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Analysis: Running Against Pelosi May Not Save the GOP This Year
Tried-and-true strategy unlikely to move the needle much in November

The Republican strategy to keep the House in 2018 includes running against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But that may not move the political needle much, Rothenberg writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It is no secret that the Republican strategy to keep the House in 2018 includes running against Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Both the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC have run television ads during special elections this cycle linking Democratic nominees to Pelosi, and GOP strategists are gleeful when they talk about the Democratic leader’s baggage and their intention to use her in their TV ads.

Analysis: The Generic Is Falling! The Generic Is Falling!
A deeper look at polling shows a fairly consistent Democratic advantage

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. warned House Democrats at their recent retreat not to be complacent about their chances for winning the majority in November. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

I hear it all the time these days. The Democratic electoral wave is petering out. The generic ballot shows the Democrats’ advantage is cratering. President Donald Trump’s job approval ratings are up. Voters are giving the president more and more credit for the economy’s strength. Lighten up, political junkies, the election is not until November. Today’s generic may not be tomorrow’s.

Moreover, the Democrats remain well-positioned to benefit from an electoral wave. This column focuses on the generic ballot, as reported and averaged by RealClearPolitics.

Analysis: The GOP Catch-22 — Donald Trump
Republicans in Congress are in a no-win situation with the president

Republicans are caught between supporting and distancing themselves from President Donald Trump as the midterms approach. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even if you think Republican leaders in Congress have shown no spine in responding to President Donald Trump’s more outrageous and inappropriate comments, you ought to be willing to acknowledge that GOP legislators are caught in a no-win situation.

It’s always tempting to tell incumbents of an unpopular president’s party to criticize their own party leader as a way to survive a midterm wave. But that strategy rarely works in competitive congressional districts when the political environment is as bad as it is for Republicans today.

Analysis: The Stunning ‘Role of Government’ Numbers
Trump years have been marked by more preference for government action

President Donald Trump's time in office has been marked by an uptick in support for government action among the public, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While most people seem fascinated by shifts in presidential job approval and national ballot tests, I’ve always thought that the “role of government” question asked in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

The responses to that question offer interesting insights into how voters see government, which, in turn, affects how they view the two parties and how they behave when the next election rolls around.

Analysis: Watch the Polls, Ignore the Post-Shutdown Chatter
Shutdown was more about hype than a political realignment

The shutdown that ended on Monday will likely only be a minor factor in November, Rothenberg writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Over the past few weeks, members of Congress, journalists and television hosts agreed on one thing: The looming government shutdown was a huge deal. Then, after the shutdown ended, those same people pontificated about who won and who lost, as well as about liberal dissatisfaction with the deal to open the government. Here is my advice: ignore most or all of this chatter.

Instead, focus on two new national polls, one from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, and the other from The Washington Post and ABC News.

The Democrats’ Savior
Donald Trump gave Democrats what they could not give themselves: unity

Protesters walk down Independence Avenue in Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, during the Women’s March. President Donald Trump has energized and united Democratic voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One year ago, as Donald Trump was preparing to take the oath of office, Democrats were in disarray. Supporters of 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were pointing fingers at each other, the Democratic National Committee was in disgrace, and Democratic voters were demoralized.

Now, Trump has succeeded in doing something extraordinary, something neither Clinton nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could do — he has united and energized Democrats.

House Seats You Think Can’t Flip but Might
Political wave elections create their own race dynamics

Rep. Sue W. Kelly lost her re-election bid in 2006 even though she appeared safe, having won two years earlier with 67 percent of the vote in a New York district carried by President George W. Bush. The result is a reminder that wave elections produce their own dynamics. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Responses to the “generic ballot” poll question suggest a partisan electoral wave is building. But the fight for control of the House isn’t a single national election. It will be fought district by district, and national Democrats face challenges on the ground even with the generic ballot favoring them.

In Michigan, according to America Votes 2007-2008, the statewide congressional vote shifted noticeably from 2004 to 2006 — from 49 percent Republican and 48 percent Democratic to 53 percent Democratic and 44 percent Republican — but that popular vote surge for the Democrats didn’t translate to a shift of even a single House seat.

The Strategy That Could Have Taken Trump Down
Trump’s opponents should have attacked his supporters instead of the candidate, expert says

Instead of attacking Donald Trump after it was too late, Republican presidential candidates should have tried to use Trump's positions to separate him from his followers, an expert on loyalty says. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

More than a dozen Republican presidential candidates spent a year of the nominating contest waiting for someone else to attack and take down Donald Trump. But the GOP contenders had a common goal with a flawed strategy: Trump’s opponents should have attacked the celebrity’s supporters instead of the candidate, an expert on loyalty says.  

“In any cult or loyal following, fractures can occur when the followers become disillusioned by the leader,” explained James Kane , a researcher and author on the concept of loyalty. “But more often, it is their awareness of their fellow followers that causes them to pull away.”  

When Trump Calls, TV Still Answers
Live TV phone interviews with Trump continue despite widespread criticism

Donald Trump spent almost 30 minutes on the phone with the moderators of two major cable television networks Friday morning, dropping one-liners at Hillary Clinton's expense and repeating phrases from recent stump speeches.  

The live phone interviews, on "Fox & Friends"  on Fox News and MSNBC's "Morning Joe,"  continue a practice that breaks a long-standing industry rule and has attracted widespread criticism over the primary campaign.  

Clinton Starts with a Decisive Advantage
Working-class whites aren't enough to carry Trump to victory

Hillary Clinton, shown here campaigning last week in Ashland, Ky., would face fewer negative factors working against her as Donald Trump does. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The warnings about jumping to conclusions about November are widespread.

I’ve heard that it’s early in the presidential race and that we underestimated Donald Trump last time so we should be careful now. I’ve also heard that Trump’s strength with working-class whites could change the electoral map, giving him a path to an Electoral College win.