A new analysis from National Review’s Jim Geraghty highlights key areas where the media’s reporting about the upcoming 2018 midterm elections is off.
Before diving in, it’s important to take a look at how the media’s narrative regarding the upcoming 2018 elections has evolved since Donald Trump won the presidential election:
1. After Trump won the election, the GOP went 5-0 in special elections.
- Media’s narrative: Will the Democrats ever win again? Georgia Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff closing the gap in a district Trump won in 2016 proves that Trump is becoming increasingly unpopular.
2. Democrats win big in Virginia's November 2017 elections.
- Media’s narrative: Democrats are back, blue wave building, America rejects Trump.
3. Democrat Doug Jones beats Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special election in December.
- Media’s narrative: Democrats are going to blow out Republicans in 2018, entire country rejects Trump, impeachment to follow.
There are problems with the media's narrative surrounding all three of these key events leading up the 2018 midterm elections:
1. The first building block that the Democrats and the media used in their efforts to shape the national narrative heading into the 2018 elections was Jon Ossoff's loss in Georgia's special election in June 2017. Make no mistake, the loss was bad. Vox, a far-left publication, wrote a piece titled "Why Jon Ossoff’s loss is bad news for Democrats’ 2018 hope," which stated:
Democrat Jon Ossoff ran a campaign with unprecedented support from national grassroots donors, faced an opponent with a controversial history at a popular charity, and managed to escape a turbulent six-month race relatively scandal-free.
It wasn’t enough.
Democrats will spin Tuesday night’s loss as a product of the Georgia Sixth’s historically Republican leaning. They’ll note that former Rep. Tom Price won the seat by more than 20 points this fall, and that Democrats haven’t held the seat for several decades. All of that is true.
But a basic fact of the race — which its Republican voting history doesn’t negate — is that this was a district that looked prepared to revolt against President Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton only lost the district by one point in 2016, and voters here supported Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the Republican primary.
Ossoff received significantly more free publicity from national media than his opponents did as the Democratic Party desperately tried to score a win that they could use to build a narrative. With left-wing Antifa terrorists attacking colleges, Kathy Griffin beheading Trump in a photo, and the Democrats continuing to push radical left-wing policies, the people of Georgia rejected Ossoff. Still, as Vox predicted, the media and the Democrats did spin the devastating loss as a small win because at least they made up ground on the Republican who won the seat by 20 points.
2. The Democrats won big in Virginia's November 2017 elections, as they were supposed to. The state was already blue and has slowly been becoming bluer for a while now and voted for Clinton in 2016. This was the key event the Democrats and the media needed to officially change the narrative to "voters reject Trump," even though Trump was not on the ballot. Democrats were favored to win as the states' changing demographics favored the Democrats. To claim that this was an indicator of a coming "blue wave" is simply overstating the truth.
3. The media's narrative went from "possible blue wave coming" to "America rejects Trump, Democrats are taking back Washington" when Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in Alabama's special election this last December. Republican leadership sabotaged Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) who would have won by 20 points in his run for the seat. Trump warned Alabamans that they should vote for Luther Strange because he would win and that Roy Moore would have a tough time. Alabamans did not listen. The Democrats, with dark money from Soros, were barely able to beat Moore. Moore had no support from the Republican Party, was an accused pedophile, faced a heavily-funded opponent, and faced a 24/7 attack from the media who also kept Doug Jones out of the spotlight — and he still nearly won. The special election was such a fluke and a fiasco that the State of Alabama is voting to end special elections altogether. So no, the media's and the Democrat's narrative surrounding what happened in Alabama is not accurate, not even close.
Now, let's look at Geraghty's piece from National Review:
In the coming months, you’re going to hear a lot of analysts repeating that “(at least) 34 House Republicans have announced they’re retiring or running for a different office,” and that “Democrats need to pick up just 24 seats to win back control of the House of Representatives.” That’s accurate as far as it goes. In addition, for the past three cycles, the midterm elections have gone badly for the president’s party.
But there’s an angle that isn’t getting nearly as much discussion: A significant number of those retiring House Republicans represent districts where the GOP traditionally wins, and about half of them are districts where the GOP candidate usually wins by a wide margin. A seat-by-seat analysis suggests that Democrats have only about 14 to 15 really good opportunities to pick up open seats — and that Republicans might snag some open seats from the Democrats, too.
If Democrats pick up 14 to 15 House seats in 2018 then Republicans maintain control, and as Geraghty notes, Republicans may actually pick up seats in some Democratic districts. This is not some fantasy either; even far-left Slate reports that Republicans are projected to maintain control of the House in 2018. The forecast for Senate races is much more stable as Republicans are projected to maintain control there, and could actually pick up a seat or two.