Republicans shut out Democrats in Texas’s special election. That’s a bad omen for Team Blue.
The magnitude of the implied pro-GOP shift is probably too high, but even a mild drift in seats such as this would cost Democrats their congressional majorities. Democratic data analyst David Shor recently analyzed the historical trends between generic ballot polling in the first quarter after a president’s inauguration to the result for his party in the ensuing midterm. He found that on average, the incumbent’s party standing dropped about four points in that time period, and that the party drops more support the larger its initial percentage is. This pattern was significantly broken only in 2002, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed political loyalties, and it was mildly broken in 1998, likely due to the effort to impeach Bill Clinton. Shor projects that Democrats will win 48 percent of the midterm vote. If that does happen, and Texas’s special election suggests it will, Democrats could lose 10 to 20 House seats and probably the Senate majority as well.