The NYT has a fairly content-free article about prospects for the 2012 House and Senate elections. The reporter claims “most operatives and analysts do not expect the 2012 election to be the kind of mainly partisan wave that flipped control of the House in 2006 and again last year,” but then quotes no operatives and only two analysts. Her gist is that this could be the anti-incumbent election when voters punish members of both parties in a throw-the-bums-out wave. People make these predictions every cycle, and they’re never borne out: except for changes resulting from redistricting every ten years, when a lot of incumbents lose, they’re almost all from the same party.
This, however, was strange, and considering it comes from a pretty smart guy, baffling:
“It is plausible that Republicans lose seats in the House and gain them in the Senate,” said John Sides, a political scientist at George Washington University. “Republicans would still be able to pass stuff in the House, but it would just be harder. Where they would lose seats would be in moderate districts, which would leave the conservative faction of the House gaining more power.
The assumption here is that there is some bloc of Republican moderates in the House who hold back the Republicans. There is no such thing. Even those members who may have moderate inclinations aren’t voting as moderates, because they know doing so would make them primary targets. I would hope John Sides already accepts this and his views are accurately reflected in that quote.