It took less than a week of leadership from the unpopular Republican trio of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump for American voters to give Democrats an eight-point edge in the generic Congressional ballot for 2018.
According to the latest PPP poll, “The ascendance of Republicans in Washington has voters already looking toward creating some balance of power in next year’s election. Democrats lead the generic Congressional ballot 48/40. This is partly an outgrowth of Trump’s unpopularity but it’s also a function of GOP Congressional leaders being unpopular in their own right. Paul Ryan has a 33/43 approval rating, and that makes him look positively popular in comparison to Mitch McConnell’s 15/52 rating. Congress as a whole comes in at 15% approval and 65% disapproval.”
Divided government has become the norm in modern American politics, and the reality is that midterm elections have increasingly been viewed as a referendum on the current president. If people are unhappy with the president, the odds are very good that they are going to take some power away from him and hand it to his opposition.
Democrats are worried, as they should be about gerrymandered districts, but gerrymandering is not new. The history of gerrymandering can be traced as far back as 1789.
People should not view the 2018 election as hopeless due to due gerrymandering. There is a human element to electoral behavior that is often overlooked by political scientists and pundits. The supporters of the party in power often become complacent after they have won everything. The emotional advantage, a.k.a. the hunger to win is often with the supporters of the minority party.
The Democratic base is angry after winning the popular presidential vote, but losing the election. If the Democratic Party can fix its organizational issues, Trump is already creating a positive 2018 environment for Democrats.
It has been six days, but Trump/Ryan/McConell are fueling a public backlash that if properly organized will benefit Democrats in 2018.