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Tags: congress | democrats | midterm elections

Bill Kristol: Chances Dems Will Take Both Houses 'Pretty Good'

Bill Kristol: Chances Dems Will Take Both Houses 'Pretty Good'
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 April 2018 09:57 AM

The chances that Democrats will win both houses of Congress this year "are pretty good now," and if a narrow margin marked in Tuesday's special election in Arizona are replicated nationwide, The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol said Wednesday.

"I think, just analytically right now the chances of Republicans losing the Senate are greater than the chances of Democrats not taking the House, Kristol told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I think the chances of Democrats winning both houses are pretty good now."

The Senate is more complicated, he continued, because there are several pro-Trump states where Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election.

On Tuesday, Republican Debbie Lesko won the special election in Arizona's 8th Congressional District to replace Rep. Trent Franks, the Republican lawmaker who stepped down in December over allegations of sexual misconduct.

She defeated former emergency room physician Hirar Tipirneni, with Democrats hoping to repeat wins in Pennsylvania and Alabama in the Arizona district that encompasses western Phoenix' suburbs and the retirement community of Sun City, all traditional conservative strongholds.

When The Associated Press called the race an hour after the polls closed, Lesko had taken 53 percent of the vote, with Tipirneni at 47 percent, giving Lesko the single-digit win.

President Donald Trump won the same district by 21 points just 18 months ago, but Democrats have mounted a grassroots movement that have brought more competition to even the nation's reddest areas.

"There was no scandal in this race," said Kristol. "They still underperformed by so many, but such a margin that if it were translated across the country, Democrats would easily win the House."

As far as Arizona's Senate races, Republicans will need to win them "pretty big" to hold the state, said Kristol.

"If this replicates itself, it's dangerous for them," Kristol said of the special House race. "There was no Roy Moore scandal, no particularly one bad candidate one way or another. Both candidates had plenty of money, so I think it's very bad for Republicans."

Also, said Kristol, the race strengthens his view that this election day will be "big in its own right. It's important if Democrats win the House and/or the Senate and changes the dynamics for the next two years."

Such results also will mean Republicans must stop justifying the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

"They have to confront the issue, do you want to renominate Donald Trump for four more years? Are you confident enough that this is going well that you're going to sign on for another term?"

There's nothing that can be done about the fact that Trump is president, he added, but he thinks the day after election day 2016, "things changed more than people realized in terms of the Republican psychology."

As it stands, Trump could face real issues in 2020 should Republicans do poorly this November, said Kristol.

"I think the current notion that Trump's unchallengeable in the Republican Party, got an 83 percent approval and all that, I think that could change pretty fast," said Kristol.

Kristol also commented on Trump's statement Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is "very honorable," saying that conservatives would have been angered at former President Barack Obama had he said such a thing.

"Somehow, Trump says it and it's all part of a skillful diplomatic effort that he's engaged in," said Kristol. "We'll see what happens with North Korea. So far they have done nothing. They have said a few things. We have zero verifiable evidence they have changed one aspect of one part of their nuclear program."

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Politics
The chances that Democrats will win both houses of Congress this year "are pretty good now," and if a narrow margin marked in Tuesday's special election in Arizona are replicated nationwide, The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol said Wednesday.
congress, democrats, midterm elections
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2018-57-25
Wednesday, 25 April 2018 09:57 AM
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