Democrats appear to be doing dramatically better not only in suburban areas, but also in rural GOP
But a good political analyst doesn't focus so much on wins and losses, but margin. Size does matter in politics, at least in predicting future elections While it is hard to get the data, a recent report indicates
that, since Trump's election, state legislative seats are, on average, swinging 27 points in favor of Democrats. That means GOP candidates are doing on average 13.5% worse, while Democrats are doing 13.5% better.
If those trends continue, how could they affect the Indiana General Assembly? Right now the Republicans dominate both chambers, 70-30 in the House and 40-10 in the Senate. Indiana is about a 57-43 GOP state, so those numbers far exceed what one might expect if the maps were not so gerrymandering. But even gerrymandering has its limits, particularly when faced with what appears to be a wave election coming in 2018.
In my analysis, I looked at the last election results and adjusted them for varying electoral swings. In the Indiana House, of course, all 100 seats are up for election. If there is a 20 point swing (which means Democratic candidate gains 10% while the Republican loses 10%), then the House goes from 70-30 to 60-40. With a 22 point swing, the Indiana House is 57-43 Republican; a 24 point swing makes it 55-43. It would take a 30 point swing for the House to become a 50-50 body.
My analysis might understate things as I only looked at those districts in which the incumbent had a major party challenger the last race. What we've found in the recent anti-Trump/anti-GOP trend is that Democrats are running candidates and winning in districts so heavily Republican that the Democratic Party did not even bother to field a candidate in the last election. So there could be more districts out there that the Democrats could win...assuming the party can find strong candidates.
But what about the 40-10 Senate? Twenty-five seats are up in 2018, and by my count 22 of those are held by Republicans. Again, looking at the GOP incumbents who faced challengers last time, there are a lot of opportunities for Democratic gains. Scores of Senate Republicans up in 2018 are in relatively tight districts. With just over a 21 point swing, Democrats win 7 seats. In a 28 swing environment, Democrats win 10 seats held by Republicans.
While there are numerous Republican seats up this time that Democrats could win, to get to even the Democrats would have to run candidates and win several previously uncontested state senate districts. Given the numbers and that only half the Senate is up every two years, it would be virtually impossible for the Democrats to win Senate control in one election.
During President Obama's eight years in office, Republicans won control of 1,000 state legislative seats formerly held by Democrats. That trend appears to be dramatically reversing. Trump may easily eclipse Obama's dubious record, assuming Trump could actually get re-elected in 2020.
On Election Night 2016, I said that a President Donald Trump will prove to be the greatest thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party. With virtually every election since, my prediction is getting closer to becoming reality.