By John Isaacs
The 2020 congressional races continue to show positive indicators for candidates who support CLW policies and our vision of a more livable world.
Currently, Democrats hold 233 seats to the Republicans’ 196, giving them a 37-seat advantage.
Thus far, all signs point to Democratic retention of House control, even perhaps enlarging that majority. Democratic gains in 2018 were particularly dramatic in suburbs, even in Southern states such as Georgia and Texas, and among women voters. Polling indicates that those trends continue in 2020.
The GOP had hoped that Sen. Bernie Sanders would lead the Democratic ticket for President and President Trump would lead a sweep that extended to the Congressional level, particularly in districts won by Trump in 2016 but carried by Democratic House candidates in 2018.
The selection of former Vice President Joseph Biden obliterated the GOP’s fondest dreams of a campaign against the far left dominating the Democratic Party.
Moreover, one of Trump’s few “virtues” has been his consistency in appealing to his conservative backers while largely ignoring the independent vote that usually determines victories in close elections.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting disastrous economic conditions undermining one of Trump’s planks for victory, and likely to persist into November, a Trump-supporter sweep almost surely is out of the question.
Then there are the details about the individual campaigns themselves. Republicans started out with a disadvantage of watching 27 GOP incumbents announce their retirement or a bid for other offices compared to only 9 for Democrats.
House freshmen Democrats were counseled to spend their first term focused on amassing war chests to counter the Republican onslaught to win back many seats they lost in 2018. And those newbies have been remarkably successful.
David Wasserman of Cook Political Report ran the numbers and found that of the 55 Democratic seats the National Republican Campaign Committee announced it was targeting, the median Democratic incumbent ended the first-quarter fundraising reporting period of 2020 with $2.2 million cash-on-hand, more than six times more than the median leading GOP challenger’s $366,000.
Money may not buy happiness, but it certainly helps in political contests. Adding to GOP woes: catching up to Democratic fundraising will be hindered over the next six months by the pandemic and increasing dissatisfaction with Trump’s, as well as other Republicans’, responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2018, Democrats had an eight-point advantage in the congressional generic ballot of an unnamed Democrat over an unnamed Republican, enough to sweep them to victory. This year, Democrats again have an average eight-point lead.
The conclusion, wrote Wasserman: “Republicans’ path to picking up the 18 seats needed to win back the majority now looks slim to non-existent.”
Maintaining a strong progressive majority in the House is critical for CLW helping to reach our policy goals of reducing wasteful Pentagon spending and refusing to fund additional nuclear weapons.