Republican Migraines and the Midterm Elections

Weather metaphors are often used (and overused) in election analysis, but there’s a better way to describe the Republicans’ challenge in 2018. The GOP is dealing with many headaches as it tries to preserve the Republican congressional majorities.

From tension to cluster to migraine, they can vary in frequency and severity. And Republicans’ ability to alleviate them will determine control of the House and Senate in the 116th Congress.

Whether it’s a presidential pain in the neck, the large number of open seats, stellar Democratic fundraising, unprepared incumbents or turnout, the pressures are numerous.

That’s in addition to lingering misery from the unexpectedly competitive special elections and the weight of poor historical midterm results for the president’s party.

The president
Topping the list is President Donald Trump.

“The headache is Trump,” said GOP Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania. “Every week he reminds voters why they don’t like him.”

Typically, midterm elections are a referendum on the president’s party. When voters are dissatisfied with the president’s job performance, they can’t vote against the president because he is not on the ballot. So they take out their frustrations on candidates of the president’s party.

“The more he does, the more difficult it becomes for some crossover voters to stick with you,” Costello explained. “For some, their vote is predicated on being against Trump — whether on style or policy.”

Trump’s job approval rating…

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