Republicans currently control both the House and Senate, but many are speculating that turmoil between the many factions of the Republican party could pave the way for Democrats to gain control of the House in 2018.
Currently, Republicans control 241 seats and Democrats have 194. If Democrats were to win 24 seats in 2018, that would give them 218 seats compared to 217 for Republicans.
Democrats have not controlled the House since 2010, but they smell blood in the water as Trump hasn’t gotten off to the best start in his young presidency.
“I think the House is in play,” said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. “You always have to assume the House is in play just because of history.
“So you want to make sure you are running as if you are behind always. We’re taking the House very seriously,” Romney McDaniel added.
Republicans were able to regain the House in 2010 following a wave of voters pushing back against Obamacare.
Republicans were also able to defend most of those seats in 2016, losing only six seats. Looking ahead to 2018, Democrats are pushing for their own wave of voters to come out against Trump.
“If President Trump’s popularity remains where it is, that’s going to be a really hard thing for Republicans to run on,” said a former aide at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Republicans will have no one to blame but themselves if disaster blooms next year. They control the House and Senate, yet they still do not have anything to really brag about on the legislative side.
Most recently, they failed on repealing and replacing Obamacare, which is something they campaigned off of since 2010. Eight years of broken promises will result in Democrats creating their own version of the Tea Party.
Healthcare is the issue that energized the base in 2009, and it is likely what could end the Republican majority in the House if they aren’t careful.
“Democrats have a path to winning a House majority next year, but that possibility is highly dependent on variables over which they have effectively no control,” Kyle Kondik wrote last month.
“Democrats only begin with a short list of real targets next year. But Democrats have a much longer list of potential targets … which they could put into play if the national mood breaks in their favor.”
For Democrats, putting the House in play will require a party-wide message that mobilizes voters much like we saw with the Tea Party in 2009.
While it is unlikely that Democrats will take the House in 2018, it should be concerning that their strategy mimics the one successfully used in 2009 that propelled the Tea Party into a national movement with strong political leverage.
Most importantly, we should have learned by now that in the age of Trump, all assumptions and historical patterns have to be taken with a grain of salt.
Democrats were convinced Trump would easily lose the White House to Hillary Clinton, but an energized base propelled him into the Oval Office.