According to the Washington Post, Democratic strategists believe that given Trump’s disaster of a campaign that Democrats have an opportunity to win the House, the Senate and the White House. Politico reported today that Nancy Pelosi, a prolific fundraiser, had brought in $35 million in the third quarter of the fund raising cycle, $128 million over the course of the election season so far. Speaker Ryan’s own fundraising has been equally impressive, with a $30 million haul reported in September for the summer quarter.
But the circumstances of the 2016 election would seemingly set the House Democrats up to capture the 32 seats needed for Democrats to take the majority and re-elect Pelosi Speaker. But let’s look briefly at the results of the election cycles over the course of Nancy’s tenure and the strategy choices she’s made in an effort to “Take Back the House”.
Pelosi came to power after House Democrats rebelled against the failed leadership of Richard Gephardt in January 2003 after the Democrats lost 4 seats in the House. Congressmen Harold Ford, John Conyers, Jr. and others publicly called for his resignation. Pelosi ascended to Minority Leader after a contested leadership election with Rep. Martin Frost.
In her first year as Minority Leader, in 2004 the Democrats in the House lost an additional 3 seats.
In 2006, Democrats regained the House with a 31 seat gain. Democrats made minor gains in State legislatures that year.
In 2008, Democrats gained another 21 seats. They also picked up both state legislatures and governorships.
In 2010, in a dramatic shift, Democrats lost a near super-majority in both House and Senate, losing 63 seats. Democrats did pick up a few state legislatures and a few governorships but the tide was receding.
In 2012, house Democrats picked up 8 seats. But in 2014, they lost another 13. State legislatures and governorships flipped dramatically from a 27-14 Democratic advantage in both upper and lower state houses to a 24-13 Republican advantage in 2013.
Pelosi’s win loss record is a mixed bag: minor loss, dramatic win, dramatic win, dramatic loss, minor win, loss.
Given the number of states that have come into play based on the GOP’s infighting and Trump at the top of the ticket, will we see Democrats re-engage the 50 state strategy?
But the question really becomes: will Democrats dump Pelosi if they fail to win the majority in the House with all of the advantages that Trump has handed them or will they stick with a prolific fundraiser in the hopes that a shattered GOP will be so tainted as to almost ensure a majority in the 2018 off year elections?