As House Democrats are huddling in Philadelphia at a two-day strategy meeting, two questions trump all others — can they, and how can they, regain control of the House?
It would seem an impossible dream. Currently, the House sits firmly in the hands
of the GOP's historic majority, with 246 Republicans lined up against just 188 Democrats and one vacancy, and a wide chasm of 30 seats to cross before a takeover could be achieved.
However, Democratic hope springs eternal, and Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, D-Cal., told The Washington Post,
"There's no conventional wisdom in politics anymore. We're in an environment where anything can happen."
While Democratic candidates ducked President Barack Obama's endorsement during the November midterm elections due to his low popularity, Obama since has achieved a 50 percent approval rating,
according to an ABC News/Washington post poll, giving Democrats hope that new messaging, and Obama's coattails, might give them a shot.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Cal., told the Post, with a nod to likely presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, "It’s going to be a presidential year, so we have to put on the table what we see as the big contrast in the House of Representatives. The presidential candidate will go forward with whatever agenda she has. Or he."
Rep. Matthew Cartwright, D-Pa., commented, "We’re in the deepest minority hole in a generation. So you would expect us to be down in the mouth and moping. We are not. We’re thoroughly optimistic."
However, Nathan Gonzales, editor of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, told the Post, "Getting the 30 they need will be a very steep climb. If the president’s numbers continue to climb and people feel good about the economy, that’ll be good for Democrats, but they’ll still have to convince voters to throw out Republicans. A good economy usually benefits all incumbents, no matter their party."
Democrats hope to target Reps. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H., Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, and Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nev., as well as win open New York and Pennsylvania spots, but Republicans have their eye on increasing their majority by defeating Rep. Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., and Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., the Post notes.
National Republican Congressional Committee chair Katie Martin Prill commented to the Post, "If Democrats are going to change their messaging in 2016, they should focus on explaining to the American people why they support the disastrous policies that have devastated hard-working middle-class families and small businesses."
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