Prognostications about the upcoming midterm election are coming fast and furious. The bullishness about the Democrats’ prospects, so frequently expressed (and exaggerated) during the government shutdown, is gone. Current forecasts typically range from “a midterm headache for Democrats” to possibly even another Republican wave. But at this moment, what’s most likely is something less dramatic, at least as far as the House of Representatives is concerned. An early version of this blog’s forecasting model suggests that there will be only a small shift in House seats in 2014 — one more likely to advantage Republicans than Democrats, but one that will fall far short of a wave.
…and if you think about it you’ll see why. In 2006 and 2008 the Democrats more or less eliminated every at-risk Republican in the House of Representatives. In 2010 we returned the favor, and then some. In 2012 the redistricting wars shook loose some seats on both sides.
Now it’s 2014. If local conditions favored Democrats then I’d think that there was a faint chance of them having a wave: our House majority relies on a very large class of Congressmen elected in 2010, and now is about the time in the Congressional life cycle where a Member of Congress would start in on doing stupid things because they think that they’re invincible*. But at the moment that’s getting masked by the incredibly bad – and unlikely to get better – hit to the Democratic party’s reputation because of Obamacare (and a bunch of other issues, including the NSA stuff**). As it stands, though: most of the easy pickings have been long since gleaned. The folks that remain have pretty good buffers and insulation.
Mind you, the Washington Post still says that the GOP may pick up… five? …in the House, which sounds about right. There’s some seats in Illinois and Arizona that aren’t as reliable for the Democrats as they look. But I think that it’s going to have to get REALLY bad for the Democrats before we can expect more. Which it could, but that’s something that we should discuss in June of 2014, not December of 2013.
PS: Note, by the way, that the WaPo analysis says nothing about the Senate. What happens there just might qualify for being called a ‘wave.’
*Not all of them, thankfully. Not even most of them, usually. But some of them decide that since they won election AND re-election, they’re going to be in Congress no matter what. The Democrats in 2010 had this problem so bad, they passed Obamacare…
**The NSA ‘revelations’ do not infuriate me, although I certainly would agree that a government bureaucracy needs constant negative reinforcement to keep it in line (something that this administration is not doing). But it does seem to be infuriating young voters a bit more, only they’re taking it out on the Democrat. Which means that it’s not in point of fact my problem; and so I will just cheerfully wave to that particular mob as they march down the lane, and remind them to stay hydrated.