Monday, August 16, 2021

Democrat Congressional Majority in Jeopardy

 Kiss Pelosi's slim House majority goodbye --- and thank goodness!

At NBC News, "Early indicators suggest Democrats' House majority is in jeopardy":

WASHINGTON — Democrats with proven track records of winning tough districts aren't running for re-election. Republicans are enjoying early fundraising windfalls. And, as Donald Trump and Barack Obama both learned the hard way, midterm elections almost always break against the president's party.

The early indicators that showed Democrats poised to make big gains in Congress four years ago now point the other direction, suggesting that the narrow 220-212 Democratic House majority is in serious danger.

"Based on all factors, you'd have to consider Republicans the early favorites for the House majority in 2022," said David Wasserman, who tracks congressional races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

"But as we found out in 2020, surprises can happen, and it's not a done deal," he said. "Democrats' best hope is that Biden's approval rating stays above 50 percent and that Republicans have a tougher time turning out their voters without Trump on the ballot."

Much remains uncertain about the midterm elections more than a year away — including the congressional districts themselves, thanks to the delayed redistricting process. The Senate, meanwhile, looks like more of a toss-up.

House Democrats think voters will reward them for advancing President Joe Biden's generally popular agenda, which involves showering infrastructure money on virtually every district in the country and sending checks directly to millions of parents. And they think voters will punish Republicans for their rhetoric about the Covid-19 pandemic and the 2020 election.

"Democrats are delivering results, bringing back the economy, getting people back to work, passing the largest middle-class tax cut in history, while Republicans are engaged in frankly violent conspiracy theory rhetoric around lies in service of Donald Trump," said Tim Persico, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

But the challenges Democrats face are real and numerous.

They knew they would face a tough 2022 immediately after 2020, when massive, unexpected GOP gains whittled the Democratic majority to just a handful of seats.

"House Republicans are in a great position to retake the majority," said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, "but we are taking nothing for granted."

Emmer and other Republicans say they think they can continue to press their advantage on divisive issues supported by the "far left" and make hay of rising inflation and crime rates. "We are going to continue to relentlessly hold House Democrats accountable for their socialist agenda," Emmer said.

Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, one of just seven Democrats representing districts Trump won, shocked politicos Wednesday when he announced that he'd "run out of gas" and wouldn't seek a 14th term in Congress.

His rural district had been trending Republican for years. Kind won re-election last year by just about 10,000 votes.

Incumbency is an enormous advantage — well over 90 percent of members of Congress win re-election — and some Democrats worry that lawmakers like Kind who are abandoning swing districts this year are the only ones who can win them...

It's still early, and while I'm very confident Republicans will take control of both chambers, it's still early and risks for the G.O.P. still impossible to calculate.

It's going to be fun, though.

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