This is not precisely a ‘Boom!’
— amy walter (@amyewalter) August 1, 2014
…and I’d hold off calling DOOM on this, either. But it’s getting there. There are two interesting data points, here:
- Cook’s main ratings now show that there are five Republican seats that are seriously at risk of flipping, as opposed to fifteen Democratic ones.
- Looking at the race changes themselves: Cook took 6 Republicans and one Democrat effectively off of the board completely by rating their races as Solid. Cook also put one race (IA-02) into play by upgrading it from Solid Democratic to Likely Democratic.
That last point is important because it shows in stark relief the shrinking of the Democratic playing field. Right now Cook ranks the house as: 204 Solid Republican, 160 Solid Democratic. The Republicans currently control 15 seats that are ranked Likely Republican: even if you spot the Democratic party every other race (including the two Democratic-controlled seats that are ranked Likely Republican) the GOP would still have a majority in the House next year. Not that will happen: what is expected to happen is that the Democrats will probably lose a net six seats or so.
So why isn’t this a Boom! or a DOOM? …Largely because there’s nothing really unexpected about this. The Democrats were and are never really expected to win the House back this year, no more than they were really expected to do so in 2012. The only people who really believe (or believed) otherwise were and are hardcore partisans: and while I’m not going to mock them for it this time* I will still note that those people are not being given good information right now. And what’s good information? Well, it’s that this is a midterm year, and there’s precious little enthusiasm being generated by Democrats right now.
And there’s unlikely to be much of any generated, because for the last six years or so the Democratic party apparatus has been converted into a cult of personality centered around the President. This is why my mailbox – and the mailbox of every other Republican operative out there – is currently overflowing with increasingly shrill Democratic denunciations of the House GOP’s lawsuit against Barack Obama (when they’re not screaming about impeachment)**. Even a only reasonably impartial observer would concede that it’s in the Democrats’ own best interests to re-establish checks on the executive branch’s power – after all, there’s going to be a Republican President in that position soon enough*** – and goodness knows that Barack Obama is going to be even more unproductive during his formal lame-duck period anyway. But that doesn’t matter to personality cults. The awkwardness? Personality cults don’t really care about any election where their Anointed One isn’t on the ballot.
Ach, well, self-correcting problem. Alas.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Hey, I’m a hardcore partisan, too. And a hack, come to think of it.
**We signed up to keep track of what nonsense the Other Side was dishing out. Presumably our opposite numbers on the Left do the same. Makes sense, right?
***Let us now pause for the ritual No Republican will ever be elected President, ever again Chorus, done in two-part (and bipartisan) harmony.