Tomorrow, “Close” Won’t Count For A Damn Thing…
Anything Short Of Democrats Regaining Control Of The House Or Senate, And Trump’s Agenda Will Be Good As Set In Stone
Yes, the stakes are that high.
There’s no question in our mind: Democrats will gain seats in the House this Election Day. The only question is will they gain enough? An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this weekend shows Democrats with a 7% or so edge in the popular vote. Sounds good, but that’s just skating on the edge of every single vote they’ll need. (Because those numbers include huge margins Democrats are sure to score in highly populated urban areas, but those extra votes won’t mean squat in more competitive suburban or rural districts.) Although Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight (who as you know is about the only person we trust in all of this), Tweets 7% might be a little high, and Democrats might still be able to prevail in the House with less. Still, that’s cutting it close.
Separately, a new projection from CBS News/YouGov shows Democrats winning the House pretty handily 225–210. Only problem is if you factor in their “margin of error” it could also show Democrats falling short by as many as 6 seats.
• One thing’s for sure: if Democrats don’t gain control of the House, the Republicans coming in will be a rabid pack of Trump supporters, since most of the more “moderate” Republicans who’ve been inclined to oppose Trump every once in a while, are mostly all retiring.
• Here’s another thing that’s for sure: Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the House. If they win 22, it will be essentially the same as gaining zero. And in order to reach that number they’ll need to win lots of seats currently held by Republicans.
According to CNN, 23 should be a snap. They argue if Democrats win all the districts they classify as “solid”, “lean” or “likely”, then all they have to do is win about half of the districts classified as “toss-ups”. And there are virtually no districts currently held by Democrats that are classified as “toss-ups”. Looks like a huge, maybe insurmountable advantage for Democrats, right? We sure hope so.
But let’s point a few things out: the most significant being that Republicans have proven they’re capable of winning every single one of the districts Democrats need to flip, by virtue of the fact that they’ve won them before. So by no means is this not an uphill battle, no matter what the polls or prognosticators say.
CNN further points out that in previous years with many close House races, they’ve tended to break significantly one way or the other come Election Day. And with that in mind they suggest if Democrats win 75% of “toss ups” that’ll mean a gain of 40 seats or more.
But let’s flip those numbers around: let’s say CNN is still right and Democrats have got 13 more seats completely in the bag. They’ve still got to find 10 more in competitive districts. No doubt they’ll win some of those too, but there will also likely be some razor-thin margins, and if Democrats end up on the wrong side of too many of those types of contests, that could also spell their doom — especially if it turns out some of the “lean” and “likely” aren’t quite as “lean” and “likely” as pollsters thought.
We once had a boss who always used to say “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” And that’s certainly the case this week. Democrats can no longer take solace in closing gaps or coming closer than anybody though possible but still losing, as they have in many special elections since Trump became President. (They won some too. But until now, that’s been the exception rather than the rule.)
With all that said, we are more optimistic about Democrats’ chances than we were right before Election Day 2 years ago, when we were canvassing in Pennsylvania; pretty sure Trump would win.
But cautiously so.
Because Democrats can’t just hope for a split that breaks in their favor. They can’t just play to eke out a win. They need to play to vanquish. The only way that happens is by voting.
So if you live in an area where people have to travel to get to where they vote, and you have a car, volunteer to drive people to their polling place. Usually all it takes is calling up the candidate you support and telling them you’re available.
If not, we’ve said this many times before and we’ll say it again: check with your friends about their voting plans. Even if you think they’re solid. They might not be. You might be surprised. We’ve been surprised. More than once this year. Maybe all they need is a little nudge. Maybe they’ll need you to take them by the hand and walk or drive them down to their polling place. Buy them a coffee. Take them to Happy Hour afterwards. Make a little party out of it…