The writing is on the wall. The Democratic base is hugely excited -- largely due to their distaste for Trump. The Republican base -- at least for most of 2017 -- has been less passionate. And that sort of base enthusiasm disparity has translated -- and likely will continue to translate -- into major gains for Democrats in the midterms.
History suggests that Republicans are in a familiar position: Standing in the shallow water watching a massive wave building out in the ocean. According to Gallup, the average seat loss for the president's party in midterm elections with a president under 50% approval (as Trump is now) is 36 -- a number that, if past predicted present, would cost Republicans their House majority.
Since new congressional district maps took effect in the 2012 elections, much of the population growth in those Republican districts has been among nonwhite voters, who overwhelmingly favor Democratic candidates.
Walters’s district has grown by 33,000 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Of those new residents, 30,000 are nonwhite. The white population actually declined in Royce’s district while the overall population grew by 10,000 residents. In Denham’s district, 17,000 of the 21,000 new residents are nonwhite.
Over the weekend, we were featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article, Democrats in droves seek to topple GOP in California’s congressional races, about the huge number of Democrats entering Congressional races across California. As I told reporter John Wildermuth, “Democrats have to stay focused on the prize. They need to prove they can bring about the change they want in the district.”
Competitive primaries can be a great boon in our efforts to flip Congress when they inspire voters and bring unheard voices to the table. The huge number of candidates running reflects the passion and energy necessary for a blue wave to happen. And the GOP’s record number of congressional retirements, including two in California, reveals that they know a wipeout is coming too.
“Democrats have to stay focused on the prize,” Linney added. “They need to prove they can bring about the change they want in the district. ... There is no need to attack fellow Democrats.”
A voter who is engaged in June is likely to stay engaged in November, he said.
“It would be nice to have one guy who can start his general election campaign in the primary, but democracy is messy,” Linney said. “We’re going to support whoever emerges from the process,” which is what he expects the losing Democrats will do.
Orange County Register: After retirement decisions by Royce and Issa, struggling California GOP looks vulnerable if ‘blue wave’ hits
The two veteran California lawmakers unexpectedly announcing this week that they would not seek reelection – Reps. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton, and Darrell Issa, R-Vista – both represent districts where Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump. Both are among districts targeted by Democrats in their effort to flip the 24 seats needed to take control of the House of Representatives. The prospect of losing often factors into such retirement decisions.
“The incumbents have their ear to the ground and they are headed to the exits,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of Cal State Los Angeles’ Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs. “In terms of what’s going to happen in November, incumbents are the canary in the coal mine.
Issa becomes the second longtime California Republican congressman to announce that he would retire from the House of Representatives. Ed Royce (R-Yorba Linda) announced two days before Issa that he would not seek a 12th term in office.
Reaction to Issa’s retirement was split along partisan lines, as Republicans praised him as a political force who wielded his influence for the good of the district, while Democrats derided him for his voting record, which was virtually in lock step with President Donald Trump.