|President Trump speaks at a rally, August 4, 2018, in Lewis|
Center, Ohio | John Minchillo/Associated Press
Karl Rove, a regular columnist, offered the Republican establishment’s take and declared good news. Troy Balderson won after rumors of a likely defeat circulated and Republicans poured resources and pressed President Trump into the fight. Rove isn’t Pollyannish. He doesn’t see a “great red wave,” but he thinks in spite of the likely losses, Republicans “have a fighting chance to keep their majority.”
The WSJ’s house editorial, “The ‘Red Wave’ Illusion,” takes a harder line on Republican prospects based on the Ohio and overall Tuesday results. It believes President Trump is more the problem than the solution. “Voters dislike Mr. Trump’s abrasive style and polarizing governance.”
They cite Republican pollster, Ed Goeas, analyses: Trump has solidly behind him about 75 percent of voters who approve of him (about 31% to 34%) and another 10-11 percent willing to tolerate him. But, that sums to 44-45 percent approval and it can’t win a general election. Another 10 percent like some of what he does, but object to the chaos and rancor (see The Buzz: “In 2018, America’s Two Parties Have a lot of Stress” and “Trump Loses a Fifth of Republicans in Handling Helsinki”). Tuesday provided more evidence of Trump as much of a liability in a general election as an asset.
Both columns cite the metrics of Charles Cook and Larry Sabato that place more than 50 Republican House seats in harm’s way. These are Republican districts that have lower Republican partisan leanings than Mr. Balderson’s Ohio seat.
- Ohio 12th Democrats ran 6.1 points better than the districts’ partisan lean (Cook’s calculation)
- In special House election since November 2018, Democrats have bested the partisan lean by 5.1 points (Rove)
- Cook and Sabato rate approximately 50 at-risk House members in seats with equal or less Republican lean (Rove)
- WSJ states 68 Republican held seats are less Republican than Ohio’s 12th, with lots of suburbs, which Democrats won two-to-one in Ohio,