I will prove my point, but first, let me trot out this bit of Washington Wisdom (known elsewhere as foolish) from Caitlin Huey-Burns and James Arkin of Real Clear Politics:
It’s a scenario weary Republican senators have grown accustomed to: On a given day, their 2016 presidential nominee stirs controversy, forcing them to interrupt their campaign schedules to respond. Donald Trump’s refusal on Wednesday night’s debate stage to say he would accept the results of the election presented yet another challenge to embattled incumbents focused on surviving the final three weeks of the campaign.
Many GOP Senate candidates have so far held steady against the weight of Trump. But their campaigns enter a new and difficult phase now that the final debate is in their rear view. With Clinton ahead by significant margins in the polls, Democrats have the knives out for down-ballot Republicans.
While there are wave elections (1932, 1980 and 2008 come to mind), this ain't one.
Most people separate their vote for president from the rest of the ballot. Straight-ticket voters like me exist in large quantities, but if I voted for Hillary (oh hell no) I still would vote Republican down ticket -- because Democrats screwed up the state of West Virginia for 82 years ending in 2014, and I refuse to let them back in.
Did Democrat George McGovern kill his party down ticket in 1972 when he lost 49 states?
McGovern collected only 37.5% of the presidential vote, but Democrats collected 52.1% of the House vote. The party lost a net 13 seats in the House, true, but re-districting had much to do with that. Democrats enjoyed a 242-192 majority after the election.
In the Senate, Democrats gained two seats in the Senate.
Did Democrat Fritz Mondale kill his party down ticket in 1984 when he lost 49 states?
Mondale got 40.6% of the presidential vote, but Democrats collected 52.1% of the House vote. They lost 16 seats but still had a 253-182 majority.
In the Senate, Democrats gained two seats.
Ancient history? In 2012, Republicans lost eight House seats but maintained a 234-201 majority. Democrats kept the Senate. Nothing changed.
McGovern's 23.2-point loss failed to cost his party control of Congress. Ditto Mondale's 18.2-point loss.
But hey, everyone in Washington says Trump will kill the party down ballot so it must be true.
Just like the Nationals winning the World Series this year.