Wednesday, October 24, 2018
With two weeks to go, Republican leaders and President Trump are increasingly bullish about Republican voters and moderate independents rallying behind the party's candidates rather than taking a chance on a Democratic challenger or a Democratic-controlled House. A healthy economy, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh's confirmation fight and, most recently, a migrant caravan threatening the border have energized supporters at rallies and candidate forums.
While Democrats remain favored to pick up House seats, many of the 70 most competitive House races are now exceptionally close. Polls show a majority of registered voters lean Democratic, and Democratic turnout could continue to break records -- yet it could also be concentrated in predictable Democratic strongholds rather than crucial swing districts. Lost in all the talk about a Democratic blue wave is a set of sober reality checks -- that may help Republicans reduce their losses, and possibly even retain their 23-seat majority.
In many neighborhoods with key House races, daily life is pretty good. Unemployment is at a five-decade low. Confidence is spilling over among consumers and businesses. The economy is on track to grow at its fastest pace in years.
Those developments benefit people whom Democrats have targeted, too: Women in upscale, right-of-center, white suburbs where Hillary Clinton edged out a victory; Trump voters in struggling rural and industrial areas with deep Democratic roots; and minorities in racially diverse metro areas.
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