Three Reasons for Democrats to Be Optimistic About the Midterms

Donald Trump is unpopular, Republicans don’t have a turnout advantage and Democrats have done well in special elections.

A woman makes a photo of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 18, 2017
A woman makes a photo of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, January 18, 2017 (Lorie Shaull)

Democrats in the United States have three reasons to feel optimistic about this year’s congressional elections, argues Ruy Teixeira at his blog, The Optimistic Leftist.

  1. Off-year elections are a good predictor of performance in the midterms, as reported by Daily Kos. Democrats won several special elections in 2017, notably in Alabama and Virginia. That bodes well for 2018.
  2. Republicans don’t have a turnout advantage, at least not with a Republican president, according to Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight. Republican voters are usually more motivated when a Democrat is in the White House.
  3. Donald Trump is hugely unpopular. Nate Cohn writes in The New York Times that the president is far less popular than the state of the economy would suggest — and when presidents are unpopular, their party often loses.

Good bet

Teixeira admits it’s still possible Democrats will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

They could nominate a slew of poor candidates, as Jonathan Bernstein has noted at Bloomberg View.

An unexpected economic boom could elevate Trump’s approval rating and with it his party’s prospects.

But right now, a Democratic wave looks like a good bet.