[Video from 2011.]
The House results on Election Day 2012 were the only bad things that happened in what was otherwise obviously a pretty great day for Democrats and progressives. The biggest question for 2014 is whether we can find a way of turning that result around. Part of the answer, of course, is dependent on how the economy is doing. If the pessimists are right and things are not looking good, we will lose seats not gain them. But even if the economy is okay, do we have a chance at being the House majority after the 2014 elections?
As many Democratic activists have pointed out, we actually won the overall votes in House races by the same 2% plus margin that Obama did, so re-districting dominated by Republican gerrymandering clearly played a big role in them holding on to the House. Democrats, though, are making a big mistake in attributing our failure solely to gerrymandering and essentially giving up on retaking the House the rest of this decade as many pundits are suggesting. I remember the same points being made after the 2002 and 2004 failures to retake the House, and in 2006 and 2008 we not only retook the House but added considerably to the margin in 2008.
The pundits will be predicting doom and gloom for sure. Not only did we fail to win the House back in a good Democratic year, they will remind us, but in the 6th year of a Presidency the president's party almost always loses seats. But historical trends never would have predicted a lot of things we have seen in politics over the last couple of decades (an African immigrant's son with a Muslim name being elected President for one, and then being re-elected in spite of a bad economy for another), and I've been in the middle of a couple big surprises in terms of the House over the years that are worth recalling here because of the lessons they teach.