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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


Dionne: How the GOP Became the NRA’s Gun-Worshipping Toadies

Some excerpts from E. J. Dionne, Jr.’s column, “Gun absolutists don’t trust democracy because they know they’re losing” at The Washington Post in response to the National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis:

That the Republican Party is now wholly owned by the gun lobby was witnessed not only by the eagerness of Pence, Trump and former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson to pander in person at the gathering self-described as “14 acres of guns & gear.” Other would-be 2024 GOP nominees — among them, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) — felt obligated to bow before the gun worshipers by video.

The nonsense floated in Indianapolis — based on the idea that our national addiction to high-powered weaponry has nothing to do with America’s unique mass shooting problem — speaks to a deep ailment in our democracy. It has both partisan and (perverse) philosophical roots.

Dionne argues that “The GOP’s conversion to gun absolutism is the heart of the problem. But politics doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It often follows from cultural and moral innovations.” He notes that the NRA became “engulfed by extreme ideologues” in 1977, and has since then taken America and the U.S. Supreme Court down “a dangerous new path.” Also,

For roughly four decades, American conservatism has identified firearms as a marker of a manly rejection of urban cosmopolitanism and gun ownership as a right more important than any other….It comes down to a variant of the old Maoist slogan: All liberty grows out of the barrel of a gun. When Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told a White House rally before the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, “Let’s have trial by combat,” he was speaking for a sentiment that runs deep in the gun rights movement….

Undercutting the ability of voters to cast ballots is another habit of those who privilege the Second Amendment over all the others. As Politico’s Kathy Gilsinan reported, Tennessee’s election laws allow gun permits as voter IDs but not college student identifications. There is no waiting time to buy a gun, but citizens have to register at least 30 days before an election. “It is absolutely easier to get a gun than to vote in Tennessee,” Democratic state Sen. Charlane Oliver told Gilsinan…

The good news in this story is that radical opposition to sensible gun laws is not embedded in the American character. It’s the product of an ideology that overtook a less dogmatic form of conservatism and seized control of a political party.

In his conclusion, Dionne writes, “With Americans increasingly angry over mass shootings — the latest outrage came Saturday with the killing of four at a teen’s birthday party in Alabama — the era of gun absolutism could finally be over, if the popular will on guns is allowed to prevail. But this depends on defending the democracy that so many, at the Indianapolis gathering and in Tennessee, deeply mistrust.”

Elizabeth Warren: Better Economic ‘Modeling’ Urgently Needed for Child Care, Social Investments

The following article excerpt by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is cross-posted from The American Prospect:

If you’re wondering why the U.S. has failed so miserably in developing a workable child care and early-childhood education system, consider the role of economic modeling.

In 2021, when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its much-anticipated score for the cost of the child care provisions in the Build Back Better Act, it produced one headline number: $381.5 billion. This was what CBO estimated as the amount of money the government would lay out for child care.

But that budget score badly missed the mark on the net cost of the program. It did not account for any of the savings predicted by reams of academic research on the long-term economic benefits of child care. Nothing about how kids with high-quality early care do better in school, stay out of trouble, and have higher lifetime earnings. Nothing about the increased tax revenues generated by mamas and daddies who could now work full-time. Nothing about the mountains of data that show that when mothers are held out of the workforce in their early years, their lifetime earnings and even their security in retirement are seriously undercut—something universal child care could reverse. And nothing about the impact of higher wages for child care workers—wages that would mean many of those workers would be paying more taxes and wouldn’t need SNAP, Medicaid, housing supplements, and other help offered to the lowest-paid people in the country. In other words, according to CBO, investing in our children and filling a wheelbarrow with $381.5 billion in cash (a big wheelbarrow) and setting it on fire would have exactly the same impact on our national budget and our nation.

To every CEO of a Fortune 500 company or owner of a small neighborhood restaurant, budget scoring like this must sound like a crazy way of doing business. After all, investments don’t just have costs—they also have benefits. That’s why companies invest in things like building factories, converting to green energy, or offering employee benefits, even if they have to book a big cost up front. Those corporate executives don’t take on big-ticket projects out of the goodness of their hearts; they take them on because they want to boost profits, retain workers, and improve the company’s long-term outlook.

(Click here for the rest of the article)

Is the Democratic Party Too Far Left? Hughes and Teixeira Debate Rep. Bowman and Garza

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from Intelligence2 Debates:

Is the Democratic Party Too Far Left?

I participated in an Intelligence Squared debate on this question. On the affirmative: me and Coleman Hughes. On the negative: Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. See who you think won!

“Defund the police. Abolish ICE. Redistribute the wealth. These are but a few of the one-liners that have emanated from the liberal wing of the Democratic party in recent years. With the emergence of “The Squad” in 2018 – or what began as four Democratic congresswomen who sought to push their party further left – liberal lawmakers have grown more prevalent in recent election cycles. And with just a slim 51-49 Democrat majority in the Senate, progressives are now eyeing 2024 as a way to strengthen their broader influence. By doing so, some say, the party risks aligning itself with ever more extreme politics, alienating moderate voices, and straying from what made it successful in the past. When President Bill Clinton was in office, they note, only 25 percent of Democrats described themselves as liberal; another 25 percent called themselves conservative, while an overwhelming 48 percent were self-described moderates. The equating of liberalism with Democratic policies, they argue, is a recent and dangerous trend, which makes governing more difficult.

Others argue that the party is finally poised to make good what constitutes the reemergence of the political left, long stymied by the compromising influence of Washington and beltway politics. What’s more, they argue, this renewed focus on issues such as race, climate, income inequality has not only begun to address in earnest issues once paid only superficial notice, but is also electrifying the nation’s progressive base in ways that can win elections.

It is in this context that we debate the following question: Is The Democratic Party Too Far Left?
Arguing Yes: Coleman Hughes (Conversations with Coleman), Ruy Teixeira (American Enterprise Institute)
Arguing No: Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Alicia Garza (Co-founder of Black Lives Matter)
Emmy award-winning journalist John Donvan moderates.”

Click on the Intelligence2 Debates link to hear the podcast.

Teixeira: Republicans Really Are the Party of the Working Class. Why Doesn’t That Bother the Democrats More?

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

Republicans are, in a strict quantitative sense, the party of the American working class. That is, they currently get more working-class (noncollege) votes than the Democrats. That was true in 2022 when Republicans carried the nationwide working-class House vote by 13 points. That was true in 2020, when Trump carried the nationwide working-class presidential vote by 4 points over Biden. Moreover, modeled estimates by the States of Change project indicate that Trump carried the working-class vote in 35 out of 50 states, including in critical states for the Democrats like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as in states that are slipping away from the party like Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Texas.

Another way of looking at this trend is by Congressional district. Currently Democrats dominate the more affluent districts while Republicans are cleaning up in the poorer districts. Marcy Kaptur, who represents Ohio’s working-class 9thdistrict and is the longest-serving female member of the House in American history, says of this pattern:

You could question yourself and say, well, the blue districts are the wealthiest districts, so it shows that the Democrats are doing better to lift people’s incomes. The other way you could look at it is: how is it possible that Republicans are representing the majority of people who struggle? How is that possible?

How indeed. Kaptur has a two page chart that arrays Congressional districts from highest median income to lowest with partisan control color-coded. The first page is heavily dominated by blue but the second, poorer page is a sea of red. You can access the chart here. It’s really quite striking. Overall, Republicans represent 152 of the 237 Congressional seats where the district median income trails the national figure.

The same pattern of Republican domination of the working-class vote appears to be developing as we move toward 2024. The latest poll for which an overall college/noncollege split is available is the March Harvard/Harris poll. That poll, in which Trump has a small lead over Biden in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, has Trump carrying the working-class vote by 10 points. In a DeSantis-Biden matchup, DeSantis has a similar lead over Biden and an identical 10-point advantage among working-class voters. (There is a slightly more recent Quinnipiac poll that also includes these 2024 matchups, but the public materials only provide a white college/noncollege split.). Earlier polls from this year—where data are available—replicate this pattern of Trump and DeSantis leading Biden among working-class voters.

Why doesn’t this bother Democrats more? After all, they are America’s party of the left and were historically America’s party of the working class. I think part of the reason is that the largest part of the working class, the white working class, is now viewed quite negatively throughout much of the party. They can be put, as Hillary Clinton unforgettably phrased it, in a “basket of deplorables”—“racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic”—and therefore justly ignored by right-thinking Democrats.

Democrats also comfort themselves that they still have very strong support among the nonwhite working class. But of course strong support among a sector of the working class does not make Democrats the party of the overall working class, however much Democrats may wish that to be so. Moreover, in recent elections Democrats’ hold on the nonwhite working class has also been slipping, which is contributing to the Democrats’ widening deficit among the working class as a whole.

In addition, the very supposition that lies behind the dismissal of the white working class is itself suspect. A recent column by Tom Edsall highlights the work of political scientists Justin Grimmer, William Marble and Cole Tanigawa-Lau on estimating the contribution of voting blocs to Trump’s support in 2016 and 2020. In a recent paper, they write:

Decomposing the change in support observed in the ANES [American National Election Study] data, we show that respondents in 2016 and 2020 reported more moderate views, on average, than in previous elections. As a result, Trump improved the most over previous Republicans by capturing the votes of a larger number of people who report racially moderate views.

Grimmer expanded on this point in Edsall’s article:

Our findings provide an important correction to a popular narrative about how Trump won office. Hillary Clinton argued that Trump supporters could be placed in a “basket of deplorables.” And election-night pundits and even some academics have claimed that Trump’s victory was the result of appealing to white Americans’ racist and xenophobic attitudes. We show this conventional wisdom is (at best) incomplete. Trump’s supporters were less xenophobic than prior Republican candidates’, less sexist, had lower animus to minority groups, and lower levels of racial resentment. Far from deplorables, Trump voters were, on average, more tolerant and understanding than voters for prior Republican candidates.

To say this is not how most Democrats think about the Trump-voting white working class is to considerably understate the case. Yet that is what the Grimmer et. al. data say. Notably, the other academics canvassed by Edsall can find little fault with their analysis, despite the post-2016 role of political science in cementing the conventional wisdom on racially resentful Trump supporters. One might summarize their reaction as “now that I think about it, these guys are probably right.” Better late than never I suppose.

All this suggests the Democrats should not be quite so blasé about no longer being the party of the American working class. That they are not represents a real failing on their part, not a noble stand against the barbarians at the gates. Much in American politics going forward will depend on whether Republicans can further strengthen their hold on the working class or whether Democrats can reclaim some of their lost support and become, once again, the party of America’s working class.

Consider what might happen if Republicans do make further progress among working-class voters. Between 2016 and 2020, the Democratic advantage among the nonwhite working class slipped quite a bit while the Democratic deficit among white working-class voters actually improved slightly. But what if both parts of the working class moved in tandem against the Democrats in 2024 and beyond?

This can be tested using States of Change data. Working-class preferences by detailed subgroup (race, gender, age) nationally and within states for 2020 were estimated and then moved toward the GOP by 10 margin points (+5 Republican/-5 Democratic). These preferences (with all else from 2020 held constant) were then applied to the projected structure of the eligible electorate in 2024 and subsequent elections.

In 2024, this shift toward Republicans among the overall working class produces a solid 312-226 GOP electoral vote majority. The states that move into the GOP column are Michigan, Pennsylvania and Nevada by 3 points, Arizona and Georgia by 4 points and Wisconsin by 5 points. Republicans also carry the popular vote, albeit by just a point.

Thereafter, the GOP starts to lose the popular vote but continues to win the electoral vote through 2040. If that doesn’t concentrate the mind among Democrats, I don’t know what will.

GOP’s Weak Response to Mass Shootings Shows Which Party Is Really ‘Soft on Crime’

From “Republicans don’t really care about crime — and the Nashville shooting proves it” by Charles F. Coleman, Jr. at MSNBC Opinion:

Just 6 months ago, high-profile midterm election races pushed the conversation about America’s crime problem into the national spotlight stage. GOP challengers were parroting talking points around a sensationalized narrative that painted Democrats as anti-police and ultimately responsible for rising crime rates. This, despite the fact that many of the areas where violent crime is highest across the United States are in red states and, more specifically, GOP-led districts. But there was another missing piece in the conversation: mass shootings….Republicans are very protective of their guns — more than they are of the children and educators forced to leave in fear of these weapons.

….Finally, of course, is how easy it is to access weapons in this country and, specifically, how easy it is to access and abuse assault weapons. GOP House members proudly wore AR-15 lapel pins to espouse their commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights during the State of the Union. Do they remain proud today? Probably. Worse, some conservatives have already gone on the offense, stoking fear and attempting to score political points by characterizing President Joe Biden and others who advocate for sensible gun legislation as “gun grabbers.”  This despite a majority of American voters being in favor of some type of assault weapons ban.

Coleman, a former New York prosecutor, notes further, “The bravado and self-righteous rage is designed to deflect the conversation away from real solutions. American lawmakers appear incapable of loosening the chokehold that the gun lobby maintains on the GOP, preferring to pacify loyalists and gun nuts.” Further,

We have known ever since Sandy Hook that the double-speak around school shootings in America is engagingly duplicitous. No amount of bloodshed appears capable of moving the needle — at least in the Republican Party, which now controls the House and almost half of the Senate (to say nothing of the legislative bodies in states like Tennessee). These men and women refuse to take meaningful steps to protect our youth.

And importantly, we now understand even more clearly that the feigned concern about crime that overtook the nation’s airwaves in the summer of 2022 was just a passing moment for the right. Crime stats are only worth mobilizing around when they fit a specific narrative, namely that Democrats are soft on criminals.

Because mass murder against children is an inevitable cost of doing business….Because Republicans don’t really care about crime, or about keeping our kids safe.

Coleman concludes, “And that’s why this keeps happening.”

In 2022 Congress did pass the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which expands background checks for individuals under the age of 21 purchasing firearms and prevents individuals who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony in dating relationships from purchasing firearms for five years. But a large majority of  Republicans opposed this ‘bipartisan’ legislation. Meanwhile President Biden has taken some bold initiatives on his own, including a March 14th executive order increasing background checks and expanding  “red flag” laws.

President Biden and other Democrats have proposed legislation “banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for all gun sales, requiring safe storage of firearms, closing the dating violence restraining order loophole, and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.” Thus far Republicans have blocked all such proposals.

Teixeira: White College Graduates – Dems’ New BFF

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from The Liberal Patriot:

It’s not a secret that Democrats have been doing ever better with white college graduate voters, even as they have been slipping with nonwhite and working-class voters. Between the 2012 and 2020 elections—two elections with essentially identical popular vote margins—Democrats’ performance among white college graduates improved by 16 points, while declining by 18 points among nonwhite working-class voters.

Less well-appreciated is how polarized white college graduates have become in their political views as these trends have unfolded. Patrick Ruffini’s analysis of data from the 2020 Cooperative Election Study (CES), an academic survey with over 60,000 respondents, demonstrates this vividly. Across 50 policy items, white college Democrats are highly likely to give consistently liberal responses, while white college Republicans give consistently conservative responses.

Ruffini explains:

[G]iving the conservative or liberal answer more than 75 percent of the time places you in [ideological] camps. Otherwise, you’re in a non-ideological middle ground. The 75 percent cutoff is an important one. Above we find Assad-like margins for Donald Trump or Joe Biden in 2020 of more than 98 percent. If you’re above this threshold, you’re not persuadable in the slightest. In the middle, your vote is basically up-for-grabs, progressing from one candidate to other in sliding scale fashion according to your policy views.

This approach leaves relatively few white college voters—38 percent—in an ideological middle ground where their responses are significantly mixed across the 50 items. In contrast, black, Hispanic and Asian voters are much less polarized, including within education groups, and have far more voters of mixed orientation in their ranks. This middle ground includes 83 percent of black voters, 77 percent of Hispanic voters, 69 percent of Asian voters, and even 58 percent of white non-college voters, despite the fact that they skew conservative.

Putting this together with the trend data, this means that, as the Democrats have picked up more white college voters, they are adding many more ideologically consistent liberals, while shedding less ideological nonwhites with mixed policy preferences. Strikingly, among the most liberal voters—those who agree with liberal positions more than 90 percent of the time—there are 20 times more white college than black voters.

These developments can only push the party toward being uncompromisingly and uniformly liberal in its policy orientation and that is indeed what we’ve seen. Moreover, the cultural outlook of highly liberal white college graduates, given the heavy weight of this group in the Democratic party infrastructure and in sympathetic media, nonprofits, advocacy groups, foundations, and educational institutions, has inevitably come to define the culture associated with the party.

Here are some other findings that underscore the salience of Ruffini’s analysis:

  1. Among white Democrats, there has been an astonishing 37-point increase in professed liberalism between 1994 and today according to Gallup. White Democrats are now far more liberal than their black and Hispanic counterparts, who are overwhelmingly moderate to conservative.
  2. White liberals are now more liberal on many racial issues than black and Hispanic voters.
  3. White liberals now outnumber the nonwhite working class among Democratic voters.
  4. Recent Pew data found that of the 21 policy priorities tested, protecting the environment and dealing with global climate change ranked 14th and 17th, respectively, on the public’s priority list. But among liberal Democrats, these issues ranked first and third, respectively. The story was basically the same among white college-educated Democrats who, as noted, are heavily dominated by liberals.
  5. Gallup data indicate that two-thirds of white college Democrats are liberal while 70 percent of black working-class and two-thirds of Hispanic working-class Democrats are moderate or conservative.
  6. By 13 percentage points, white college liberals disagree that there are just two genders, male and female. But moderates and conservatives from the nonwhite working class agree by 31 points that there are in fact just two genders.
  7. White college graduate liberals support providing government financed health insurance to immigrants who enter the country illegally by 22 points while this is opposed by 16 points among the moderate and conservative nonwhite working class.
  8. On granting reparations to the descendants of slaves and reducing the size of the US military, white college liberals are solidly in favor, while nonwhite working-class moderates and conservatives are not.

While the Democratic party is a complex entity, it really is true that it has increasingly become a party whose positions and image are defined by the burgeoning ranks of white college-educated liberals who have made the party their political home. In the process, it has become much harder for many working-class voters, white and nonwhite, to feel comfortable in the party, given their more mixed policy views.

This is a problem. As Ruffini remarks:

[White college graduates are] less than 30 percent of the American electorate. If everything seems polarized these days, it’s probably because of the circles you run in. Not everyone is like this. And the people that aren’t—the multiracial working class—are wildly underrepresented in political media.

True that. Democrats would be well-advised to look past the political media they typically consume and set the controls for the heart of the multiracial working class. That’s the way—the only way—out of the current political stalemate.

Teixeira: Dems Make Three Risky Bets

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his Washington Post column:

Democrats are making three big bets as they prepare for the 2024 election. None are certain to pay off.

First, Democrats are assuming — or hoping — that Donald Trump, Mr. MAGA himself, will be the Republican nominee. Given the solid 30 percent of GOP voters that back the former president, this calculation isn’t crazy, but it’s hardly a sure thing. Trump’s popularity with Republican voters has fallen, and influential Republican donors, operatives and politicians are turning against him. After stinging losses in 2020 and 2022, Republicans are desperate for a winner.

The uncomfortable fact for Democrats is that other Republican candidates will present a more favorable age contrast to President Biden and, by virtue of not being Trump, will be much harder to depict as unhinged extremists. Partisan Democrats, especially partisan liberals, might well believe that all GOP candidates are exactly the same and exactly as evil. But they should not mistake their own views for those of ordinary voters.

Nathan Gonzales: House Battleground Looks Split

From “Battleground looks evenly split in first House ratings for 2024: Biden would have won nine of 10 districts with Toss-up races” by Nathan Gonzales at Roll Call: 

While it took more than a year for the 2022 House battleground to come into focus because of redistricting, this cycle is less complicated. With district lines in place in the vast majority of states and one cycle worth of election results, it’s easier to identify most of the competitive seats where both parties will be spending their resources this cycle.

But Republicans’ narrow 222-213 majority means there’s still plenty of uncertainty about which party will control the House in 2025.

The initial House battleground comprises 66 competitive races, with each party defending 33 of the vulnerable seats. The symmetry is unintentional, and not necessary for nonpartisan analysis (remember the imbalance of the Senate battleground, where Democrats are defending eight seats and Republicans none). Rather, it’s more the result of an evenly divided Congress in an evenly divided country.

Technically, Democrats need a net gain of five seats for a majority. But that number obscures the added disadvantage Democrats will have if Republicans are able to draw new, friendlier congressional maps in Ohio and North Carolina. (Individual ratings in those two states’ 29 districts will be done after there’s more clarity on the redistricting situation and new maps.)

Joe Biden carried 11 of the 12 initial toss-up races in 2022, giving Democrats a path to the majority assuming the Democratic presidential nominee can match or exceed Biden’s 2020 performance. Democratic House candidates will likely need to replicate 2022, when they overperformed and won the vast majority of toss-up races.

It looks like Republicans have a narrow initial advantage to hold the House, but the top of the ticket will matter once again. In 2020, only 16 districts voted for a presidential candidate from one party and a House candidate from another. And just 23 of 435 seats voted for one party’s presidential nominee in 2020 and then the other party’s House nominee in 2022.

Gonzales also provides lists of district leanings for the following categories: Toss-Up; Tilt Democratic; Lean Democratic; Likely Democratic; and the same categories for the Republicans.

Guy Cecil on Dems’ Long-Term Strategies

Guy Cecil, who is stepping down after eight years as chairman of Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA, talks with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about the long term strategies the Republican Party is using to change the structure of American politics in their favor, and what Democrats need to do to counter and match those strategies.

Walter: Three Factors Could Decide Control of Congress

Amy Walter takes a look at the 2024 election possibilities and pinpoints “Three Key Factors for Control of Congress” at The Cook Political Report. An excerpt:


(The Senate version): If you define history as the last two presidential cycles, Republicans are in the driver’s seat in 2024. Since 2016, only one Senate candidate, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, won in a state the presidential nominee of their party lost. If (recent) history repeats, Democrats would likely lose at least three seats — West Virginia, Montana and Ohio.

If your version of history extends to 2012, Democrats have a path to holding their majority. That year, six candidates (five Democrats and one Republican), won in states that the presidential nominee of their party did not. It also happens that two of those Democratic “overachievers” — Senators Joe Manchin and Jon Tester — are on the ballot this time around. Today, the question is whether Manchin (should he run for re-election), Tester as well as Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (whose state has since gone red) have the right combination of skill, luck and connection with voters to overcome the gravitational pull of polarization.

(House version). As my colleague David Wasserman has noted, the House hasn’t flipped in a presidential cycle since 1952 and hasn’t flipped to the party occupying the White House since 1948, when Harry Truman barnstormed against a Republican “do nothing Congress.” This has been the case even when the number of seats needed to flip was as small as it is this cycle. In 2000, Democrats needed just five seats to gain the majority in the House. They ended up gaining just one.

Turnout Turn-around 

One reason the House has only changed hands in midterm years is that lower turnout midterms tend to benefit the “out party,” while turnout in a presidential cycle is more evenly balanced. However, four straight cycles of higher-than-normal turnout and a more polarized electorate than ever have led to more unpredictable outcomes in the House. In 2020, Democrats were expected to pick up seats, but instead lost 12 and came within 30,000 votes of losing their majority. In 2022, Republicans underperformed expectations, winning their narrow majority by just 6,000 votes.

One way to look at the outcome of 2022 is to say that but for Democratic “underperformance” in dark blue states like California, Oregon and California, Democrats would have held the House. According to Wasserman’s calculations, House candidates in New York underperformed Biden’s 2020 margins on average by 13 points. In California and Oregon, Democratic House candidates underperformed Biden by 7.6 points.

Today, in New York and California alone, there are 11 GOP-held districts that Biden carried in 2020. Of those 11, five are districts Biden carried by double digits. In 2024, the thinking goes, “drop off” Democratic voters will return and, voila, there’s an 11-seat gain right there.

But, alas, it’s not that simple. The most existential threat to House Democrats is redistricting. As my colleague David Wasserman has expertly documented, Republican redraws in North Carolina and Ohio could put at least three to four Democrats in serious danger.

Another factor to consider is Democrats’ “overperformance” in 2022’s battleground states like Michigan and Ohio where abortion and weak GOP candidates helped juice Democratic turnout and dampen GOP enthusiasm.

In Michigan, for example, Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin outperformed Biden’s margin in her Lansing-based district by five points. Democrat Dan Kildee won his 8th CD by 10 points, an eight-point improvement over Biden’s margin in that CD in 2020. In the Grand Rapids-based 3rd CD, Hillary Scholten outran Biden’s margin by five points.

In Ohio, Emilia Sykes won her Akron-based district by six points, a three-point improvement over Biden’s showing in that CD in 2020.

What happens when/if those less-than-enthusiastic Republican-leaning voters show up in 2024?

In 2020, for example, Pew’s verified voter survey found that 13 percent of the overall electorate that year had not voted in 2018. Those “midterm drop-off” voters ultimately supported Trump by 8 points.

The Republican Party has become more reliant on non-college white (and increasingly non-white non-college) voters. Those voters, however, are also the most likely to show up to vote only in presidential elections.

Intra-party Headaches

(GOP version): My colleagues David Wasserman and Jessica Taylor recently wrote about the challenges Republican leaders face in getting their preferred candidates through contentious primaries. On the Senate side, Taylor highlights five states — West Virginia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Montana — where potentially complicated primaries could hurt Republican chances of taking back the Senate if a divisive, less broadly-acceptable nominee emerges.

Wasserman looked at five GOP incumbents who are likely to face serious primary opposition from more MAGA-aligned challengers. While none of those five races should be competitive in a general election, “that doesn’t mean, however, that primary contests won’t have an impact on House control. If, for example, Republicans nominate more MAGA-oriented folks in swing/competitive districts like they did in 2022 (WA-03, OH-09), they could give Democrats more opportunities for victories.”

(Democratic version): Sen. Krysten Sinema’s decision to switch from Democrat to independent may have saved *her* a primary, but it’s given Democrats a huge headache. First, and foremost the DSCC and other Democratic allies will have to decide whether to support the official Democratic nominee (likely Rep. Ruben Gallego), or their Senate colleague who, while identifying as an independent, still caucuses with Senate Democrats.

Then there’s the question of what a three-way contest between Sinema, Gallego and a GOP nominee would look like. Recent polling in the state showing Gallego leading in a number of potential scenarios is a bit misleading. After all, unlike his potential challengers (Sinema and failed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake), Gallego hasn’t been hit with millions of dollars of negative advertising. The five-term congressman represents an overwhelmingly Democratic district and has never received less than 75% of the vote. Moreover, it’s likely that Gallego will be attacked not just from Republicans, but from Sinema as well. A messy GOP primary only adds to the uncertainty of how this thing plays out in the fall. And the BIden campaign can’t afford a “Democrats in disarray” scenario in this must-win state either. Overall, it’s just a big mess.

On the House side, there were fewer instances on the Democratic side than the Republican side of extreme or weak candidates defeating the stronger, more ideologically-aligned candidate in 2022. Even so, Democrats would likely be short just four seats instead of five had Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader not lost his primary to a more progressive Democrat.

Competitive open seats to watch on the Democratic side include CA-47, where Democratic Rep. Katie Porter is retiring to run for Senate, and MI-07, where Rep. Elissa Slotkin is also running for Senate.

Earlier in her post, Walter notes that issues like an inflation surge could make a difference in many races.  We can add the possibilities of game-changing events near election day in particular states or districts, such as a scandal, mass shooting or environmental disaster. Barring any such events, the chances for a flip in party control of both houses of congress look pretty good — unless either party wins the presidency in a landslide.