Even though Democrats will have a majority in the House, Ezra Klein argues that geography and gerrymandering has masked the 8% popular vote swing towards Democrats which would be the largest since 2008. Klein argues that the GOP is paying a “Trump Tax” and would have done much better if a candidate like Kasich or Rubio had won. Trump is less popular at 3.7% unemployment than Obama was at 9.8% in 2010. Klein doubts the GOP will perform as well when they are defending more seats in 2020.
- Should the GOP have performed better considering the strong economy?
- Will the GOP ultimately have less power than if Kasich or Rubio had won?
- Will the GOP lose more Senate seats in 2020?
At this point, Democrats look certain to take back the House. But due to geography and gerrymandering, their majority in the chamber will fall far short of their majority at the polls.
As I write this, the New York Times is projecting that Democrats will win the House popular vote by more than 8 percentage points. If that margin holds, it will be the largest since the Democrats’ 2008 victory, which came amid a collapsing economy, a hideously unpopular war, and the rise of Barack Obama’s massive grassroots army.
Unemployment is at 3.7 percent right now. The economy is growing. For the country to vote this decisively against the incumbent party is shocking. Midterm election results hinge on turnout, gerrymandering, and the specific set of Senate seats in play, so they’re not a clear picture of the national mood. But for the House popular vote to swing this hard against Republicans under these economic conditions reflects a profound political failure on Donald Trump’s part. Republicans are paying the Trump tax, and it’s getting larger.
Let me back up. In 2016, Vox worked with political scientists to build an “ensemble model” that combined the best presidential forecasts, weighted them by past accuracy, and updated them with new information.
That model said the baseline expectation was that the Republican nominee — whoever it was — was favored to win the 2016 election. The exact prediction was that the GOP’s candidate would capture 50.9 percent of the popular vote.