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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Can Dems Break Second Mid term Jinx and Win House Control?

From Ed O’Keefe’s WaPo article “House Democrats plot strategy against long odds to win back chamber“:

…Democrats are likely to crow about how House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) relied overwhelmingly on Democrats to approve an extension of federal borrowing authority. Just 28 Republicans voted for the measure, joined by all but two voting Democrats.
“This feels like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ — totally upside down,” said Rep Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “The majority is supposed to be the party that moves us forward because they run the ship.
“If Republicans shirk their responsibility as the majority party in the House of Representatives, we’re ready to be responsible, we’re ready to lead,” he added.
Rep. Jim Larson (D-Conn.), who preceded Becerra as caucus chairman, said that Democratic unity will give voters a clear choice this year. “More years of obstruction or at least two more years of a presidency where there’s a shot to get something done,” he said.

Not a bad pitch. Still winning 17 or more seats in the House during an Administration’s second midterm election has proven to be a daunting challenge. O’Keefe didn’t discuss the possibility of an anti-incumbent wave, which would help Dems in the House, while hurting them in the Senate. Nor did he get into the Democrat’s growing edge in ground game voter-targeting, demographic transformations or recent public opinion trends indicating that high-tuirnout seniors, particularly senior women may be souring on the GOP.
O’Keefe quotes House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who told reporters this week that “GOP divisions and his party’s impressive fundraising totals “give me great optimism that we’re going to win back the House.” While the Koch Brothers may give the GOP a fund-raising edge leading up to election day, it does seem as if Republicans’ internal divisions are on track to widen, rather than narrow.
It’s not like the Republicans can impress voters with their charismatic candidates or creative policy ideas. Indeed, their confidence about keeping a House majority rests almost entirely on historical precedent, continued economic decline and worsening Obamacare problems, as well as denial of their identity as the party of gridlock. Given all of that, a Dem pick-up of 17 House seats doesn’t seem so impossible, especially if Dems get a break or two in the months ahead, such as an economic uptick and an improved image for Obamacare.

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