WASHINGTON — There are some misleading generalizations circulating about the midterm elections, according to a leading public policy expert.
- No certainties as it relates to 2018 midterm elections
- Election expert: Not all races are a referendum on Trump
- Public policy expert says Republicans could overperform
- DECISION 2018: Full Spectrum News coverage of the midterm elections and beyond
You may have heard that Democrats will take back the House of Representatives in a "blue wave." Though they have a good chance, it would be foolish for them to take the 2018 midterm election for granted, because surprises can happen.
"It does look like this year, Republicans will lose a fair number of House seats in this race, but it's not a certainty and it's not certain (whether) Republicans will lose enough seats in the House such that they lose their majority," said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Hudak studies campaigns and elections. He said it's possible that Republicans will overperform.
"Since the 1930s, the party of the president has lost House seats in a midterm every midterm year except two of them, in 1998 and 2002. While we have an unpopular president right now, we do have a booming economy, and so those two forces can offset each other in some ways," Hudak said.
Another misconception: All or most Republicans are aligning themselves with President Donald Trump and that they can't be successful without being deferential to the party leader.
"A smaller number of Republican candidates than you would traditionally think are even mentioning Donald Trump on their website. The media often covers the high profile example of people who do, but there is a large army of Republicans who don't," Hudak said.
There has also been plenty of attention this cycle on far-left progressive candidates, but Hudak said this intense focus doesn't accurately portray the Democratic Party as it is today.
"It's important to remember, too, that of all of the Democratic House seats that have candidates running for re-election, only two sitting members of Congress were defeated in their primary. One of those was a progressive beaten by another progressive. Yes, current Democratic politics have pushed some candidates to the left, but there hasn't been this massive defeat of the establishment that I think some in left-wing politics would like you to believe," he said.
And remember: All politics is local. Every race is not necessarily a referendum on Trump. Some voters will step into the booth with their mind on who can best represent their community.