While there is the normal opposition party momentum for a presidential midterm, the close special election losses by Democrats show "exactly how big" the blue wave will have to be for Democrats to regain control of the House, Vox chronicled Wednesday.
Moral victories will not win elections, only true victories will, and the close special election losses show there are still some obstacles for the blue wave, Vox's Dylan Scott wrote.
"Right now the 'blue wave' is being powered by suburban professional women, but to fully capitalize on 2018, Democrats need to energize young voters and voters of color," Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman told Vox in July.
The report points to races in Georgia, Arizona, and Ohio – not to mention Republican orchestrated gerrymandering which reconfigured House districts.
"While these special elections are often held up as proof that a blue wave is building, they remind us exactly how big that wave has to be," Scott wrote. "Republicans have successfully gerrymandered House districts across the country expressly for this purpose: surviving a year of strong Democratic enthusiasm.
"This year might be the first when those maps are really put to the test — but in a few choice cases already, the strong Republican fundamentals have held up. If they can swing just a few seats in November, that might be enough for the GOP to hold on to the House."
There is also a fear Democratic voters will not show up, especially if President Donald Trump is as successful in revving up his base against the "resistance" and obstructionist Democrats' agenda.
"The [Democratic] party is putting a lot of faith in young, diverse, progressive candidates to motivate their base, not to mention antipathy toward President Trump," according to Scott. "But Democrats have the bigger lift: While older, whiter Republican voters might be a shrinking share of the populace, they reliably turn out to vote every midterm.
"Younger, nonwhite voters have historically been much less dependable. Some surveys this year have already revealed warnings signs for Democrats. Younger voters do not seem to feel an overwhelming sense of urgency this year."
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