One year out, moderate Dems on track to keep the House

There’s an old saying about luck that goes something like this: “I’m a great believer in luck -- the harder I work, the more I have of it.” I can tell you -- as a Democrat who flipped a seat blue in 2012 and held onto it through a series of tough elections -- it’s as true in politics as anywhere.

Last month, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE declared that Republicans would “easily take back the House.” But one year out from the midterms and one year from the 2020 election, I know he’s flat out wrong.

I know this as chair of the NewDem Action Fund – the political arm of the moderate New Democrat Coalition, the largest ideological caucus in the House. We have 104 members in the House, 32 of which are labeled “Frontline” Members by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee because they are in highly competitive seats. That means 30 percent of our Caucus is being targeted for defeat by Washington Republicans, and it’s my job to help make sure those members are primed and ready to compete.


Defending each of them is a tall order, for sure, but here’s the truth: Democrats are going to hold the House.

Here’s why:

The most obvious sign is that Democrats have held their lead in the generic ballot. Going into Election Day 2018, Democrats held a roughly 8-point advantage nationwide. Today, it’s fair to say we’ve held steady with a roughly 6-point advantage.

Last year, Democrats won in 22 districts that Hilary Clinton carried in 2016. In all, 9 million more voters backed a Democrat than a Republican, the single biggest spread in the history of midterm election. Anyone thinking that might regress should look to the constant chaos in the White House and House Republicans’ unwillingness to break with the president on anything, including national security, and the picture suddenly bodes well for us again in 2020.

Poll numbers only tell part of the story, of course. House Democrats are crushing their competition in fundraising. At the end of Q3, 33 “Frontline” Democrats had over $1 million in the bank while at least 8 challengers outraised the incumbent Republican in a competitive district.


That might be why Republican House members are retiring right and left, offering fresh pickup opportunities for Democrats. This is especially true with the midterm pick-ups and Republican retirements in Texas. To that end, the NewDem Action Fund has already backed 10 challengers taking on incumbent Republicans or Republican-held seats, all with credible paths to victory.

In a normal election year, good poll numbers, a favorable electoral landscape, and strong fundraising would be enough to tell the story, but this isn’t going to be a normal election year.

So here’s our ace in the hole: Democrats in competitive districts have winning messages and profiles that speak to the moderate, purple, and even Republican-leaning districts they just clawed back from Republican control. These Democrats made up the most diverse freshman class of members. And these Democrats ran on the pro-growth platform that defines NewDems in Congress: That everyone should have the opportunity to earn a good life no matter their zip code. Voters backed that message in 2018, and already we are seeing health care, the economy, and climate change as top issues in the 2020 cycle.

It may not grab headlines like free college or a federal jobs guarantee, but it’s actionable, long-lasting policy that can help Americans nationwide get ahead. Yes, Republicans will call Democrats socialists, but voters roundly rejected that very same playbook in 2018.

As voters get to know these Frontline Members, it will only get harder for Republicans to paint the former mayors, business leaders, non-profit executives and servicemembers who joined the U.S. House of Representatives this Congress as anything other than what they are: committed, hard-working, serious individuals who actually want to get something done.

That doesn’t mean we can take anything for granted. We have to run good races, reach our voters, and turn them out to win. Nothing comes easy in politics– not for Democrats or Republicans – but we have a winning message and strong candidates who can deliver to their constituents. The road to a majority ran through NewDems with 32 NewDems flipped seats in 2018, so it’s up to us to maintain our House majority.

We have a winning formula that will prove the president wrong in 2020.

Rep. Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraLawmakers frustrated with lack of emergency funds for coronavirus Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — Trump officials to allow Medicaid block grants | WHO declares emergency over coronavirus | CDC reports first coronavirus case that spread in US WHO declares public health emergency over coronavirus MORE represents the 7th District of California and is chair of the NewDem Action Fund.