Raising the Standard at UGA since 2013.

The Threat to the House GOP Majority That Wasn’t

The 114th United States Congress at the Capitol.

The 2016 election cycle has been strange to say the least, even by the standards of American politics. The rise of the non-traditional politician in Donald Trump and the strong support received by self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders epitomize this trend. And still, all both of these were before the general election, which certainly will not be one to forget. In the wake of the unusual primary season, the Democratic National Committee eyed a fight to retake majorities in the House and Senate.

Following the end of the presidential primaries in June, the high hopes of a new Democratic majority in the House were warranted. The chaos of the Republican primary had undoubtedly damaged the GOP due to the behavior of Donald Trump coupled with the rumored efforts of GOP insiders to sabotage his campaign. This negative spike in Republican favorability harmed GOP fundraising, while also triggering considerable spikes in fundraising for Democrats. The resulting cash shortage hurt Republican down-ballot campaigns, especially at the House level, where Democrats had already been recruiting a strong batch of candidates.

With that in mind, Republican leaders have been bracing themselves for a tough fight as well. Representative Greg Walden, Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), recently increased the war chest of the NRCC by $200,000 following a rough summer which saw the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) outraise the NRCC by $7 million in July, bringing his total contributions this cycle up to $2.4 million.

As the final stretch to the General Election begins, interim-DNC chief Donna Brazile has doubled down, sending $2.5 million to the DCCC to “out-organize and out-mobilize Republicans…to make sure we win more seats in the House.” This strategy involves a focus on expanding operations in traditionally red states such as Georgia, Arizona, and Utah in which Hillary Clinton is expected to perform well.

Nonetheless, the odds of Republicans retaining their majority in the House continues to grow as Election Day approaches. Donald Trump’s poll numbers have been rising and many of the Democrats candidates simply haven’t received the level of support that they expected. Five seats have been identified as good indicators of whether or not the Democrats will ultimately retake the majority in November and in each of these five cases, the odds don’t look good for the Democrats. All but one of the districts has been controlled by Republicans for years, all are relatively moderate, and all but one is suburban.

These trends lead to the conclusion that, despite how strong the Democrats might have seemed in June, the likelihood that the GOP will still hold a majority of seats in the House after the election is high. Nevertheless, the presidential polls will continue to shift until November 8 and the performances of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are undoubtedly the most important variable to the race for the House.

— Christopher Lipscomb is a freshman studying international affairs. He is a First-Time Contributor to THE ARCH CONSERVATIVE.

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