[Ed. – ‘Promising math’?]
There’s a saying that what matters isn’t winning or losing. It’s whether you beat the spread.
But what’s the spread for Democrats in 2018?
Is the spread — which means the predicted margin of victory or defeat — gaining the 24 seats in the House that are necessary for a majority in the chamber? That’s certainly doable. I could argue that it’s probable.
But I could also make the case that Democrats fall five, 10 or 15 seats short. And I could imagine a demoralization that shadows and thereby dooms the party in 2020, when the stakes are even higher.
Is the spread control of the Senate? With just three turned seats, the Democrats have it. What promising math. But what a punishing map: There are more vulnerable Democrats up for re-election than there are vulnerable Republicans. Despite Donald Trump’s wackiness and the G.O.P.’s woes, Democrats could easily lose ground here.
The midterm elections are at once a golden opportunity and a dangerous trap for Democrats. Their hopes — stoked last week by a series of humiliations for the Trump administration, including Tom Price’s resignation and Alabama Republicans’ nomination of a Senate candidate who’s a fossil from the 1950s — could exceed their haul. …