The Cycle | March 06, 2013
>>> president obama desperately wants his party to win back the white house next year. and if you wonder why, the sequester should give you trillions of reasons why. with the two parties sorted out idea logically and philosophically. that polarization can be paralyzing. think of the feats that he racked up first two years in office. think of the stimulus, health care , ending don't ask don't tell. with how little has happened since then. so obama has figured out if he's ever going to regain the legislative momentum in 2009 and 2010 and really tackle the biggest items on his party's which list, he's going to need unified government again. which means winning back the house in 2014 . which means a full fledged coordinated push by the white house and democrats on capitol hill to pick up 17 seats two novembers from now. obviously there is nothing wrong with trying to win an election and i understand the impulse behind this. but don't get your hopes up. winning back the house would be one that's hard to see happening for three specific reasons. the first, history. midterm elections just aren't kind to the party. it's not as if the party has won big in some other lost big in others. sometimes a lot of them have been lost. sometimes not that many. in the rare instances where they have made gains, they've been model. the political world was stunned when bill clinton was crowned in 1998 . the net gain that year was just five seats. that's not even 1/3 of what democrats need next year. the second factor, geography. democratic coalition . they're growing in numbers. but geographically it's shrinking. backed more into cities. michael dukakis won more counties across the country than obama won last november. democrats can win in the presidency, but when you cut the country up into districts, republicans are going to have a big advantage. and number three, turnout. that same new democratic coalition has showed up in droves twice now. in 2008 and 2012 . but it was nowhere to be seen in 2010 or the key races of 2009 . until and unless democrats can generate presidential type excitement in nonpresidential years, they're going to be at a further disadvantage. just because something hasn't happened before , doesn't mean it never will happen. but what obama is planning to pull off would be extraordinary. if democrats do manage to win back the house, there is still the matter of the senate. without 60 votes there even controlling the house is just not going to matter that much. so yes, it definitely makes sense for obama and his party to push hard in 2014 . as long as they keep in mind the long odds they're up against and as long as they have a plan "b" in mind.