With much of the national media attention (such as it exists) focused on this year's Senate races, the battle for the House of Representatives is frequently overlooked. Sure, it's been a foregone conclusion for months that Democrats would fail to win back Congress' lower chamber, but an emerging story line is that Nancy Pelosi's team increasingly worried about sustaining damaging losses on November 4th. Politico reports:
The political environment continues to deteriorate for House Democrats ahead of a midterm election that’s certain to diminish their ranks. With President Barack Obama’s unpopularity hindering their candidates and Republican cash flooding into races across the country, Democrats are increasingly worried that the election will push them deep into the minority and diminish their hopes of winning back the majority in 2016 or beyond. Looking to contain the damage, Democrats are pumping money into liberal congressional districts that were long thought to be safely in their column. Over the last several days, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has directed resources to maintain seats in Hawaii and Nevada, both of which broke sharply for the president in 2012 — an indication of just how much the terrain has shifted against the party over the past two years. Other unexpected races are suddenly in play...Operatives from both parties expect Republicans to net five to 10 seats, which would give them some cushion heading into what’s expected to be a much more challenging 2016. Some Republicans, trying to tamp down rising expectations of even bigger gains, point out that a recently-redistricted congressional map has dramatically narrowed the playing field of competitive districts and limited potential pick-ups. They also caution that they have yet to put away Democrats in many races that remain close. Still, as the election heads into the final week, it’s clear that the landscape is tilting against Democrats. Of the 30 House races seen as most likely to change hands, 23 are held by Democrats.
It's wise for Republicans to downplay expectations, just as Democrats' cause for alarm is absolutely real. Their dire predicament at least partially explains the increasingly apocalyptic fundraising emails for which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commitee (DCCC) been roundly lampooned:
DCCC officially gives up: pic.twitter.com/mI7z1ATVZb— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 7, 2014
As your parting gift, here's yet another piece in which Democrats snipe at each other over what they expect to be an ugly Tuesday night:
Democrats are casting blame on the White House as their sense of foreboding rises with the midterm elections just a week away. The core of the detractors’ argument is simple: President Obama could be doing more to keep the Senate in his party’s hands. But the president’s defenders say he is boxed in by political realities. Even as some Democrats call for him to be more vocal and prominent, candidates in battleground states are paddling furiously to put as much clear blue water as possible between themselves and the man in the White House. Still, the chorus of complaint is growing. Some Democrats assert that the administration’s flubs on healthcare and Ebola have been electorally costly. Others allege a failure to excite the base. Still others say that at times the White House just hasn’t seemed unduly bothered whether or not control of the Senate flips to the GOP.
When the president has waded into the cycle, he's instantly minted turn-key GOP ads. The latest: