NRCC chairman predicts House will flip to GOP if Dems nominate Sanders

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NRCC chairman Rep. Tom Emmer predicts the House will flip to GOP control if Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders:

“The Democrats’ embrace of socialism is going to cost their majority in the House and they know that,” Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., told “America’s Newsroom.”

Emmer said that there is a “panic” among Democrats who flipped seats to blue in 2018.

“They’re looking to have to defend an extreme radical socialist left agenda that, quite frankly, doesn’t represent mainstream America and doesn’t represent their district. This is why they’re going to lose their majority and they’re aware of it,” he said.

But CNN’s Chris Cillizza has a piece today arguing the contrary. Cillizza cites election analyst Nathan Gonzales who recently wrote at Roll Call that GOP control of the House looks far from a sure bet even with Sanders as the nominee:

On paper and in theory, Republicans’ chances of winning back the House look pretty good. But a district-by-district analysis reveals much longer odds, even if the Democrats nominate Bernie Sanders for president.

Republicans need a net gain of 18 House seats for the majority. Considering 30 Democrats represent districts President Donald Trump carried in 2016, it would appear the GOP is well-positioned for a takeover.

In reality, the number of seats Republicans need to gain is closer to 21 because the party is likely to lose two seats in North Carolina under its new district lines, as well as Rep. Will Hurd’s seat in Texas. In addition, not all of those 30 Trump districts are currently hosting competitive races.

Neither Cillizza nor Gonzalez are saying a GOP takeover can’t happen. They are mostly saying that it’s far from certain at this point so it’s best to wait for more data before reaching any conclusions.

Now, to be clear: National dynamics have historically been shown to affect House races disproportionately more than Senate races. And if Sanders winds up as the nominee, there is of course the possibility that some of his views wind up affecting the overall Democratic brand and impacting down-ballot races.

But at the moment, there isn’t much evidence to suggest that all of the hand-wringing among congressional Democrats about Sanders is warranted.

That seems reasonable, but I can’t help but think of what happened to Jeremy Corbyn. His true believers were still expecting him to pull out a win on election day but when all was said and done the result was a historic blowout. I do think something similar is possible with Sanders as the nominee. As Allahpundit pointed out earlier, Sanders’ nomination will push some Republicans and Democrats to vote for Trump. He could also discourage some moderates from showing up at the polls at all. If that happens there will be an impact on down-ballot Democrats.


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