Democrats’ Feared Red October Arrives Before the Midterms
by David Moberg, on September 9, 2010
The most likely scenario after the first Tuesday in November for Democrats to win back the House is to fail in at least two of the four races that could swing it and to then lose the remainder of the seats to Republicans. Yet, if the party is to keep its majority, this must happen while holding onto the 23 or 24 seats needed to win in a House divided evenly between its right and left wing.
Democrats will have to hold onto at least 10 seats in the districts won by President Obama in 2008. And it is unclear if they will have that many, given that it is far more likely Democrats lose seats than Republicans.
The best hope for Dems would be to win back the 12 seats that Democrat Richard Gephardt won in Georgia in 1988. The best shot for a GOP majority would be Pennsylvania, where Republicans have made no inroads since redistricting left a handful of GOP-held seats in the so-called “toss-up” category for Democrats.
While not impossible, it would be in the best interest of Democrats to see Obama’s election as president as a boost to the 2012 presidential race rather than the start of an extended period of GOP dominance in the House and in Congress.
When the midterm elections are held in early November, the House will be in GOP hands for at least three months, meaning the election will likely be held in early June, two months after the last election in the 2010 midterms. It would still be three months before voters in the Senate cast their ballots, but the Senate will most likely vote before November.
The results of this election will set the stage for the 2012 presidential election and will likely determine how the president decides to handle the Congress that will be the majority for the final two years of his term. This is not because the House is of any particular importance in presidential politics, but because of the manner in which the House is divided between Democrats and Republicans.
The GOP’s House majority is an interesting phenomenon that is not dependent on the economy or on whether or not the economy improves. Republicans have had an edge in the House since the party controlled the presidency from 1952 to 1972, and they have been in control for five of eight years in the last six decades. As long as they remain in the majority,