Senate Republicans becoming more bullish on their electoral prospects in November

With Donald Trump's approval rating going up and the economy stronger than it has been in 2 decades, Senate Republicans believe their prospects for holding on to their slim, one vote majority to be improving by the day.

Democrats appear perfectly content to shoot themselves in the foot with regularity as voters tire of their intensely exaggerated complaints about the president and see the opposition in full blow obstructionist mode.

But with 5 months still to go before election day, the GOP well knows that anything can happen.

New York Times:

Not everyone in the G.O.P. is as bullish, with worries that the president’s capacity for political self-sabotage, the Democrats’ fund-raising advantage and the anti-Trump intensity propelling the left will make it difficult to do much more than break even and protect its one-seat Senate majority.

But that Republicans are even discussing the prospect of gaining Senate seats, in the first midterm campaign of a president whose approval rating has never reached 50 percent, illustrates the wildly divergent electoral landscapes for the House and the Senate.

While the fight for control of the House is playing out mainly in the affluent and highly educated suburban districts that have been hotbeds of anti-Trump fervor, many of them on the coasts, the Senate campaign is taking place on much more Trump-friendly terrain. Six of the most competitive Senate races are in states he carried by double digits: Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. (Democrats hold all of those seats except Tennessee’s.)

A major question looming over the 2018 Senate contest is whether so-called wave election years — in which one party makes significant gains in both chambers of Congress, as happened in 1994 and 2006 — can still exist as the country grows more polarized and politics more shaped by hardening party preferences. With ticket-splitting fading, especially in federal races, voters are increasingly turning to lawmakers who reflect the presidential leanings of their state.

That could spell trouble for Democrats representing largely conservative electorates and states where surveys show that, unlike in much of the country, the president is viewed more favorably than unfavorably.

Are voters getting used to Donald Trump? It may be that Trump's unique presidential style - jarring in its vulgarity and crudeness - is being accepted by voters as the way things are and complaining about it is useless. The constant harping from Democrats about Russian "collusion" - without presenting any evidence whatsoever that the charges have merit - is also wearing thin on the voter.

In short, a combination of improving presidential performance numbers and the Democrat's anti-Trump hysteria might allow the GOP to pick up one or two seats in the Senate. It is also improving prospects that Republican can maintain their control in the House, although the number of open seats due to retirement is working against Republicans in many key swing districts.

The electoral landscape may flip again by election day, what with all the variables and Trump's mercurial personality. But Republicans should be gratified that what they thought would be a summer of woe may turn into summer of hope.


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