The Corner

Elections

More Expectations Games

Yesterday I noted that Rahm Emanuel was pretending that midterm elections often go well for the party in power when there is a good economy, suggesting that he was trying to make Republican losses look worse when they materialize.

Today I see that RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is doing the same thing in reverse: making some possible gains for her party in the election look like more amazing accomplishments than they would be. The RNC just sent around a Fox Business clip highlighting her comment that “we will keep the Senate and perhaps expand and gain seats which is unprecedented in that first midterm of a first-term president.”

The president’s party gained seats in the first midterm in 1934, 1962, and 2002. It’s not unprecedented, although it is less common than losing seats. And this year’s Senate races are on extremely good terrain for Republicans: Karl Rove has written, “This is the most favorable Senate map for the party in the White House since senators were first popularly elected in 1914.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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