And a new report suggests Democrats could need as much as an 11 percent popular vote advantage to take the House
A new report from the Brennan Center finds Democrats will need a massive landslide in November to retake the House:
Because of maps designed to favor Republicans, Democrats would need to win by a nearly unprecedented nationwide margin in 2018 to gain control of the House of Representatives. To attain a bare majority, Democrats would likely have to win the national popular vote by nearly 11 points. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have won by such an overwhelming margin in decades. Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps.
Michigan’s electoral map, which has been extraordinarily well gerrymandered for GOP pleasure, gets a special mention:
In Michigan, even if Democrats win five seats with 38.38 percent of the statewide vote, they are not projected to compete for a sixth seat until their statewide vote share reaches 54.89 percent, an increase of 16.51 percentage points.
Even the pushback against this report presents a timely warning for Democrats.
Poll dudes Nate Silver, Nate Cohn and Dave Wasserman have all suggested that the winning margin needed for Democrats is much lower than double digits — probably around 7 percent. G. Elliot Morris suggests that Dems need a 7-8 percent lead in the polls to be considered a favorite while they could win with just a 6 percent margin.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a 2.1 percent while losing the Electoral College. That means Democrats would need to improve upon her margin by at least 3 times and as much as 5 times. This, of course, is all an inexact science as many districts won’t be contended at all and it’s almost impossible to properly poll 438 districts. But you get the idea: House Republicans could get millions fewer votes than their opponents and still end up with the majority and possibly even a larger Senate majority. Then, watch out.
The goal here isn’t to bum you out, but to be realistic.
We have to keep in mind all the advantages the GOP has when it comes to the maps, the cash and levers of government it controls. No matter what, Republicans start off with a 6 percent advantage, at least, considering that GOP House candidates took in 1.1 percent more votes than Democrats in 2016.
Why be realistic?
Because we learned three things 2016 we cannot ever forget:
1. Never trust good news and positive poll models.
2. Don’t count on Trump to self-destruct.
3. Assume that every mechanism that can be used against us — from hacks to Facebook to voter suppression to the FBI — will.
Bad news is your friend. Love it. Need it. And every time you see it, do everything you can to swing at least one district.
If you believe the 2018 elections are a national emergency, and you should, you should expect sirens to be going off everywhere. And they are.
[Map via 270 to Win.]