As the outcomes of Democratic primaries become apparent, party leaders are questioning whether they will benefit or suffer from an abundance of liberal enthusiasm, matched by antipathy for President Donald Trump and the Republican majority in Congress.
Despite all the best efforts of the Resistance, the Cook Political report recently moved four races back to favoring the Republicans.
Democrats’ concerns were raised after last week’s primaries produced two Democratic congressional nominees, one in Nebraska and the other in Pennsylvania, whom the party fears might be too liberal to emerge victorious in the general election. Worries also abound among Democrats that their best candidates might not prevail in nonpartisan “jungle” primaries in California in June, potentially sacrificing winnable seats in their effort to overcome the GOP’s 23-seat majority in the House.
“It’s ironic that one of the most progressive states in the country could damage Democrats’ prospects of winning a House majority,” wrote National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar.
According to some Democratic strategists who spoke with the Washington Examiner, pundits and party leaders are overreacting. The strategists predicted that “only a few races will be compromised by ineffectual progressive nominees, that Trump is sufficient to unify the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wings of the party after most primaries, and that what Democrats will lose in centrist Republican crossover votes they can make up for in grassroots turnout on the Left.”
Adding to the Democrats’ woes is their declining lead in the generic ballot, with a Tuesday report from one polling firm giving Republicans the edge, and Trump’s approval ratings seeming to have stabilized.
Despite the Democrats’ anxiety, past midterm electoral history favors their chances, especially on the House side. Even so, the Republicans could impart some wisdom about missed opportunities due to unfavorable primary outcomes, having failed to gain power in the Senate in the Tea Party wave election of 2010 and having yielded a Republican seat to Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama last year.