The conventional wisdom these days is that Donald Trump is going to take down the Republican Party.
The thinking: A Trump nomination would lead to massive devastation up and down the ballot.
And, you know, it might.
Hillary Clinton leads Trump by more than six points in the latest averages compiled by RealClearPolitics. Bernie Sanders tops him by 10.
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Either way, that begins to move into landslide territory, and Trump’s national numbers are slipping of late, not growing.
But allow me to interrupt this yet-another-rage-against-Trump with a reality check: The party most under pressure these days, as NPR’s Mara Liasson pointed out this week, is the Democrats.
Consider this: If the Democrats lose in November, it’ll be goose egg time. The House and Senate most likely will still be controlled by Republicans — unless Trump undermines his party. How likely that is remains to be seen. Trump’s wins on Super Tuesday, for instance, appeared to have no impact on congressional primaries in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.
Republican incumbents all won renomination in those states. Those awaiting an anti-Washington surge left disappointed.
These days, it’s the Democrats who are in real pain. The party of Barack Obama has lost more seats during his tenure than any president in history. Hundreds of Democrats have gone down to defeat during the Obama years.
In the Senate, Democrats have dropped from 60 seats to 46. In the House, Democrats have dipped from 257 seats to 188, Liasson said. Today, Democrats hold nine fewer governorships than they did in 2009 and just 18 altogether.
But that isn’t all. If you focus on even more local races, the picture for Democrats grows bleaker still. Republicans control 55 percent of the nation’s state Senate seats and 56 percent of the state House seats, where they lead Democrats 3,029 to 2,328, according to Ballotpedia.
Across the country, Republicans hold 25 “trifectas,” or the governorship, the Senate and House in a single state. Kansas is one of those. Democrats control but six. That’s a big deal because trifectas give one party decisive roles in passing legislation.
(The goose egg scenario applies to Missouri Democrats as well. If their candidate for governor, Chris Koster, loses in November, they are in the wilderness, as Republicans are destined to retain control of the General Assembly.)
All this speaks to the GOP’s ability to turn out voters even in midterm elections, when the majority of governorships and state legislative seats are on the line.
Obama has noted more than once that this is a problem for Democrats.
“Young people, African-Americans, Latinos, we just oftentimes don’t vote during midterms,” he said.
There’s lots of blame to be spread around for the Democrats’ shortcomings. The party hasn’t focused enough on state legislative races, and they haven’t spent enough either. The Republicans walloped the Democrats in the once-a-decade redistricting process a few years ago.
This year, of course, the presidency isn’t the only office on the line. So is a newly vacated U.S. Supreme Court seat.
Voters, meanwhile, are having increasing doubts about how much they trust Clinton, and that email thing isn’t going away. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri this week complained about a Clinton “enthusiasm gap” that needs addressing.
Democrats should be shaking in their boots.