Dems have 'new lease on life' after midterm victories in states Trump won, says expert

Democrats have newfound optimism following midterm victories in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE won in 2016, Brookings Institution fellow Elaine Kamarck said on Friday.

"I think Democrats really feel they're catching up, and I really feel that Democrats have a sort of new lease on life," Kamarck, who is also the director of the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking."

She pointed to the governor's races in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, noting that those are three states that former Secretary of State Hillary Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic insiders stay on the sidelines in 2020 race Hillicon Valley: Twitter falling short on pledge to verify primary candidates | Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report | DHS cyber chief focused on 2020 The Hill's Campaign Report: High stakes at last Democratic debate before Super Tuesday MORE had been expected to win in 2016. Trump's unexpected victory in 2016 was due in large part to his ability to break through the so-called blue wall in those states.

"They all are now in control of Democratic governors," Kamarck said. "I think that's making Democrats feel really optimistic in the future."

During last week's midterm elections, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was unseated by Democratic challenger Tony Evers, while Gretchen Whitmer (D) defeated the Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) in that state's gubernatorial race.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) successfully defended his seat, deflecting a challenge from Republican Scott Wagner.

— Julia Manchester