Maybe Democrats Can Turn Paul Ryan Into a Minority Leader After All

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For the time being, Hillary Clinton has settled into a lead of about 8 points over Donald Trump. The Senate looks tight: most forecasters figure it’s going to end up very close to 50-50. And the House will, of course, stay safely in Republican hands. Here is Sam Wang’s latest snapshot:

Wait a second. Except for a brief blip during the Republican convention, Democrats have been over the threshold necessary to take back control of the House ever since June? How ’bout them apples?

Now, Sam says generic congressional poll questions are “highly predictive of the actual popular vote,” which I’m skeptical of. I’ve watched liberals get excited about strong generic congressional polls for many years, and they usually don’t last past summer. At least, that’s my sense. But I’ll bet Sam has real numbers and stuff to back up his claim. So we’ll see.

One reason to be extra cautious here is that this is simply not a normal election year. If Republicans start to back away from Trump, and if presidential money dries up in favor of down-ballot races, we could see Republicans spending a historic amount on congressional seats. There’s a limit to how much good this can do, but we probably haven’t quite reached that limit yet.

Still, interesting stuff. It would be cosmic justice if embracing Trump not only cost Republicans the presidency, but also both houses of Congress. I’m not sure what lesson they’d learn from that—probably that next time they need to run a real conservative—but it would be justice nonetheless.


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