Midterm elections are generally disastrous for the ruling party. As a general rule, the average midterm elections result in the majority party losing 25 seats in the House. This is problematic, as an average midterm election will result in Speaker Paul Ryan ceding power to the new leader of the Democratic-Majority House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
However, if the 2016 election cycle taught us anything, it was that modern politics are far from average. The current governing system, with a Republican White House, Congress, and a superb new Supreme Court Justice, wasn’t the predicted outcome of the last presidential race. That said, there are a few key factors that should have the left worried and the right hopeful about the elections in November.
The first is President Trump. While he remains an unpopular president to the left, the President’s popularity continues to climb, topping 50% this week according to Rasmussen polls. A president popular with moderate republicans and independents is critical for turnut that will vote for the party of the president. The President is not without his faults, however. President Trump is scandal prone, and runs an administration with high employee turnover. But the presence of a Chief Executive growing in popularity will benefit republicans in the midterms. Presidential popularity is a small piece of the midterms that has drastic ramifications on election results.
The second is policy enacted by Congress. While the recent spending bill contains a lot of garbage budget items, like funding Planned Parenthood, and omits funding for border security, the republicans have scored massive of legislative victories since President Trump’s inauguration. The biggest example that comes to mind is the GOP tax cuts, passed last year, are a huge victory for the people and for the republican party. The Brookings Institute, which is a left-leaning think tank, concluded empirically that the revised tax code delivered tax cuts to 80% of Americans, while raising taxes on less that 10% of the population. The republicans also managed to increase military spending and military pay in the recent budget deal, another policy objective. The democrats are, in my opinion, continuing to undermine themselves as well. Independent voters are getting tired of divisive rhetoric and political correctness, which takes its toll on democratic polling. Moreover, the shutdown of the government by the democrats with no legislative concessions given by the republican majority doesn’t look good on the party’s resume. GOP candidates running for reelection have strong legislative victories to tout, and republicans that are challenging incumbent democrats in competitive districts have a real chance to win.
But by far the biggest way the democrats can lose big in 2018 is if they continue with their rhetoric on the 2nd amendment. Since the tragic events at the Parkland shooting, the left’s message on guns has moved from the more moderate message of “restrict the right of dangerous people to get guns” to the extreme “repeal the 2nd amendment”. I promise you, nothing will motivate apathetic republicans, independents, or gun-owning democrats to vote in the midterms than a campaign message of removing the fundamental right to self-preservation from the Constitution. So please, democrats, keep talking. It’s your election to lose.
Ethan Buehrer, opinion writer at The Daily Lev.