If you are surprised at what President Donald Trump is doing or how he is behaving or what he is prioritizing, you shouldn’t be. This is what he was doing, what he was saying, and how he was acting throughout the 2016 campaign. On some topics, he has been espousing the same rhetoric for years and years.
Democrats have to be happy and relieved by the results of Tuesday's primaries: they appear to have avoided getting "locked out" of California's top-two primaries, advancing candidates to the November ballot in all of the seven GOP seats they're targeting (although in several districts, they didn't avert catastrophe by much). And in New Jersey, Democrats' top recruits comfortably won their primaries in two key GOP-held open seats.
With President Trump's job approval ratings up, the economy humming and the congressional ballot tightening, it no longer looks as dire out there for GOP. Some, like Washington Post’s Michael Scherer, argue that “shifts in the national mood raise the possibility that an anticipated electoral wave could flatten into a ripple.”
Democrats' route to the House majority runs through California more than any other state. Nationally, they need to win 23 GOP seats to win the chamber, and in California alone, there are seven Republican incumbents sitting in seats Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Four of those seven seats include at least a piece of Orange County, which in 2016 voted for a Democrat for president for the first time since 1936.
Next week the all-important California primary takes place. Most of the media attention, however, has not been on issues or candidates, but instead on the possible repercussions of the still relatively new top-two primary system. The worry among Democrats is that multiple Democratic candidates in some congressional districts will split the vote, allowing two Republicans to proceed to the November ballot.
As the November election approaches, forecasts of the outcome in the House have evolved. No doubt, the uncertainties will continue. But little attention has been given to the implications of the growing possibility that the House majority could be razor-thin, for one party or the other. That, in turn, could result in a chaotic handling of the House’s customary first decision and vote—the selection of the Speaker.
Marginal improvement in President Trump’s job approval ratings and a shrinking Democratic advantage on the national generic ballot has spooked a lot of Democrats and cheered up a lot of Republicans. What once looked like a huge tsunami that threatened to demolish the GOP in the House (and maybe in the Senate), may now be more of a moderate wave. Yet, a quick round of check-ins with smart political operatives on both sides found that Democrats remained bullish and Republicans pessimistic (though maybe a bit less so than they’ve been previously) about the November elections.
After a rough start to year, House Republicans are suddenly feeling less pessimistic about their fall prospects. At the "macro" level, robust economic data and positive developments on the Korean peninsula have helped lift President Trump's approval rating to 42 percent, his best mark in over a year.
Given the warped time-space continuum in which those of us in DC live – a flood of news, tweets, and leaks makes each day feel like a week – it may be hard to comprehend ‘real’ time. So, let me help out. We are less than six months – 173 days – from the midterm elections.
So, it’s a good time to check in on what we know – and still don’t know – about how the midterms are shaping up.
Trump and the GOP are in a better place than they were this fall. The question is whether it is good enough to hold the House?
Lots of folks are throwing around the phrase, “Year of the Woman,” to describe the 2018 election. And, understandably so. Everywhere you look, it seems, a woman is introducing herself as a candidate for Congress.