Republicans across the country are concerned there might be a backlash to President Donald Trump that undoes years of solid gains they have accomplished nationwide. Along with other potential factors, many think the Democrats have a shot at making gains of their own.
Republican legislators tasked with defending their majorities were uniformly worried that their party is headed for losses.
Some blamed Trump's low approval ratings:
“I think President Trump’s favorability ratings, I’ve got to be honest about it, they’re certainly not helpful,” said Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. “If it were up to me, I would try to have him showcase more of the good things that he is doing as opposed to picking arguments with whoever it would be. I don’t think that’s helpful to me as an elected official.”
Others pointed to Republican leadership's inability to govern:
“I think that the Republicans have got to show that they can do something, they can do something good, and they can get it done while they have power,” said Brent Hill, the Republican president of the Idaho state Senate. “If the Republicans go into [next year’s elections] without having accomplished anything, people get impatient, and they’re going to be looking for another way.”
And historical midterm data is not on their side:
Since World War II, an incumbent president’s party has lost an average of 334 state legislative seats in midterm elections, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. A president’s party loses even more seats — an average of 357 — in the first midterm after the his election.
State-level lawmakers are urging Republicans at the federal level to make progress.
“If Republicans cannot get their act together in Congress, there will be a trickle-down effect on our states,” said David Long (R), the president pro tem of the Indiana state Senate.