The House is Not Safe, but Don't Freak Out
John Gizzi says that the "GOP Can Retake the House in '08."
His argument is simply a restatement of two observations - one historical, one statistical. The historical point is that the 1974 "Watergate election" didn't signal a long-term realignment in favor of the Democrats. His statistical point is that, "In 33 districts nationwide, Democrats emerged triumphant with 55% of the vote or less. In 18 of those districts, the margin of victory for the Democrats was less than 52%." (Go to his article
to see a list of those potentially vulnerable seats).
We should, of course, believe Gizzi. If we don't clearly understand that a single election can wipe out all the gains we made last November, we're getting dangerously complacent.
On the other hand, his historical comparison is not entirely apt. For one thing, Democrats now have that example from which to learn. But much more important are the underlying trends. The last 25 years of the 20th century were marked by the gradual movement of the South into the Republican column. The 2006 election, however, reflected the gradual solidification of the Northeast for the Democrats. There really isn't much more for the Republicans to win in the South, but districts in the North and West continue to trend our way. Only four of the seats picked up by Democrats in '06 were from majority-Republican districts. Many of the other new seats, meanwhile, represent districts that are trending more
Again, none of this is an argument for complacency. But - especially if we can keep developing winning strategies in the West - there's no reason for undue pessimism either.
Labels: 2008, Congress, House elections