Opinion | Markos Moulitsas

Moulitsas: Get ready for a Dem takeover

Moulitsas: Get ready for a Dem takeover

Whether you think Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE won or lost Sunday night’s debate really depends on your point of view. If you thought Trump’s job was to expand his base of support in order to become electorally viable, then he lost, and lost big. On the other hand, if his job was to rally his troops in the face of establishment rebellion, then he absolutely crushed it. 

But either way, it’s Democrats who won big.

The outside world might blanch at an American politician claiming he would jail his political opponent, but this was exactly the shot in the arm that frothing Trump partisans needed Sunday night. And their rabid support was exactly what Trump needed, as he fended off a party establishment looking to opportunistically drop him as their nominee in the wake of his “grab them by the p---y” tape released Friday.

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The scientific snap polls confirmed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Monica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' Virginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP MORE’s big win at the debate, with a CNN poll giving her a dominant 57 percent to 34 percent victory, and Monday polling uniformly showed big movement toward the Democratic standard-bearer — even before the 2005 sexual assault comments and debate results could be baked in. The polling aggregate has gone from a Clinton lead of 3 to 4 points to nearly 7 points Monday night. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted after Trump’s sexual assault comments came out gave Clinton a hearty 14-point lead, 52 percent to 38 percent. 

But if we’re being honest, Clinton clinched the presidency a long time ago. All the drama is at the congressional level, where down-ballot Republicans have been trying to avoid the worst of the Trump taint. 

But no longer. 

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Strategists from both parties claim that their private polling shows Republicans in more dire straits than the public data show. Former National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) head Tom Reynolds admitted GOP polling was already heading south before the latest Trump scandal. Republican strategist Steve Schmidt said that “numbers are coming in for the Senate races and they’re falling through the floor,” referring to close contests in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida and New Hampshire. If Democrats picked up those five seats plus their two guaranteed pick-ups in Illinois and Wisconsin, it would give them a 53-47 majority. A 55-45 majority doesn’t look unreasonable, given Democrats’ strengthening hand in Indiana, Arizona and Nevada, the party’s sole defensive seat. 

But the Senate map was always going to be tough for Republicans in this presidential year. The real shocker is that the House is suddenly and legitimately in play. 

Given Republican gerrymandering in 2010, a Daily Kos data analysis shows that Democrats would have to win the aggregate House popular vote by at least 7 points, and more likely 8, to swing the chamber. And that’s where the numbers are currently headed. 

The polling aggregate currently gives Democrats about a 5-point lead, with that latest NBC/WSJ poll clocking in at 7 points. Referencing those numbers, GOP strategist Mike Murphy tweeted, “I’ve seen even worse numbers in internal GOP tracking.” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the NRCC’s current chairman, admitted in a Republican call that the numbers were “not good [and] trending worse.” And journalist Jon Ward wrote after Sunday’s debate, “A few minutes after midnight, a House leadership aide texted me: ‘House in play.’ I asked if this was based on any actual data. Yes, the aide said.”

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Trump’s base-rallying debate performance guarantees that endangered Republicans cannot easily distance themselves from their nominee, lest they unleash the fury of Trump’s basket of deplorables. They are damned if they stick with him, and damned if they don’t. 

Democrats win either way. 

 

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.