Stop with the doom and gloom already. Democrats did great in the special elections.
These headlines are pissing me off:
Yes, Democrats just went 0–4 in special elections. But answer me this. If those losses spell doom for the Democrats, how did we win the House in 2006 and 2008 while also losing all four of these particular seats both years?
These special elections were held in deep red seats that Democrats had little to no business winning, and aren’t at all crucial to any Democratic path to victory — yet the four Democrats managed to close the gap by an average of 17.8 points. House GOP candidates won these four seats by an average of 22.85 points in 2016, yet held onto them by just 4.9 points in 2017.
The first of two key takeaways: There are 55 seats that the GOP won by less than 17.8 points in 2016. The Democrats only need 24 to regain the majority.
2016: GOP +31.8
2017: GOP +6.8
2016: GOP + 15.7
2017: GOP +6.1
2016: GOP +20.5
2017: GOP +3.2
2016: GOP +23.4
2017: GOP +3.8
So go ahead, GOP. Celebrate that you’re losing an average of 17.8 points per election. But Dems, don’t be stupid; don’t join them. Stop mourning these losses! Yes, we can learn from these elections. Post-mortems always matter; even in victory there is room for improvement. But to treat these like the sky is falling and give up the momentum that is still ours would be extremely counter-productive. The only way these losses spell disaster is if we overhype them ourselves, allowing them to wreak psychological havoc. So Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan? With your unhelpful “worse than Trump” quote?
To be clear, I am not saying that these four elections show that everything is fine and we’re going to take back the House next November. Democrats won every special election in 2010 — even more than the GOP won this year — but lost the House that fall.
So here’s the second key takeaway: Nobody knows anything more than they did before these elections were held. Nobody knows WHAT’S going to happen next November. That would be equally true if the Democrats had won all four. There’s no reason to panic or point angry fingers, but there’s every reason to keep working hard.