Reality: Democrats Won't Win Back the House

Reality: Democrats Won't Win Back the House

Last year, Nancy Pelosi told ABC News that the Democrats had a “very good chance” to win back the House in this Fall’s election. I didn’t really pay much attention to it at the time (it was right in the middle of WeinerGate) because it was so outrageously unlikely that I chalked it up as something she simply needed to tell herself at night. Something to make the nightmares go away. 

Now, I totally understand that a leader needs to keep their members motivated. Admitting that in was very unlikely they could retake the House isn’t a great motivator for Democrats. And, while Pelosi did should upbeat in her prediction, it was bit tempered as well:

“We just take it, as I say to the members, one day, one good day, one good week, one good month, one good quarter at a time,” said Pelosi, D-Calif., in an interview for ABC News’ Subway Series with Jonathan Karl.

Still, over the past year, I’ve seen otherwise clear-headed people actually take this possibility seriously. I generally let it go, because you always want your opposition to be a bit delusional. Well, The Hill, today finally threw cold water on Pelosi’s boast and reported that, based on several recent developments, it is very unlikely the Democrats could retake the House. 

Democratic hopes of recapturing the House are dimming as a series of race-by-race setbacks and economic uncertainty suggest that the 25 seats they need to net might be out of reach.

The Democrats, actually, probably need more like 35 seats to be assured of control. Because of the Dem’s shellacking in 2010, the GOP controlled redistricting in a number of key states. It is likely the GOP will pick up an additional 8-12 seats due to new district lines. That simply isn’t going to happen. 

Even if Obama reversed his recent polling slide and managed to win reelection, it is highly unlikely he would be able to bring down-ballot candidates along with him, as he did in 2008. Especially since most Democrat candidates aren’t exactly running to embrace Obama or his policies. In the recent special election in Arizona, the Democrat candidate had to explicitly distance himself from both Obama and Obamacare. 

If, as most indications suggest, the Presidential race is razor-close, the Democrats will likely be in worse shape to retake the House and may even lose seats to Republicans. If Obama were to win reelection if will likely be a vote against Romney rather than another hope and change bender from 08. In that event, voters will probably be more likely to vote for Republicans down-ballot, to serve as a check on Obama. 

Whatever the outcome of the Presidential race, the Democrats have no hope to win back the House. The Hill was simply the first to deliver the news. 


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