The Conversation

"Tea Party Wave" Responsible for GOP Strength in the House

The Washington establishment GOP might want to re-think it's ongoing war against it's own so called 'Tea Party' base. It's that very thing USA Today credits for the GOP having such a strong hand in the House, it's broadly assumed Democrats have no chance of taking control.

In 2012, congressional district lines were redrawn, as is constitutionally required every 10 years, based on population shifts. Republicans had the upper hand in many states after the GOP won control of governorships and state legislatures following the 2010 Tea Party wave.

Ironically, while many believe the GOP is erring in alienating it's own base so significantly, a lack of enthusiasm across the Democrat's own base may be the Republican's biggest asset going into the 2014 mid-terms.

To Democrats' detriment, their voters are less likely to show up in midterm elections than Republicans' older and whiter base. To Democrats' 2014 peril, this year is on track to maintain that trend.

"I am absolutely sure (turnout) will be lower than 2010 or 2006," says Curtis Gans, an expert on voter turnout. While Gans is more bullish on Democrats' prospects than most election handicappers, he also maintains that Democrats can't take back the House this year.

In order to take back the House, Democrats would need a "wave" election in which one party enjoys dramatic political gains. But there is no wave on the horizon, largely because of the president's unpopularity. There have been only four times in the past two decades in which the House saw a net seat change in the double digits. In those four election years — 1994, 2006, 2008 and 2010 — the wave was fueled by backlash against the incumbent president's party.

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