Amy Walter/Cook Political Report with a must read explainer:
How to Define a Wave
This year, Republicans have 23 seats in toss-up and six in lean Democrat or worse. That means Democrats would need to hold all of their own seats in toss-up (2), win the six leaning their way, and win 17 — or 73 percent of the toss-up seats.
That 73 percent win goal is a much steeper one than Democrats faced in 2006 or Republicans had to hit in 2010. It means that the biggest challenge for Democrats is to make the 27 GOP-held seats that are sitting in Lean Republican, more competitive by this fall.
Ultimately, if those seats that now advantage Republicans start to look more competitive, we can feel more confident we are in the midst of a wave. If not, Republicans may be able to hold down their losses and hold onto their majority.
Amy has made the point that the best chance for Democrats is to make more seats competitive. That’s not always up to them, but it’s something to watch.
“Puerto Ricans have been the first American citizens to really feel what it means to have a president who is so wildly unable to fulfill his responsibilities. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s hard to imagine theyÃ¢Â€Â™ll be the last.” @michelleinbklyn https://t.co/nLrA5WlYUA
— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) June 8, 2018
A blue wave could happen and still hit a wall
As we get closer to November, I gain confidence that an electoral “wave” will develop the likes of 1946, 1994, 2006 and 2010.
Unlike the elections in those years, however, I’m not sure a wave will necessarily mean the minority party will wrestle away control of the House.
How is this possible?
It gets back to a question the New York Times’ Nate Cohn and the Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter asked: what is a wave? I’d argue a wave doesn’t just need to be measured by seats won. It can be measured by votes won. It’s on this score that Democrats are in a very strong position historically speaking….
It just strikes me as unreasonable to expect that Democrats to win a net gain of much more than 23 seats given the vote/seat disparity and that no minority party in a midterm in the modern era has done better than an 8.5-point popular vote win. If Democrats are able to do that, it would be extraordinary.
Hint to pundits: what makes a wave happen is the conviction that Congress can’t get anything done… and doesn’t want to and doesn’t care. See health care and immigration.