Mitch McConnell
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Ed Kilgore looks at the polling data and the landscape for the 2018 congressional elections and makes the point that Trump isn’t as unpopular as you might like to believe and that, even if he were, the Republicans are not yet vulnerable to a 2010-like shellacking in the next midterms.

Ed’s right.

I wrote about this in a very pessimistic piece we published on February 10th. My conclusion was that we’ve arrived at a point where the Democrats can win the popular vote and lose the presidency, win the popular vote and lose seats in the Senate, and win the popular vote and not gain control of the House. The first of those just happened for the second time in the last five presidential elections, and the latter two are more likely than not to happen in 2018.

As a result, the Republicans don’t fear accountability as much as they should, and certainly are less subject to external pressure than the Democrats.

The concern I expressed is that “the Republicans’ advantages are currently so great that we cannot get any accountability…and, soon, there’s a real risk of a breakdown in public order when people finally realize that our country is no longer even passingly representative.”

For now, disgruntled Americans are marching peacefully and gently trolling town hall meetings, but this strikes me as energy that needs to see results. They haven’t yet realized what they’re up against, and if they ever do realize it there will be less peace and gentleness to their approach.

A lot of people woke up from a slumber on election day, and more people are getting mobilized against Trump every day, but the system is rigged so heavily against them that they can win the elections by millions of votes and wind up with less power than when they began, or, at least, not enough additional power to make any meaningful difference.

I don’t see how we can maintain faith in a political system like this.

As for the Democrats, they need to break out of their urban comfort zones because they’ll never win back the House or State legislatures with the geographic base that they have now. The situation was barely tolerable when it seemed like they had a lock on the White House, but it’s plainly not acceptable now.

I don’t blame the Republicans for liking this system, since it so greatly favors them, but they shouldn’t be complacent about the country’s willingness to accept their right to lead. For now, people are frustrated and fearful but they still have hope. When they realize that that hope is unfounded, there is going to be trouble.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at