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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I will be honest with you: Democrats have a difficult path to reclaim the US House.

Real Clear’s Generic Congressional Ballot currently shows Republicans with a +0.4 edge.

Surprisingly with congressional ratings in the teens, it is looking like the makeup of the House in the next Congress will remain in Republican control.

In part it has to do with redistricting efforts by Republican controlled legislatures in the states that split up Democrats and drew in more favorable districts that favor Republicans. That is especially true in Texas.

And in Texas as shown during the DeLay Redistricting in the middle of the 2000s, state legislatures are not limited to waiting in between Census results. I am certain that if the Texas Legislature wanted to, they would re-draw the maps again during the next State Legislature session.

Another theory I have heard floating around was the aftermath of Obama’s first Presidential debate debacle caused the Democrats to lose momentum in the House. The focus shifted on keeping the White House and instead of flipping the US House back to Democratic control.

We may be looking at a divided House along more partisan lines when it convenes for the 113th Congress in January 2013. I would say that the chances are good that Rep. John Boehner retains the Speaker’s gable (unless Republicans stage a coup that unseats him, unlikely). Democrats may have a better chance to reclaim the House in November 2014 along these factors:

1.    Obama is re-elected
2.    Senate remains in Democratic hands
3.    (most important one) Republicans at all levels move farther to the right and the Tea Party continues the purge of the remaining moderates of the party

If Democrats do pull off the upset (and it would be a huge political upset), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has to be hailed and respected as a brilliant political tactician by not only her colleagues but also her opponents. Not only did she lead the Democrats on the comeback trail in the 2006 mid-terms but she would have led House Democrats from being nearly decimated in one election cycle to being victorious in the next cycle. Those things take time.

Based on the Real Clear Generic Congressional Vote and the map, the makeup is as follows:


Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report says that best case, House Democrats will gain somewhere between 5 and 7 seats (currently, GOP 240-190). I am not hearing too much about the US House, a couple of races here and there, but not as dramatic as we saw two years ago when the Tea Party led Republican candidates turned the House upside-down.

Nate Silver hasn’t shown any data for the US House and I think it’s because he knows that there isn’t going to be much change in that chamber. And maybe because he hasn’t had the time to analyze all 435 congressional races and finding the ones that are most likely to hold or flip. I am leaning towards the time factor.

In order to completely flip the House back to Democratic control based on the numbers, Democrats would have to hold all 178 seats that are rated Lean to Safe plus win 40 seats. One scenario is winning seats in Toss-Up and Lean GOP category which totals 46 seats which means Democrats have to win over 85% of those seats. Scenario two is including picking off Likely GOP seats which totals 64. The win percentage is 62.5%, better than 85% but still I don’t like those odds.

At the same time Republicans are looking to increase their majorities in the House. Parliamentary forecasting is different than Presidential forecasting as I have learned in commenting about the 2010 United Kingdom General Election and the 2011 Canada General Election. They’re trying to pick off your side while you try to pick off their side; it’s like a chess game, but with 435 different games going on and one side has more pieces than the other in some games and in others it is even.

Ok… prediction time.

A good night for Democrats would be if they break the 205 seat barrier. 205 would make things a bit much easier to get passed in the House, you just need to find 13 more votes somewhere among the dwindling number of moderate Republicans... Good luck with that…

200, it’s a nice even number. I’ve been floating with it and I think it is something that the Democratic Party hopes to attain even in a year that should benefit them with the President at the top of the ticket, key Senate races across the country that favors them, and an uncooperative Republican Party in the Congress that caused Congressional Approval Ratings to take a nose dive.

In short, status quo is maintained in the House with some Democratic gains.



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