Democrats are confident that they will hold the House of Representatives in 2020, and the common wisdom is that they are right, but I think the Republicans could easily reclaim the House if one thing happens — Donald Trump returning to the White House.
At this point, polls show Trump losing dismally, which would suggest that Democrats would be able to solidify their hold on the House, maybe even reclaim the Senate, but one thing we know about polls — they are invariably wrong about Trump.
Newt Gingrich is predicting a landslide victory for President Trump, and if that happens it seems likely that he will bring the House back under GOP control as well. That’s partly due to historic parallels and partly just thanks to the nature of this president’s fighting spirit,
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Breitbart News exactly why he thinks the House could come back under Republican control.
“There are 31 seats that Democrats sit in today that President Trump carried,” McCarthy said. “Of those 31, 13 of them President Trump carried by more than six points. So, here you have the socialist wing of the party trying to take them further left, when the only way they have the majority is actually winning in Republican areas — areas that would be swing districts.”
According to Breitbart, “McCarthy says that the House is in play in 2020 because of the numbers, because the president is on the ballot again this time, and because of what is happening inside the Democrat majority’s conference” — namely the far left policy positions be being staked out by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her socialist “squad.”
In 2018, President Trump made a special effort to campaign for Republican Senate candidates, and as a result the GOP majority on the Senate was increased from 51 to 53. This is a modest gain, but any gain in an of-year election for an incumbent president is rare. Trump’s energizing presence on the campaign trail is what made the difference.
In 2018, the president said he couldn’t emphasize House races with the same intensity as Senate races because there are just too many House districts involved. But 2020 is a presidential election year, too. The president is going to be campaigning relentlessly for months. There is no reason why he can’t target specific House districts for appearances, and if he does so I am confident he can do the unexpected once again and bring the House back into the GOP column.
Don’t forget also that Trump won large swatches of the country outside the East and West Coasts and the big cities. Since the House largely mirrors the Electoral College, where Trump has an advantage, he should be able to bring the same advantage to bear in winning back the House.
The opposing point of view was advanced by the Washington Post yesterday in a story which suggested that the swing left in the House is a bad omen even for President Trump’s own re-election campaign, let alone for taking back the House in 2020. Focusing on Texas, the Post article looks at changing demographics, House GOP retirements, and controversy over the president and suggests that Republicans could face a disastrous election.
That doesn’t take into account the massive enthusiasm of Republicans for President Trump, and the likely depressed turnout of Democrats because of their disappointment with the do-nothing Democrat House. It also fails to acknowledge how hard it is for Democrats not to embrace socialism. (You can read my take on the state of the Democratic campaign for Supreme Leader of the Soviet States of America on Monday when my new column is published at Real Clear Politics.)
One of the few Democrat senators to survive the Trump onslaught in 2018 was my home state senator Jon Tester. Talking about the re-election campaign of Sen. Cornyn in Texas, Tester warned that “whoever emerges as Cornyn’s opponent will have to be careful and focus on ‘issues that people care about, like health care, college affordability and infrastructure’ – rather than Trump’s potential impeachment – if they want to court the rural and suburban voters who might be souring on Trump.”
That’s almost impossible for Democrats, most of whom are not as cagy as Tester. They will invariably run to the left, leaving themselves vulnerable to the presidents sharp attacks.
If Trump targets the House races with the same enthusiasm as he targeted Senate districts in 2018, I am confident that he will be able to have the best second-term of any president in history. A historic president who finally will have the real support of both houses of Congress. The only thing that could hold him back is the idiotic filibuster rule in the Senate. Maybe even Mitch McConnell will tire of being treated like Charlie Brown by then and will support dumping the establishment-protecting filibuster.
If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will consider purchasing one of the books of the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” My new book is “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” They are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. Also visit Heartland Diary on YouTube here.