At the beginning of the year, most of the momentum and every bit of positive press favored the Democrats to win majorities in both the House and Senate. The positive press is still there; Democrats could run Kermit Gosnell and mainstream media would paint him as a saint. The momentum, however, has shifted towards Republicans.
Is it enough to get them over the hump and retain control of the House of Representatives?
The Senate seems to be safely in their hands. One should not get complacent as a shift in a couple of elections could change the GOP’s fortunes drastically, but at this point it appears the Democrats will actually lose seats instead of winning enough for a majority. The House, on the other hand, is leaning towards the Democrats.
Here are three things the GOP and their voters must do if they’re going to keep majorities in both chambers of Congress.
- Focus on races they can win – This is going to offend some. Nobody wants to admit defeat, but anyone down by double digits this late in the game needs a true October Surprise to reverse their fortunes. State and national groups must pull out and redirect efforts elsewhere. For the most part this is already being done but I’ve seen resources spent on longshots as recently as yesterday.
- Put safe candidates on the trail with vulnerable candidates nearby – Mitt Romney is going to win his Senate race. Mia Love is currently tied in Salt Lake County. Romney needs to focus all of his efforts helping Love win her election. A Senate seat is still a Senate seat whether it’s won by 3% or 30%. Currently, Romney is up by about 30%.
- Get conservative national news outlets to cover close Congressional races – This is the most important thing that’s currently not being done. National Review, for example, has article rightly highlighting close Senate races with attack articles against Jon Tester and Kyrsten Sinema on their front page. I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t continue to help hold the Senate, but where are stories about Danny Tarkanian who is currently tied with Susie Lee in Nevada’s 3rd District? A National Review article would go a long way towards helping Randy Hultgren padd to his 4% lead in Illinois’ 14th District. These national news outlets have clout that local publications do not.
The Senate is sexy. It’s the stepping stone for presidential candidates. It gets to help President Trump put conservative judges in the various courts. Senators get all the press and the best seats at church. But the House has a different type of influence that is arguably more important. It should not be ignored.
Perhaps the most motivating reason Republicans needs to do everything they can to retain control of the House is that it will demotivate Democrats. They will be completely deflated if they can’t make it out of their first Trumpocalypse-era election without moving the needle. On the flip side, winning control of the House will make them push even harder for 2020 and 2022. They’ll point to the GOP’s House victory in 2010 as the beginning of the Republican Party’s rise to power and challenge their voters to do the same thing but more rapidly.
Most analysts say the House is clearly leaning towards the Democrats. Of course, these same analysts were more certain Hillary Clinton would win the Presidency than they are about the 2018 House races. Don’t believe polls. Get out and make a real impact.