There is growing racial and ethnic diversity in the House and Senate. In the 107th Congress there were 36 Blacks, 19 Hispanics and 7 Asians. In this 115th Congress there are 49 Blacks, 39 Hispanics, 15 Asians and 2 Native Americans. [Pew Research Center]

The following is a list of Senate and House losses by the President’s party in the first mid-term after his election. [Jennifer Duffy, Cook Political Report]

  President Party Senate losses House losses
1978 Jimmy Carter D D-3 D-15
1982 Ronald Reagan R R+1 R-26
1990 George HW Bush R R-1 R-8
1994 Bill Clinton D D-8 D-5
2002 George W Bush R R+1 R+8
2010 Barack Obama D D-6 D-63

Approval of the job being done by Congress is at 22% with 67% disapproving of their actions. [CBS, 2/21/17]

One of the things that the Trump White House seems to understand is the importance of good relations with the Congress, particularly the staff who effectively run the place.

During the last congressional recess the White House made good use of the bowling alleys in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, inviting various staff members – from both sides of the aisle – to enjoy bowling and food.

Small groups of congressional staff have been invited to watch departures of Marine One from the South Law of the White House.

Moreover Democrats are regularly invited to Oval Office events and rides on presidential aircraft.

The Trump team, which is being led by former senior congressional staff, is setting out to avoid the mistakes the Obama team made in the first years of his tenure. [Mike Allen, Axios, 2/26/17]

The House

[WW relies on the Cook Political Report for the House data below.]

The path to potential control of the House by the Democrats is steep to say the least. The Democrats need to capture 24 additional seats to take control. Only 23 incumbent Republican House members are in districts won by Hillary Clinton. Given the margins by which House members won their races in “Clinton” seats, it is highly unlikely that a sufficient number of those seats will change hands.

The following is from David Wasserman, the House guru at the Cook Political Report. (2/24/17)

“Ultimately, Trump’s approval rating probably needs to be at or below 35 percent for the House to flip, but that’s not out of the question. Unlike in 2016, the only outlet for voters to express disapproval of Trump will be to vote against local GOP incumbents and candidates. Democrats’ 2010 fate is instructive as to why so many GOP members are eschewing the inherent bad press of rowdy town halls in favor of webcasts and constituent tele-conferences.”

  • Democrats 194
  • Republicans 239
  • Vacancies 2
  Democrats Republicans
Safe in 2017 173 205
Likely 12 24
Lean 9 11
Tossup 2 1

In the new Congress, 87% of House Republicans will be white men, compared to just 41% of House Democrats. [Cook Political Report]

The Senate

  • Democrats 52
  • Republicans 46
  • Vacancies 2
  Democrats Republicans
Seats not up in 2018 23 44
Safe in 2018 12 7
Likely/lean in 2018 13




Note: There are unusually strong differences between the various organizations that rate Senate races. If they are accurate, the task of the Democrats to hold their existing seats let alone pick up additional seats is quite daunting. The above rankings should be considered very early.

There are 10 states that Trump won in 2016 in which Democrats are defending Senate seats in 2018. [Jennifer Duffy, Cook Political Report]

State Incumbent Margin
WV Joe Manchin Trump +42 points
ND Heidi Heitkamp Trump +36 points
MT Jon Tester Trump+20 points
IN Joe Donnelly Trump+19 points
MO Claire McCaskill Trump+19 points
OH Sherrod Brown Trump+19 points
FL Bill Nelson Trump+ 1 point
PA Bob Casey Trump+ 1 point
WI Tammy Baldwin Trump+ 1 point