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The mainstream medias group think talking point that the congressional elections almost always go against the party which controls the White House is another example of the beltway fighting the last war. While I’m glad to see that conventional wisdom has taken a “yes, but” attitude toward Republicans regaining the majority in the Senate, they continue to insist that the House majority, or even net gains are unlikely if not impossible for the Democrats to obtain in the next few cycles.

I believe this to be a false premise. In fact, I think the 2014 congressional elections set up nicely for the Democrats to gain seats against all historical precedent. In the coming months, and with input from any who offer it, I hope to develop a thesis that looks at why, under certain circumstances, this is possible.  Some areas I plan on highlighting as evidence are:

•Republicans are few places to play offense:  One side effect of the previous two congressional elections and the latest round of redistricting is that the Democrats occupy 201 seats that are, for the most part, political aligned. Mitt Romney won only 8 districts* that Democrats presently sit in.  By that metric there aren’t many places for them to start with, even if they throw a lot of money in the district fronted by a good candidate.

•Democrats have more places to play offense in: One thing that’s become clear as the congressional level numbers come in, is that there are a number of seats, at the moment 16, which are held by Republicans but voted for President Obama.  Those 16 are the starting point for any gain in 2014. With the right candidate, and plenty of well-placed resources, not to mention the President being the Campaigner-in-Chief,  we could find  some nice opportunities to flip red to blue.

•Leftward drift of social issues: With the Iraq war over, and the financial recession receding before us (Yes, I intended the pun, and yes, I do know that a recession induced by the sequester and a slowing global economy are possible.) the rise of gun control, immigration and softening on Gay marriage, mean Democrats can highlight issues that Republicans, for many reasons, are unable to effectively win on.  Leveraged the right way, by the right candidate, and in the right area (Suburbs…..), this may help motivate some voters to go blue when the issue of jobs or taxes are canceled out.

• Demographic changes:  While acknowledging that numbers such as the ones we saw in 2008 or 2012, will probably not happen, the continuing changes to this country’s ethnic makeup, the shift in those growing groups toward Democrats, coupled with the likelihood that  the 2010 atmosphere was an outlier, can give us some margin of comfort (think generic ballot) as opposed to the “traditional” midterm composition (But really has there ever been a “traditional second midterm election for a sitting Democratic President?).

OF course, the usual caveats apply that things will change and there’s no certainty that it’s going to be sunshine and rainbows for us 22 months. What I’ve outlined above  is putting on paper some intuitive thoughts I’ve developed over the years as I’ve watched, participated and thought about political elections. But I remain optimistic that we have the opportunity to confound the professionals and surpass expectations.


How many seats will the Democrats gain in the 2014 Congressional elections?

55%10 votes
22%4 votes
0%0 votes
5%1 votes
16%3 votes

| 18 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Net Gain is going to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    About how much work people start putting in, right now through 2014 to make it happen.

    More than talking heads or ads, that's what it is

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:09:12 PM PST

    •  With teabagger senate primary challenges in states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      like Kentucky and Georgia it's possible there will be no net loss in the senate (remarkable).

      If Democrats put up a good candidate against Corbett from southeast pa. (Allyson Schwartz?) they could take some cong. districts there (esp. Bucks County). Overall Demcrats could gain up to 6 or so Cong. Districts in the NE, and you'd think there's some opportunities (even with gerrymandering) in the Old Northwest (Minn. and Wisc.?-- Michele Bachmann?).

      "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

      by TofG on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:06:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two gubernatorial elections coming up (0+ / 0-)

    are NJ and VA (they both elect a governor one year after the Presidential election). They both like to pick someone from the opposite party of the President:

    Year President VA Governor NJ Governor
    2009 Barack Obama (D) Bob McDonnell (R) Chris Christie (R)
    2005 George W. Bush (R) Tim Kaine (D) Jon Corzine (D)
    2001 George W. Bush (R) Mark Warner (D) Jim McGreevey (D)
    1997 Bill Clinton (D) Jim Gilmore (R) Christie Whitman (R)
    1993 Bill Clinton (D) George Allen (R) Christie Whitman (R)
    1989 George H.W. Bush (R) Doug Wilder (D) Jim Florio (D)
    1985 Ronald Reagan (R) Gerald Baliles (D) Tom Kean (R)
    1981 Ronald Reagan (R) Chuck Robb (D) Tom Kean (R)
    Democrats in bold
    And of course, if Republicans win in these two states in 2013, pundits will call it a national reaction against Obama. Or some such.

    “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

    by Dbug on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 07:36:57 PM PST

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