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How Democrats Can Lose the House

Susan Estrich on

For the record, I'm not at all confident about the House. True, the incumbent president's party tends to lose seats in midterms. Bill Clinton lost the House in his first midterm. The incumbent president tends to come back and win re-election two years later, it's also worth noting.

But not so fast.

First, we know politics is local.

Second, incumbents in Congress always win. Democrats need more Republicans to leave in order to truly open up seats.

Third, Republicans have controlled the drawing of district lines in more state legislatures than Democrats. The maps favor them.

Fourth, Nancy Pelosi. I happen to like her, and I think she has accomplished an enormous amount as the leader of the Democrats. But I really liked Hillary Clinton, too. I know this much: I am not America. I live in California, not Ohio.

The challenge for Democrats has never been to win my vote. If you're a die-hard of either party, it's not about finding the candidate you like best, because that may well be the candidate with the least chance of winning. It's about finding a candidate you like who might appeal to people with whom you generally disagree. It's not easy to think that way, and not near as much fun as cheering for Bernie Sanders. But it's better than losing.

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