Thursday, April 12, 2018

Republicans Riding Tandem With Trump

Presidential approval eight months out from the President’s first midterm election is an instructive, if not predictive, indicator of the election results in the House of Representatives. President Trump is at the low among presidents since Harry Truman and appears unable to stay on a message of accomplishment. The White House’s constant controversies and chaos are making recovery very difficult. And although eight months is a long time in the politics of the digital age, Trump and Republican congressional leadership should be worried.

As the table below shows, presidents tend to lose seats in their first midterm election, regardless of their popularity.

The midterm vote historically is a check on the incumbent president and his party. Voter turnout is lower. Passion and turnout enthusiasm is usually with the out-party. Presidents have a hard time translating their popularity (especially if only with a base of their party) to lower profile Senate and especially congressional candidates. Over the past 21 midterm elections, the incumbent presidential party has lost an average of 30 seats in the House.

Trump, of course, has little support beyond his base. Could the Republicans lose 30 to 50 House seats? Yes!

President Trump | Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
Looking at the chart shows the great presidential debacles.
  • Johnson – 47 seats lost (1966), Vietnam, riots
  • Ford – 48 seats lost (1971), Watergate, pardon
  • Clinton – 55 seats lost (1994), rocky start and health care collapse
  • Obama – 63 seats lost (2010), Tea Party formed and Obamacare
Analysis needs to go seat-by-seat, but Nancy Pelosi only requires 23 seats after the win in Pennsylvania’s 18th. Thirty seats are very doable.

See The Buzz:
Democrats could retake the House
Republican nightmare: President Clinton, Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi

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