On Tuesday, Democrats picked up a state Senate seat in Wisconsin in a special election. So what? This district was heavily Republican — Trump won the district in 2016 by 17 points, and the former Republican representative, who just vacated her seat to become Governor Scott Walker’s agriculture secretary, won the seat in 2016 by 26%.
On Tuesday, the Democrat, Patty Scachtner, won the district by a whopping nine points. As Huffington Post reports, “with the win in Wisconsin, there are 34 districts that have flipped from red to blue since Trump’s inauguration.” Governor Walker signaled his concern:
Daniel Nichanian, a postdoctoral student at University of Chicago, tweeted out additional results from last night:
Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight also suggested that Republicans are in trouble:
And Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics called this a “five alarm fire.”
Republicans are staring down the barrel of an electoral gun in 2018. The average midterm election loss for the party of the president is 25 House seats. Republicans cannot lose 24 seats, or they lose the majority. Right now, over 30 Republicans have announced they’re leaving their seats, either to retire or run for a different office. That’s a solid number of open seats — and that number is likely to grow.
Some of this is undoubtedly due to President Trump’s unpopularity — as Gallup reports:
Since 1946, when presidents are above 50% approval, their party loses an average of 14 seats in the U.S. House in the midterm elections, compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below that mark.
Trump is currently riding in the high 30s, according to the RealClearPolitics poll average. That bodes ill. And he’s galvanized Democrats to show up at the polls. All of which is why Republicans are more than a bit discomfited by Trump’s penchant for stepping on political landmines, even if it thrills his base.