Can Democrats Really Win the House?

Republicans currently control the House, the Senate and the White House — a scenario that should give them a complete lock on passing any legislation they choose. But very little has been accomplished so, mainly due to ongoing bickering within the party.

Now we are just over a year away from a midterm election that many hope could toss the Senate back into Democratic control and restore a balance of power in Washington.

But flipping the House to Democratic, too? Between gerrymandered districts and a large GOP majority, no one ever thought such an outcome would be possible in 2018. Of course, that was before the Republican congressmen announced a wave of retirements.

Moderate Republicans are becoming an endangered species in the House, where the Tea Party took over post 2010. The group has been slowly squeezing their more centrist cohorts out of power. Now, a number of these congresspeople are announcing that they would rather leave D.C. than fight against their own party.

“Retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) said one reason he’s not seeking reelection is because of the shift he’s seen in the balance of power between moderate and conservative members of his party,” Talking Points Memo reports. “‘I’ll tell you what, the battle prior to Donald Trump was this: We had the purists versus the pragmatists — and the pragmatists were largely the governing wing of the party, of which I was a part,’ he said on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’ Monday evening. ‘That was the battle, that was the litmus test. Now since Donald Trump has become President, the litmus test is more Trump loyalty — are you loyal enough?’”

Rep. Dent isn’t the only one saying goodbye, either.

Michigan Rep. David Trott and Washington Rep. Dave Reichert both announced their own intentions to “return to the private sector” rather than seek out another term in Congress. Reichert’s district is likely to be an easy Democratic pickup, and Trott’s is believed to be “trending Democrat” as well.

And all of these retirements add to a 2018 landscape that is edging solidly in the Democrats’ favor.

“With 14 months to go before Election Day, the House battleground continues to take shape. Even though there is some uncertainty about what the political climate will look like next fall and whether normal historical midterm trends will hold under President Donald Trump, the House playing field is expanding, almost entirely in the Democrats’ direction,” Roll Call reports. “As we’ve mentioned plenty of times before (and will likely repeat over and over again), history puts the Republican Party at a disadvantage: The president’s party has lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, with an average loss of 33 seats. Democrats need to gain 24 seats next year for a majority.”

The political site adds that, of 15 House races that they have changed the ratings on, 14 are being changed to favor the Democratic party.

Of course, 24 seats is still a long way to go. The New York Times performed a careful analysis of districts that would need to be in play for Congress to truly turn left — and the math is still pretty daunting:

The good news for Democrats is that despite going 0 for 4 in special House elections this spring, the results were consistent with a wave environment: All four races became hotly contested, even though none were thought to be especially competitive. For now, all the Democrats can do is recruit good candidates in as many districts as possible and see which races become competitive in September or October 2018. Republicans, meanwhile, need to make sure that typically safe incumbents are prepared for the worst. In this spring’s special elections, national Republican groups spent millions to prop up candidates in Republican-leaning districts. Republican candidates probably can’t count on the same kind of assistance if the playing field expands to 70 or 80 districts.

Still, there may be one untraditional factor that can boost Democratic turnout: In this upcoming election, flipping the House could actually mean impeaching President Donald Trump.

“The plain political issue is Democrats need 24 House seats to take the House back in 2018,” states conservative pundit John Podhoretz. “The table is being set pretty nicely for them to get that number. And if they get that number or 10 more than that number, he’s going to get impeached. I’m not saying he’s going to be convicted and thrown out of office—I’m saying that the House will impeach him if Democrats have a 10-seat majority. And if he doesn’t right the ship, he’s writing his own—he’s Clinton in 1998 and 1999, with no recovery possible, Clinton was doing that at a time of explosive economic growth.”

Now if that’s not motivation to win back the House, I don’t know what is.

Photo credit: Kathrin Tausch via Wikimedia commons


Cruel J
Cruel J5 months ago

I'm voting the LESSER of two evils, because LESSER is LESS. Democrats MUST win in 2018.

Aaron F
Past Member 5 months ago

No, they gave up any credibility.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 months ago

If they actually start listening to the left leaning progressives instead of trying to be mainstream middle of the road republicans people would vote for them.

Joan E
Joan E5 months ago

Lately, every open seat that comes up has been going to the D side. Chris Christie's VP is going down against a D now.

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E5 months ago

brian f
BOT who voted for Ms. Clinton and the democrats

Brian F
Brian F5 months ago

The problem with the Democrats is they cheated Bernie Sanders out of his primary, lied about the Nevada convention, have moved to the right, become corrupt and corporate owned like the Republicans, and refuse to support progressive policies that we desperately need in this country like single payer universal healthcare, free colleges, a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, and marijuana legalization. The Democrats need to move back to the left on issues, and terminate and replace most of their corporate establishment crooks like Nancy Pelosi, and Diane Feinstein who are extremely wealthy, and refusing to support single payer universal healthcare, because they are bought and paid for by our criminal healthcare industry like the Republicans. We need to replace all the corrupt corporate establishment Democrats like Schummer and Pelosi with honest progressives like Nina Turner, Tulsi Gabbard, Alan Grayson, Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders. Otherwise people won’t vote for the corrupt Democrats, and this fraud Trump will win again in 2020. The Democrats also need to get rid of their extremely unfair super delegate rule, that gives the incumbent over 400 super delegates before even having a challenger.

Carl R
Carl R5 months ago


Dan B
Dan B5 months ago

Herbert C.,
I agree in the long run. However, in the short term, the voters tend to waffle between the two major parties. They run back and forth, from to the other, thinking that the recent ills will somehow be overcome, if we elect the other party into power. The pendulum keeps swinging back and forth, but with every swing back, the Democrats wind up losing more and more.

Herbert C
Herbert C5 months ago

No, it's not very likely. The Dems have lost a lot of their bench of candidates over the last 8 or so years. The sheer number of state legislatures that are trending Republican or have switched to Republican is staggering. This means that whatever the Dems are doing to appeal to independent/purple voters is not working. Unless they change their strategies, merely screaming against Trump won't win enough converts. And counting on Republican retirements sounds like desperation.

Mary B
Mary B5 months ago

Of course the Democrats will get back into power. It's the only way the country can move forward with a 'for the people agenda'. Who wants Nazis , Confederates, big business men, environmental destroyers, ignorant gullible unqualified fools pretending to run our government because they really have nothing to offer except lies, spin and conspiracies. Nobody believes you rightwing people except yourselves. And it's way past time that you deprogram your ridiculous propaganda.