By Matt Rooney
The “one week out” mark is a good time for a deep breath and some much needed perspective, Save Jerseyans.
Democrats gained 26 U.S. House seats in 1982, Ronald Reagan’s first midterm; the economy hadn’t started roaring yet.
Republicans picked up 54 seats in 1994, the fabled “Republican Revolution.”
Democrats gained 31 in 2006 as the Iraq War drug on and Bush fatigue set in.
In 2010? It was GOP +63 in the great Obamacare backlash.
What’s happening next Tuesday?
I don’t know. Neither do you. No one does. But as of yet, there’s little-to-no hard evidence of anything ‘historic’ afoot, defined here in the colloquial sense of the term as “out of the ordinary” relative to recent U.S. political history.
Consider how the average Democrat pick up right now in the RCP polling average is 25 seats… just enough to take control (23 seats need to flip), which if it bears out on November 6th would represent a far smaller majority (2 seats!) than either party had after their respective recent House takeovers.
Nate Silver says it’ll be more (his average pegs Democrats gaining around 40 seats), which is still a smaller pick up than 1994 and 2010. This result would translate to a modest but solid 27 seat majority.
Democrats built a 31 seat majority in Election 2006. 233 seats total, two less than the GOP’s current 235 seat majority.
If you analyze every single midterm election since the Civil War (which, for the benefit of those of you educated by the NJEA, ended in 1865)? The incumbent president’s party lost an average of 32 seats in the House and two seats in the U.S. Senate.
At the moment, the RCP average suggests Democrats will gain 25 (as stated above) and LOSE a net of 2-3 Senate seats.
Would Democrats winning back the House of Representatives this fall constitute a newsworthy development? You bet!
An unprecedented, unheard of, totally unique historic rebuke? Nah. Not even close.
So why is everyone acting like the possibility of a Democrat takeover is something crazy, new, and interesting? Well, because 24/7/365 media needs something to gab about for starters, and anything that can be spun as “anti-Trump” or evidence of anti-Trump sentiment fits the preferred narrative.
Part of me thinks 40 is more likely than 25 due to the unusually high number of open seats in blue-ish states (like our own). Playing defense is tough. Then again? Donald Trump’s approval rating at the moment actually exceeds that of President Barack Obama at this point in his own presidency.
Haven’t heard that on MSNBC or CNN, have you? Of course not. You haven’t heard most of this. Unlike the Republican Party’s mascot, the elephant, modern Americans generally don’t remember anything that happened five minutes before the current news cycle, and it’s one of the primary reasons why we keep repeating the same mistakes over, and over, and over again.
Mistakes like giving Democrats an iota of real power.