Will the progressive movement help Democrats take back the House?
In a majority of polls out, Democrats have approximately 11-point lead over Republicans in upcoming races for the U.S. House of Representatives.
This is only slightly lower than the advantage Democrats had in 2006 when they did take back the House.
Now, lawmakers return to Washington to finish a few weeks of work before heading back to their respective districts to start hitting the campaign trail hard before November.
Democrats have quite a bit in their favor heading into this midterm election — what some have deemed as insight into the American public’s view of President Donald Trump. Democrats have outraised Republican counterparts and have been helped by ongoing issues within the Republican party.
Those issues, such as the conviction of Trump’s former campaign manager, a battle with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) that continued even during memorials for the late senator and Trump’s approval ratings which have come close to near-record lows, have hung like an anchor around the necks of some Republican candidates for Congress.
Trump’s approval ratings have hovered between 36 percent and 41 percent.
“We are going to wake up and run every day as if we’re down 10 points. We’re leaving nothing to chance. But we’re confident with our great candidates who are talking about the issues that actually matter to voters, we’re going to defy history,” said Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, to The Hill.
According to the Cook Political Report, 41 House seats are listed as “toss up or worse” with only three of those being held by Democrats. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has 45 seats listed similarly while Inside Elections has 85 seats in play with only 10 of those being held by Democrats.
One factor here could be the resurgence of progressive Democrats. Most recently Rep. Michael Capuano conceded to his Democrat challenger Ayanna Pressley in the Massachusetts primary, making him the latest House veteran to be taken down by a progressive candidate.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez knocked off incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-New York) in an earlier primary. While not a House race, in Florida, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum won the Democrat nomination over former congresswoman Gwen Graham. Gillum was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a self-described progressive.
And established Democrats aren’t the only ones feeling the wave of anti-establishment candidates as Reps. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) and Robert Pittenger (R-North Carolina) were also unseated in their respective primaries.
The wave could also be fueled by an American public looking for more checks and balances to Trump’s administration.
In a poll conducted by ABC and The Washington Post, 60 percent of those polled said they preferred a Democrat Congress. On the same note, a USA Today/Suffolk poll found that 58 percent of those asked wanted a Democrat Congress to stand up to Trump as opposed to 34 percent who wanted a Republican Congress that cooperated with the administration.
In recent primary elections, Democrat turn-out has outpaced Republican turn-out. In fact, Democrat turnout is up 64 percent compared to the 2014 elections while Republican turnout is only up 38 percent compared to 2014.
Over the last month, polls have indicated Democrat advantage in the House midterm elections are growing at a rapid pace.
Conversely with Senate races, Republicans still hold a slight majority over Democrats to potentially increase their slight majority.
Matthew Clark is the Executive Editor of The Daily Lead.