As I look at this weekend’s polls in advance of Tuesday’s midterm elections, conventional wisdom would appear to be as follows:
- Democrats are expected to gain approximately 38 seats in the House of Representatives. If that prediction comes to pass, Democrats would enjoy a majority for the first time since 2008, holding 231 seats to the Republicans’ 204. Most talking heads believe that Nancy Pelosi would then regain the Speaker of the House position she held at that time, though there is nothing to prevent Democrats from closing ranks behind a different leader.
- Republicans are expected to retain their current slim 51 – 49 majority in the Senate or perhaps add a seat or two. If that prediction comes to pass, President Trump would retain his ability to appoint Supreme Court justices and tweak treaties, since the U. S. Constitution requires only Senate (not House) approval in those areas. He would also appear to be relatively immune from being removed from office even after a House impeachment vote, since a 2/3 vote in the Senate is required for conviction. (And, if that were the case, I believe most Americans would find it extremely annoying for the House to waste its time voting to impeach, all the while knowing that the odds of a conviction would be slim to none. A far better political strategy for the House Democrats would be to put forward popular, tangible legislation and dare the Senate to reject it. Then Americans would be more likely to blame Republicans for a decline in the quality of their daily lifestyle.)
- Republicans are expected to retain their current slim majority of governorships, with 26 states being led by Republican governors, 24 by Democrats; however, by my count, 35 states are holding gubernatorial elections this year, while 15 states are not. An interesting fact here is that Republican governors are far more likely to enjoy legislative control by their same party, whereas Democratic governors are more likely to face a legislature controlled by Republicans.
I learned from the Trump election in 2016 that conventional wisdom was worth exactly how much I paid for it: zero. However, my gut tells me that conventional wisdom might be wrong in the opposite direction this year. It wouldn’t surprise me if Democrats take back more than 38 seats in the House while even surprising everyone by taking a slim majority in the Senate.
Why would I make such a prediction? Because turnout appears to be so heavy. Across the nation, Democrats hold a voter registration majority, and they tend to be favored by demographic groups with traditionally low voter turnout percentages, like young people, African Americans, and Hispanic voters. If those groups vote in heavier numbers, as they appear to be doing, pollsters would have a rough time knowing this in advance.