This is the first of a two-part series analyzing each party’s chances of winning the House majority in the upcoming election. This first piece details why the Democrats believe they will hold the House. The next will scrutinize the Republicans’ chances of regaining the majority they lost in 2006.
The Democrats’ “Seven Reasons”
Democratic Party analysts are promoting a new response to those who are arguing that the Republicans have a legitimate chance a re-claiming the U.S. House majority in this year’s mid-term election. In presentations and memo form, the party brain trust says there are seven reasons that support their premise of the Democrats retaining their current status.
Below is our analysis of their arguments from an objective viewpoint:
1) Elections are a choice between two candidates.
The key point here pertains to the Democrats’ goal of localizing the races versus the Republicans’ attempt to nationalize them. In 2006 and ’08, the strategic positions of the two parties were exactly the opposite. In the previous two cycles, it was Democrats who wanted the Congressional elections to be a referendum on national policy; now the Republicans do.
2) The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has not put enough seats into play.
Here, Democrats point out that the Republic Party needs to convert 39 Democratically-held seats even to score a one-seat majority. They correctly claim that at least five Republican seats are competitive, and further say that Democrats will win at least four of the five. That analysis could be a stretch considering the political climate and further remembering that Republicans still held three of those five seats, even in the last two Democratic wave years.
3) Republicans Can Not Afford to Compete in Enough States to Win.
In comparing the national political party apparatuses along with most individual candidate campaigns, this is a true statement. Outside organizations will be spending heavily though, too, for both parties’ candidates and it is difficult to say just how much or where such expenditures will occur. Still, the Democrats’ point that they enjoy a substantial financial advantage is a legitimate argument. But, in a wave election – if that were to occur later this year (and, it’s still too early to tell) – money becomes less important. The Republicans will have enough in the way of resources to at least get their message before the public.
4) Fatally Flawed Republican Recruits.
The Democrats claim that the Republican Party has not recruited high caliber candidates capable of beating incumbent Members. Overall, considering the political position of the Republicans’ when this election cycle began, GOP candidate recruitment has been strong throughout the country, thus it’s hard to say whether this is an accurate assessment.
5) Republicans’ Tea Party Problem.
The Democrats claim that the conservative Tea Party action found at the grassroots level will cause Republicans problems in November because many activists will vote for third-party candidates. But we can’t ignore the synergy that the Tea Party movement has already created in motivating voters to participate in 2010 elections. Already, we’ve seen in places like Indiana and South Carolina, in particular, where turnout has exploded in the Republican primary—just as it did for Democrats there during their favorable 2008 election cycle. Should this trend continue, Republicans are more likely to be helped if those individuals can successfully paint their Democratic opponents as a fundamental part of the problem(s) that they (the Tea Party activists) are rallying to help solve.
6) NRCC has Yet to Win a Single Tough Election.
While the Democrats’ premise is largely true, the fact that Republicans have won few competitive elections in the recent past has little bearing on the outcome of future elections.
7) Democrats are Prepared.
There is no doubt that this statement is true. Contrasts are made between 2010 and 1994, the latter election year when majority Democrats did not see a political wave coming against them. It is clear that the majority party is well-prepared for this upcoming battle.