Bruce Mehlman Predicts DC Disruption With Upcoming Midterm Elections

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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  • The 2018 midterm elections resemble 2006 and 2010 election cycles when the House flipped, argues Bruce Mehlman, a Republican strategist who worked under former president George W. Bush.
  • Forecasts favor the Democrats, but the GOP has factors like the improved economy on its side.
  • He added that “the losing side may not accept defeat quietly.”

Disruption is coming to Washington, D.C., thanks to the upcoming midterm election, a “fraught” lame duck session and a rookie 116th Congress, Republican strategist Bruce Mehlman argued Monday.

Forecasters like FiveThirtyEight and PredictIt are predicting that Democrats will take back the House of Representatives, and the Democrats have factors like a long-time generic ballot lead in their favor, according to a presentation from Mehlman. The GOP, however, has factors like the improved economy and the historically older and less diverse midterm electorate working to its advantage.

Either way, a “near-record number of House members” are choosing to retire rather than run for 2018 re-election, which means a large freshman class will be coming in as lots of House committee leadership turns over as well. Fifteen to 25 percent of the House will be rookies, Mehlman said.

Likely to stand out in this incoming freshman class are Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in a June primary election.

A Blue Wave?

Mehlman compared the 2018 elections to the 2006 and 2010 elections, when the percentage of “at risk” seats was similar to 2018’s numbers — and the House flipped in both examples.

Regarding the Senate, Mehlman highlighted that in nine out of 13 of the closest Senate races, Democratic incumbents are defending their seats, and most are likely to weather their Republican challengers.

However the midterms go, “the losing side may not accept defeat quietly,” Mehlman wrote. The Democrats will “allege GOP illegalities in every election” by blaming Russian hackers, gerrymandering, billionaires and voter suppression, he wrote. Meanwhile, the Republicans are likely to blame the mainstream media, social media platforms, the Deep State, illegal immigrants and Chinese hackers.

A Democrat-led House will try to have “aggressive oversight” over Trump’s administration and industries like tech and health care, Mehlman wrote. They’ll try to reverse Trump by blocking deregulation, judge nominees and efforts to unravel the Affordable Care Act. Democrats will “rally the base” with reforms like gun control and Medicare-for-all.

115th Congress’s Last Breaths

Mehlman predicts that the 115th Congress’s lame duck session will deal with a flurry of issues, foremost among them funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall and the load of nominees awaiting Senate confirmation.

Government funding is set to run out again Dec. 7, according to Roll Call.

“Trump may veto spending bill that fails to significantly fund border wall,” Mehlman wrote. (RELATED: WaPo Calls Out The New York Times For Having No Minority Reporters Covering White House)

Mehlman also predicts that Trump will double down on his disruptive social media use when election season is most heated and then turn his focus to fulfilling campaign promises, like ending the Affordable Care Act and remaking global trade.

Mehlman is a partner at lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti and was assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy under former president George W. Bush.

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