Historically, the president’s party is at a disadvantage in midterm elections. In 2018, however, there are not nearly as many vulnerable members – those from the president’s party in congressional districts won by his opponent – than there have been in a quarter century.
Today, there are 23 House Republicans in congressional districts Hillary Clinton won and just 12 House Democrats representing districts President Donald Trump won. In 2009, there were 49 Democrats in districts John McCain won and 34 Republican members in districts President Barack Obama won. These numbers were even higher in previous years. In 2001, there were 43 Democrats in George W. Bush districts and 42 Republicans in Al Gore districts. In 1993, there were 50 Republicans in Bill Clinton districts and 53 Democrats in George H.W. Bush districts.
Though lower in number, there will still be a focus on these 35 House members in split districts. As 2018’s top targets, they will feel pressure from all sides. And their actions in debates like those on tax reform, ObamaCare, and other hot button issues will shape the contours of the midterm election campaigns and play a big role in determining the outcome at the ballot box.