We’re less than two hours away from the first polls closing this election cycle, and it seems Democrats are poised to make some gains. Whether they will retake the House remains to be seen. The generic ballot advantage favors Democrats, but the races that will decide who will control the lower chamber is tight; it’s a point or two difference in most cases. The areas are usually Republican. They should break Republican. Whatever the case, the gains Democrats are projected to make tonight will be difficult to defend in 2020, so soak it up Democrats. In 2020, they can all be washed away (via WaPo):
Trump carried 70 percent of the 111 districts where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested resources this year. “This is one of those districts,” said DCCC chairman Ben Ray Luján, who represents one of New Mexico’s two other House districts and campaigned with Torres Small here this weekend.
During an interview Saturday evening over Turkish coffees at Santorini, a Mediterranean restaurant across the street from New Mexico State University, Luján explained that the Democratic path to power doesn’t simply go through districts Hillary Clinton won that are represented by GOP incumbents.
“Moderate Republicans are voting for our Democratic candidates,” he said. “As a matter of fact, it's the only way that many of our candidates are going to win. … But are they aligning with us for one cycle? Has the president pushed them away? … Will they come back while he's in office? I think those are all important questions that we'll see election after election. We'll see now in these midterms. We'll see again in 2019 with [special elections] and then again in 2020.”
Turnout has already exceeded the 2014 midterms thanks to an activated progressive base, and Luján predicts more New Mexico Democrats will vote in 2018 than did in 2016. “We have not seen this many people show up and knock on doors in a decade,” he said. “I ran for Congress with President Obama in 2008. … I don't want to go that far, but I'm feeling the same kind of energy that I felt then.”
If she wins, it would be hard for her to hold it because of the nature of the district and also because the president will be running again next time,” said Harry Teague, the Democrat who held the seat from 2009 to 2011.
Assuming they win the House, the number of Democrats from red districts will create a governing challenge for Democrats. The progressive base and donor community have very different expectations of what a Democratic House will do than many voters who are casting ballots for Democratic candidates as you read this. Many activists want to impeach Trump, but party leaders will want to protect their new members from polarizing votes. Instead, they’re looking to find some areas of common group with the administration. This will lead to tension because some liberals will be alarmed that giving Trump any legislative victories improves his odds of reelection.
The DCCC chair said he’s very mindful of this dynamic. He said the new House must pass bills that these Democrats from red districts can tout back home that are related to the issues they’ve run on, such as protecting preexisting conditions, lowering prescription drug prices, a major infrastructure package, campaign finance restructuring, restoring the Voting Rights Act and improving transparency in government.
Notice how Medicare for all is not on that list. I think the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which is teeming with grassroots energy, is not going to be happy about this. So, rural/urban drama, coupled with the Left wasting endless time investigating things that aren’t really issues, you can bet the Democrats will sabotage their own gains.