The Republican House majority could be washed out to sea as 13 more House are shifting towards the Democratic Party.
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball has changed the ranking on 14 House seats, and 13 of the changes are bad for the Republican Party.
According to Sabato’s Crystal Ball:
In many states, Republican-controlled legislatures drew a large number of marginally Republican seats in order to maximize the number of seats the party could control. But a relatively large Democratic wave could inundate even some supposedly safe GOP seats, overcoming a seemingly high floodwall. Whereas a one-point increase over 2012 would result in nine net seats being won by the Democratic presidential nominee, a two-point increase (54% nationally) quickly raises that net advantage to 35 seats. Suddenly Republicans would be defending 50 seats in districts won by the Democratic presidential nominee, and two Democratic-held Romney seats would become slightly more blue than not. This would give Democrats a substantial target list to get to the necessary 30-seat gain they need to take back the lower chamber. And a three-point Democratic increase to 55%, a reasonable upper limit in our eyes, would leave 56 GOP-held seats in blue territory. Overall, Democrats would hold a presidential vote edge in 241 seats. This would be similar to the 2008 presidential vote: That year, Obama won the two-party vote in 242 congressional districts as currently drawn.
That is roughly what our outlook is right now — a small Democratic gain of about 5-10 seats — but as we showed earlier, the presidential math could change that calculation, swelling Democratic gains. On the flip side, Republicans still have a chance to hold Democrats to single-digits gains. A Republican net gain seems exceedingly unlikely at this point, but in this crazy cycle one cannot completely rule it out with seven months to go.
Democrats need to capture 30 seats to take back the House. The path to a net 30 seat gain is narrow, but with Republicans dead set on nominating an extremist presidential candidate; the odds are increasing that Democrats will gain more than the baseline of 5-10 seats.
If Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the Republican nominee, there is a good chance that Hillary Clinton could add to the Democratic House gains by blowing out Trump or Cruz. Straight ticket voting is placing the 56 Republican-held House seats in districts that President Obama carried in 2012.
The conditions are ripe for a Democratic wave. Hillary Clinton only needs to increase the Democratic percentage of the popular vote by 3 points to put Democrats in a prime position to take back the House. Nearly all of the focus has been on the presidential race and the battle for the US Senate, but Republicans could see their House majority gutted if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is the party’s nominee.
The extremism of the Republican primary campaign has triggered a backlash against all Republican candidates up and down the ballot. While it is unlikely that Democrats could capture all 30 seats that they need in 2016, the idea that it is even possible shows how the election could be shifting towards the Democrats.
If Trump triggers a Democratic wave, the dreams of Democrats could come true. The tea party House Republicans could be swept out of office and sanity could return to the Congress in the form of a Democratic majority.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association