s collapse at the top of the ticket, a fall that appears to be dragging down the likes of Richard Burr in North Carolina, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Joseph J. Heck in Nevada.

What few people talk about — but should — is that this could be a very short-lived majority for Senate Democrats, as the 2018 field is remarkably bad for them. 
The numbers for that year are stunning: 25 Democratic or Democratic-affiliated independents are up for reelection, compared with just eight Republicans. That’s as lopsided an election cycle as you will ever see.

But a look inside the numbers makes the Democrats’ challenge in 2018 all the more daunting. Fully 20 percent of the 25 Democratic seats are in states that then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried in 2012 (and even Trump is likely to carry on Nov. 8): Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia. 
All five Democratic incumbents in those states are expected to run for reelection, a prospect that gives Democrats a chance in each. But with 2018 looking almost certain to be the first midterm election of a Hillary Clinton presidency, it’s hard to see how her party avoids major losses in red states.

I hate to even consider the notion that a twit like Cillizza is correct, but...he's correct.  Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin are all going to face very long odds in 2018, plus Tim Kaine's seat would be open in Virginia and Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania would all be incumbent Dems with seats in play.

And if the midterms are yet another disaster the way 2010 and especially 2014 were, Democrats losing all of those seats would be a nightmare.  There's nothing at this point to make me think the DNC has their crap together enough to pull it off, either.

I'm not saying this is a done deal by any means, but the time for Dems to get the ball moving on defending the ramparts is going to be November 9th.  A third midterm disaster is just going to undo any gains made this year and then some.

But now that I've got that out of my system, the time to start moving on 2018 is just a few weeks away.  I know people don't want to hear that, but it's what the GOP is going to do, trust me.

We have to be ready.

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