Donald Trump declared Wednesday that despite media reports focusing on Democrats’ improved chances to win back control of Congress, the nation is actually in the midst of a Republican surge.
‘RED WAVE!’ the president tweeted, taunting the organized political left for its use of ‘blue wave’ as a rallying cry this year.
He also said on Twitter that he was ‘5 for 5’ in races in which he has made endorsements.
But two of Tuesday’s coattail exercises are by no means settled. Ohio Republican Troy Balderson leads Democrat Danny O’Connor by 1,754 votes with thousands of absentee and provisional ballots left to count.
And in the closely watched Republican primary race for Kansas governor, the Trump-endorsed Kris Kobach is clinging to a 191-vote margin.
Both electoral rumbles are considered too close to call.
President Donald Trump is either a soothsayer or in deep denial, claiming Wednesday that Republicans are in a strong position going into the midterm elections
The president tweeted ‘RED WAVE!’ – a taunt directed at Democrats who see a ‘blue wave’ coming to bury him and the Republicans in November
Still, Trump boasted that in the 18 months since he took office, Republicans have won nearly all of the contested special elections in the House of Representatives.
‘The Republicans have now won 8 out of 9 House Seats, yet if you listen to the Fake News Media you would think we are being clobbered,’ Trump wrote.
One contest was cut from his calculations: the 2017 election held to replace former Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra when he became California’s attorney general.
Republicans didn’t field a candidate at all in that election, held in an overwhelmingly Democratic district covering much of central Los Angeles.
Of the other nine, Democrats could only notch one win with Conor Lamb’s southwestern Pennsylvania upset in March.
Trump was also counting Balderson’s apparent but unofficial win. Republicans have also held on to seats in 2017 and 2018 special elections held in Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
But while Democrats have left nearly every House contest since January 2017 licking their wounds, they have been encouraged by seeing sliver-like margins that were thought to be unbridgeable.
Republicans held on to a Kansas House seat by just 6 points in April 2017, for instance, although they were expected to romp by 29.
This year’s Arizona contest went from a 25-point Republican favorite to a narrower 5-point win.
In Tuesday’s Ohio race, Republicans were originally expected to prevail by 14 points. The final margin, barring a dramatic development, will likely be about 1.
Political prognosticators divine those early predictions by combining margins of victory in the past two presidential elections, both in the district and nationally, and giving the more recent election twice as much weight.
The Trump-endorsed Ohio Republican Troy Balderson ran in a district where the previous GOP incumbent won re-election with 66 per cent of the vote, but Tuesday’s election is still too close to call
Kris Kobach, Trump’s pick in the Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary, leads the incumbent Republican by less than 200 votes
Election results typically conform to within a reasonable distance of the numbers, but since Trump won the White House most political norms have gone out the window.
The ‘blue wave’ Trump is trying to avoid could become a reality if the trend catches up to him and Democrats outperform expectations more dramatically in November.
Democrats have also won the only U.S. Senate special election in the Trump era when GOP nominee Roy Moore of Alabama self-destructed amid claims that he had molested teenage girls decades earlier.
‘As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win!’ he said. ‘I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I’m doing. If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!’
Historical precedent is stacked against Trump: In the past century, the party holding the White House has lost an average of 30 House seats and 4 Senate seats during midterm elections like the one scheduled for November.
Republicans have won 8 of the 10 special elections for U.S. House seats since Trump took office; the exceptions were a California district where no Republican was on the ballot, and a Pennsylvania race won in an upset by Democrat Conor Lamb (right), who beat a favored Republican by two-tenths of 1 per cent
Democrats snagged a Senate seat last year in the only Senate special election in the Trump era when Republican nominee Roy Moore’s campaign imploded amid decades-old sexual abuse allegations
There have only been two such elections where a president’s party gained seats in both houses of Congress.
One came in 1934 as first-term president Franklin Delano Roosevelt stared down the Great Depression. The other was George W. Bush’s first midterm, in which he rallied Americans to his side in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Democrats hope to continue the larger trend, at least in the House. They need to ‘flip’ just 24 seats to regain the majority; and of the 48 races considered competitive, 25 are in areas of the country where Hillary Clinton outpolled Trump in 2016.
The Senate is a much steeper hill for Democrats to climb, even though a net gain of just two seats would put them in control.
That’s because 26 of the 35 Senate seats involved in an election this year are currently in Democratic hands, meaning they have far more territory to defend.
Senators serve for six years, meaning that a typical 2-year election cycle involves only one-third of them.
Presidents, though, serve for four years at a time, putting them on the ballot in alternating elections.
Trump’s next judgment day will be in 2020.