In a blow to Bernie Sanders’ #Resistance supporters and Hillary Clinton die-hards, a new study shows that the Democrats cannot regain control of the House in 2018 by either narrowly targeting college-educated or working class voters.
The report produced by the centrist research group Third Way found that the Democrats path to regaining a House majority is divided between suburbanites and urban dwellers, between white and Hispanic voters.
With the Democrats 24 seats short of a majority, party strategists focus on the 23 districts that House Republicans hold though their constituents supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Some of those territories are held by popular GOP incumbents so, as The Washington Post concluded, it’s inconceivable that Democrats will run the table in those 23 districts. At the same time, Democrats must defend 12 seats in districts that Trump carried in 2016.
In Michigan, the Third Way study concludes that the suburban Oakland/Macomb 9th District (which includes a majority of Macomb County) held by veteran Congressman Sandy Levin (D-Royal Oak) presents a defensive posture for the Democratic Party, while the southwest Michigan 6th District of Congressman Fred Upton (R-Three Rivers) offers a potential Dem pick-up.
Yet, the stats underscore how difficult the Dems’ 2018 mission is. Among the dozens of potential targets, even the 23 GOP-held, pro-Clinton districts are demographically diverse. As the Post points out, many are suburban and overwhelmingly white. Others are rural and heavily Latino. Within broad categories, stark differences emerge regarding income, educational attainment and employment rates.
For example, more than half of adults in New Jersey’s 7th District graduated from college. Only 17 percent in California’s 10th District did.
Third Way’s deep dive into the mid-term 2018 battlegrounds analyzed the impact of 65 House districts they labeled as potential “Majority Makers.” Relying upon detailed demographic research, Third Way divided these swing districts into four categories: Thriving Suburban Communities, Left Behind Areas, Diverse/Fast-Growing Regions, and Non-Conformist Districts.
“The most important takeaway is that there is no one kind of voter or district that can deliver the House for Democrats in 2018,” said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, vice president for social policy and politics at Third Way. “There’s been a lot of focus on suburban districts. There’s no doubt that those are important, but there are not enough of them to win the House.”
Hatalsky emphasized that Democrats still would not win the House even if they could get every single 2016 Clinton voter who backed a Republican House candidate to turn out again in 2018 and cross over.
“You can’t get to a House majority without winning over Trump voters,” she said. “There are some people who definitely want to believe that they can, because they still don’t know how to deal with Trump voters and are intimidated by the idea of appealing to them.”