The Post summarizes the ratings put out by Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and FiveThirtyEight: “More than 300 of the 435 seats are seen as safe by all three rating systems. . . . Another 83 seats are seen as in play to some extent by all three, though the degree to which they’re at risk — that is, whether they’re toss-ups or leaning or likely — may differ. Another 48 seats are seen as in play by at least one system but not both of the others.”
One is struck by the breadth of the potential losses. Democrats, if they do take the House, are likely to win “across all regions of the country,” Nate Silver predicts for FiveThirtyEight. There really is no safe region for Republicans, not even in the Deep South. (“In the South, they face pressure because of demographic change in states such as Georgia and Virginia — and increasingly in Texas.”) Vulnerable Republicans come from rural, urban and suburban districts. A geographically dispersed coalition, heavily but not exclusively female, college-educated, nonwhite and young could send a thunderous message to the GOP. You say nothing matters? No, it really matters — all of it.
The lazy punditry that says Trump has paid no price for his lies, assaults on democracy, policy debacles, cruelty and racism ignores the damage the president has done to himself and his party. He stands now on the brink of perhaps historic losses specifically because of his lies, assaults on democracy, policy debacles, etc.
The repudiation of the GOP might not be limited to the House. The Cook Political Report has five Democratic toss-up seats, though Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) doesn’t seem to be in much danger these days. (In the last public poll, conducted in July, he was up by ten points.) A slew of Democratic seats that were thought to be competitive (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Montana) no longer seem to be at risk.
Moreover, Republican-held Senate seats are sliding away from the GOP. Three (Tennessee, Nevada and Arizona) are toss-ups, and Sen. Ted Cruz has managed to fade to only “Lean Republican” in traditionally deep-red Texas.
Now, a takeover in the Senate would still be an extraordinary upset, but it’s remarkable we are even considering that outcome given that Republicans were crowing at one time about getting to 60 seats.
And then there are the governors, which may prove every bit as disastrous for Republicans as the House. Republicans hold two governorships (Illinois and New Mexico) that Cook rates as Lean Democrat. Seven more are in the toss-up column and there are another two (Georgia and Wisconsin) that are only Lean Republican. (The Republicans’ choice of far-right winger Brian Kemp as its nominee makes Georgia more competitive than it was previously thought to be.) Democrats have a grand total of 2 governorships that are toss-ups (Connecticut and Alaska), and none in worse shape. It’s entirely possible that Democrats pick up six to eight governorships.
A geographically and demographically diverse repudiation of Trump up and down the ballot will have obvious consequences for the remainder of his term. It may also be the final opportunity for Republicans to get off the sinking ship, push Trump aside and try to regain their sanity. If not, 2020 could be another calamitous year.