How Democrats can keep the House: 5 theories

The new conventional wisdom is that the GOP will win control of the House in November — but certain pundits think it's far from a done deal

U.S. House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
(Image credit: Getty)

Democratic strategists and party insiders are privately bracing themselves to lose control of the House (and possibly the Senate) in the fall elections, Politico reports, as the already fragile economic recovery shows signs of sputtering out. "The reality is that [the House majority] is probably gone," says one unidentified Democratic pollster. Is there any way Democrats could still overcome Republican enthusiasm and Tea Party fervor to hold the House? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the Democrats' midterm message.) Here are five suggestions:

1. Outspend the GOP

The biggest reason "Republicans shouldn't start counting their chickens" is the Democrats' money advantage, says Reid Wilson in National Journal. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Democratic National Committee have a financial edge, as do most of the vulnerable Democratic incumbents — allowing them to buy more ads and fund voter turnout operations, "another area in which Democrats have a clear advantage."

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2. Out-GOP the Republicans on tax cuts

"Obama and Democrats have to redraw the battle lines for the midterms," says Robert Shrum in The Week, and that means "being bold enough" to very publicly take on the GOP over tax cuts. "Demand that the tax cuts be made permanent for most Americans, but not for the top 2 percent," then push for even more tax breaks for the "hard-pressed middle class." If the GOP backs the rich, "that's a choice to fight an election on."

3. Define the "GOP Tea Party" as toxic

Hard times call for hard politics, and as unpalatable and "cynical" as it sounds, "Dems should go hard negative," says Taylor Marsh in her eponymous blog. "Slam the GOP Tea Party hard, non-stop, every day using faces and soundbites" to make the party of Sarah Palin, Rush, and Glenn Beck "untouchable" to the moderates and independents already "disgusted with the wacky tack right of the GOP."

4. Embrace "politicking"

"It is too late to turn the midterm election into a triumph" for the Democrats, says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post, but they can salvage their congressional majorities by "politicking" — selling the huge accomplishments they've achieved and standing up for "what they believe." Obama has dismissed politicking in recent months, but governing without it is impossible, and Obama's lack of salesmanship has left a hole the GOP eagerly filled.

5. Let Republicans destroy themselves

"I can think of only one reason for Democrats to be hopeful: The internal chaos within the Republican Party," says Byron Williams in the San Jose Mercury News. The country's in "an angry, 'throw the bums out' disposition," but that anger's a "double-edge sword for the Republican Party." Just look at who angry GOP voters have picked, and kicked out, so far. Dems' best bet may be to stand back and let the GOP paint itself into an hard-right corner.

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